Aigues-Mortes is a beautiful French commune located in the Gard department in the Occitanie region of southern France. It is about 40 km or an hour's drive from Montpellier. It is situated on the Rhône-Sète canal, with its own 6 km canal to the Gulf of Lion. Its name comes from "aquae mortuae", the "dead waters" of the surrounding delta salt marshes. It is a town with a medieval centre enclosed within rectangular walls, with circular towers, gates and walls that can be walked along.
Originally, it was a small settlement of fishermen and salt workers. Then the Matafère tower was built by Charlemagne in 731 to protect them. However, in 1240, King Louis IX wanted access to the south of France in order to have good access to the Mediterranean to send crusaders, which is why he is considered the founder of Aigues-Mortes. He built the town as it is today. He built the Carbonnière Tower to serve as a watchtower and protect the access to the town. He then built the Constance Tower to house the garrison. In 1272, his son ordered the continuation of the construction of the ramparts to completely encircle the small town. The work was completed after 30 years. The town is very unique in that it is surrounded like a fortress and is an excellent choice for a day trip!
Things to see and do:
. Constance Tower:
This is an impressive round tower that adjoins the city walls, visible from a distance as you approach the city. It is known in the region for its bitter role in the suppression of Protestantism in the 17th century, when it was used to imprison 15 to 80 Huguenots, mainly women.
. The Walls of Aigues-Mortes:
The city walls, their gates and towers. They are 1,634 metres long, and it will take you an hour to walk around them.
. Notre Dame des Sablons:
It dates from 1183 and is recorded as the place where Louis IX prayed before going on crusade. It was also sacked by Protestants in 1575.
Natural region surrounding Aigues-Mortes, between the Mediterranean Sea and the two arms of the Rhone delta. It covers 820 km². Take a boat and discover a variety of fauna and flora, beaches and beautiful landscapes.
. Regional speciality:
If you spend a day in town, you must try the Fougasse d'Aigues-Mortes! It is a delicacy that you can only find here. Normally fougasse is a savoury dish, but this fougasse is sweet and resembles brioche. Traditionally it was only made at Christmas time, now it is sold in all bakeries.