Aigues Mortes : the historical fortified city
It is a small village nestled in the Natural Park of Camargue, a magical place to stroll along the medieval ramparts surrounded by lagoons.
Where to find
This famous city of France is located in the Occitanie region, which occupies a large part of southern France, up to the border with Spain. To the east, just a few steps from the city, lies the Camargue Park, where it is possible to admire panoramas rich in suggestions and unseen natural beauties.
The particularity of the city
Aigues Mortes is famous in France for its historic fortified walls, which still preserve and surround the entire historic downtown area.
A few steps from the walls, in the surrounding marshy area, there are also large salt marshes, which give the city its name and they surround the city and form a perfect outline to the walls and historical monuments present in the place.
The city offers many historical sites, all located more or less close to each other, so it doesn't take long to visit the places and then move to the Camargue Natural Park to enjoy breathtaking natural views and relax with nature.
The historical and cultural offer
The places of interest in the city are :
The tower of Constance
Built in the thirteenth century and 30 meters high, to which is added the small turret of 11 meters built on its roof, is directly connected to the historical walls of the city, by a stone bridge that spans a small ditch.
The tower is accessible on foot and is spread over two floors, with impressive staircases inside that allow you to reach the roof to enjoy the highest view of the whole city and the surrounding countryside.
Inside the second floor of the Tower of Constance, in the 17th century, the Huguenots, the French Calvinist protestants, were imprisoned. The Tower of Constance, wanted by Louis IX, had however for main purpose to offer a protection to the city of Aigues Mortes and a point of observation on what was happening in the surroundings.
The saltworks of Aigues Mortes
From the top of the ramparts, but also on the way into town, one cannot fail to notice the salt pans of Aigues Mortes. About one kilometer from the city, the large pink pools stand out against the high white mountains of salt that glisten in the sun.
If you are very attracted by this natural spectacle, it is possible to visit it in several ways. The most practical and quickest is certainly to use the small train that ventures into the salt flats and that, equipped with a guide, explains the history of its birth and how salt is still extracted from the waters that flow into this system of channels and locks.
The train tour lasts about an hour and a quarter and at the end it is possible to visit the small salt mine museum.
The ramparts and gates of the city
Among the peculiarities of Aigues Mortes are the long walls that surround the entire historic center; their construction dates back to the second half of the 13th century.
The six access gates to the city almost regularly interrupt the more than 1,600 meters of richly decorated walls with towers built on the walls themselves.
Dominated by Notre Dame des Sablons. The square, in the center of the city, offers around it a multitude of shops and restaurants, and in the center stands the statue of Saint-Louis.
A few steps away is the church, which is one of the oldest monuments in the city and dates back to 1246, although the current Gothic style of Notre Dame des Sablons is also the result of various interventions over the centuries.
The most important restorations took place in the 18th and 20th centuries, when it was closed during the French Revolution. At the time, it housed a barracks and a salt depot.
Chapels of the Penitents
A few steps from the church are two chapels not far from each other, dating from the seventeenth century and built of limestone. The difference between the two churches is that one belonged to the Grey Penitents and the other to the Whites, two distinct and opposite monastic orders.
Both are privately owned but open to visitors; the Chapelle des Pénitents Gris is located in a lovely garden on the Place Paul Bert and has a single rectangular nave inside, dominated by a huge and richly decorated altarpiece representing the Passion of Christ.
A taste of the Natural Park of Camargue
At the end of the visit of the cultural heritage of the city, you can go to the Natural Park of Camargue, one of the most beautiful places that France offers, imposing itself as the biggest area of wild plains of all Europe.
From a naturalistic point of view, it is one of the wildest and best preserved places: here migratory birds can rest and feed, while the native fauna and flora live in a protected and safeguarded territory. The whole western part of the Camargue is full of stables, riding schools and farms offering horseback riding.
Indeed, the fame of the white horses of the Camargue is such that it has become a tourist emblem. The same goes for the black bulls and the pink flamingos. A real earthly paradise where you can admire nature in all its beauty and fully enjoy your afternoon in contact with it!
Do not miss this fortified historical city full of beautiful monuments, all within walking distance of the Natural Park of Camargue, where you can immerse yourself at the end of the city tour!
If you wish to immerse yourself in the historical, natural and sporting beauties of France, visit our website https://planetazur.com/activites-tours/ where you will find many itineraries and experiences that will make you love the region completely!