My day in Aigues – Mortes
Sunday started not that early for me as after the long day in the car I felt a bit tired. I got a proper sleep and we were supposed to take it easy and start our holidays with visiting Aigues Mortes – a place where we stayed.
We arrived to the town centre before noon, we have seen & visited briefly a local market (mainly food and clothes) so I was in a ‘small’ heaven…not planning on shopping that day I had a chance to fulfil my basic women needs (especially as I consider France being pretty rubbish at the opening hours of the shops and all of the being closed on Sunday….so thanks God for tourists spots and local markets and obviously online shopping 😉 Anyway I didn’t buy much but a bread (read: baguettes) I was tempted to get some cheese or nougat as it looked yummy but the size of this overwhelmed me 😉
I didn’t mentioned but we managed to park for freethere which was very good and lucky cause of the busy Sunday full of local people and tourists who came for the market.
The weather that day was very nice for a walk (this what I thought when waking up) so I had cheerfully my hair done, put some make up and was ready to go out. Once we arrived to the city centre I faced the truth about the climate in the South of France. It is beautifully sunny, the sky is amazingly blue but the wind….unmanageable as was my hair. In some moments I simply gave up and put my hat on! Anyway I prefer wind to grey and dull days and rain so I stayed happy and we carried on to the centre – small, cosy with a nice historical feel.
We approached the ramparts which were amazing; and the surrounding – stunning, relaxing, calming atmosphere coming from Camarque. The town centre is surrendered by the water & fields, open space which brings you inner peace…a bit disturbed by the strong wind, but oh well you cannot have everything can you 😉
So, Aigues-Mortes, which actually means not that welcoming as the city itself…”dead waters“, is a medieval walled city which is located over the border from Provence in the Gard department. It is surrendered by the delta land called Camargue (I have seen this for the first time in my lfe and I felt in love in this!). And this water (apparently ‘dead’), allowing salt marshes to be created around, given the town one of its most profitable industries – sea- salt production. At the beginning of the 13th century, nearly all the surface belonged to the Monks of Psalmody. Today, the salt works at Aigues-Mortes stretch over 9,800 hectares (nearly 24,000 acres) of the Camargue. Did you know that the Salt – the ‘Fleur du sel’ – comes from Aigues-Mortes? Nowadays you can find it in any shop, I got one actually in Auchan in Lyon 😉
So something more about the city itself, well it was established in the mid-13th century by Louis IX and fortified into a
Mediterranean port, nowadays the fortifications and grid pattern streets are a great spot for a walk, picnic even (but only if the wind calms down!). They are filled with restaurants, cafes and bars. When walking thought the town we visited the bulangerie and tried the local famous speciality called Fougasse – pastries based on a brioche dough, sugar, butter, and orange blossom. It is sometimes called “tarte au sucre” or sugar tart. It can be also be salty but I havent seen that one and I prefer sweet one anyway. Apparently, making sweet fougasse in Aigues-Mortes was reserved for the Christmas period, as part of the Thirteen desserts. Now Aigues-Mortes fougasse sells all year. It was good to try, nothing exciting but just a simple snack.
So during the day the city is filled with life and people but in the evening, the town seemed ‘dead’. When we planned to go for a drink…everything was closed! I could not believe…maybe it was not its season?
But what was stunning for me on here? Well the ramparts which providing you with sweeping views. The rampart wall forms an irregular quadrilateral of 1634 metres (~1 mile) flanked by gates and towers. Head to the top of the tower,
Tour de Constance; the 1.6km wall-top walk takes about one hour. Impressive isn’t it. Another thing which I loved about Aigues – Mortes is the calming atmosphere of the Camargue, white horses in the background and birds near you. What surprised me and made me curious was the colour of water… red!
Can you believe? I found out that this is actually so called the etangs so salt-water lagoons. They surround the southern end of Aigues-Mortes. They are red because of the high-concentration of salt within them.
It seems I could write about Aigues – Mortes much more as there are other things interesting to do and see, there are other observations I made but for now I will finish and for more information I will send you over to a useful Guide to Aigues – Mortes provided by the tourism centre here. But if you have any comments, feedback to share or questions, feel free to get in touch. And in the meantime …wait for more photos, posts about things you can do in the Languedoc-Roussillon