Fabulous Aigues-Mortes

A MUST visit in the very South of France

Few first-time tourists to France have heard of Aigues-Mortes, located in the extreme South of France in the Petite Camargue region.
However, this stupendous medieval, walled village holds many wonders.

Aigues-Mortes was established in the 13th century as the first Mediterranean port in France on the orders of the King of France, Louis the IX  with the aim of developing trade with Italy and the Far East. Aigues-Mortes, was the first Mediterranean port of the kingdom of France and today displays a particularly well-preserved range of architecture.

Don’t let its name deter you. Aigues-Mortes evolved from “Aquae Mortuae” (Latin) and “Aigas Mortas” (Occitan, the old Provençal language) and literally means “dead waters” or “stagnant waters.” Back then, when the town was christened, there wasn’t much more to Aigues-Mortes than its marshes and swamps, and the name also underscored the lack of potable water in the area.
Today, you will see that there is much more to Aigues-Mortes than marsh land; in addition, it is important to note that those salt marshes are instrumental in preserving the biodiversity of the Camargue’s plants and animals such as the remarkable flamingoes which inhabit the marshes and salt plains in the area.
Still, the city is stuck with its unflattering name.

Flamingo photo by Andrea Schaeffer

There is some evidence of human habitation going back to the Neolithic period. Later, beginning about 1,000 AD.

This town is excellent base from which to discover this fascinating region. In addition to seeing the Carmargue bulls, horses, and flamingoes, check-out the near-by canal system (including the Canal du Midi) which has become very popular with  boaters. (You may even want to consider renting a canal boat.)

Visit Les Salins which are the salt marsh productions. Fascinating and a photographer’s dream. See here: http://www.visitesalinsdecamargue.com/

Read more here from this excellent site on the history of the town. http://www.creme-de-languedoc.com/Languedoc/sightseeing/aigues-mortes.php

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