Aigues-Mortes is a town in southern France known for its well-preserved medieval city walls. And Believe it or not, they are still remarkably intact despite the hundreds of years that have passed.
It is one of the French walled cities/towns you can visit to glimpse life back in the olden days.
In this town of Aigues-Mortes in France, there are intact medieval ramparts, fortified gates, and towers, perfect for satisfying wanderlust cravings for historical experiences. Beyond that, is there something else to see in Aigues-Mortes?
Is Aigues-Mortes worth a visit?
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As someone who will visit France and plan to see historical sites like Aigues-Mortes, it is necessary to know if the place you’ll be traveling to is worth a visit.
We want to know because it is not only about the money. We want something memorable that we can cherish for the rest of our lives. We want encounters that will satisfy our curiosity or fun and worthwhile experiences. Agree? 🙂
Facts and information (i.e., opening hours, etc.) are based on the official website of the Aigues-Mortes Tourism Office unless stated.
Is Aigues-Mortes Worth Visiting?
The medieval ramparts of Aigues-Mortes are absolutely sensational. But, beyond its mighty wall, there are natural attractions that await you and fantastic local culture for you to discover. It is worth a visit, especially for family vacationers and history-curious travelers. See the exact ten reasons below why you should visit Aigues-Mortes:
By the way, I wrote an article about the 10 most beautiful villages in the south of France (click here to read). Aigues-Mortes is one of these beautiful villages. If you love quaint villages and medieval experiences, you should discover the others. They’re just the perfect place to satisfy your wanderlust.
Reason #1: Medieval City Walls of Aigues-Mortes
If there is one really compelling reason to visit Aigues-Mortes, that would be its medieval walls. I would not wonder if that’s also the part of Aigues-Mortes that brought you here. Actually, it is the walls of this town that inspired me to write this article!
The medieval wall of Aigues-Mortes is a 13th-century fortification structure built under the reign of Philip III. The construction lasted for 30 years before the ramparts were finished.
Ever since it has served as a protective barrier from all the invasive forces from the outside. It was only in 1903 that it was given another association, not for military purposes, but as a national historical monument.
Today, it attracts travelers and tourists who want to get a medieval experience and feed their curiosity for history. Visitors can walk along the ramparts and see the remarkable surroundings of Camargue and the Salin salt marshes.
In the ramparts too, visitors can circumference the town. They visit the towers and gates coupled to the walls by doing so. It is also in the walls that they get a look at the entire medieval town within.
It is the best place to make your fantasies with the medieval movies you have watched a reality! Imagine you’re the centurion or the guard patrolling in the ramparts, spotting enemies from the crenellations of the wall.
If you decide to come here, I suggest watching Lord of the Rings or other medieval fantasy movies before you come here. That way, you can appreciate the place even more and have more idea of what could have happened in structures like this. 🙂
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Reason #2: Historical Gates and Towers of Aigues-Mortes
The gates and towers are a part of the Aigues-Mortes’ wall. But in this post, I consider them as another reason why you should visit Aigues-Mortes.
First, simply because the gates are historical. Back in the past, thousands of crusades headed to different parts of Africa and other parts of the Mediterranean passed through these gates.
Imagine how cool it is to be at a place where so much has happened in the past? Before, you were just reading history books in your world history class. Now you are exploring the places where those stories took place!
Besides, the gates are gigantic. It could be awe-inspiring when seen for the first time.
However, if you cannot imagine what happened in the past, you can go to each tower and see the exhibits inside.
One notable tower linked to the ramparts of Aigues-Mortes through an arch bridge is called Constance Tower. It is located in the northernmost part of the village.
Constance Tower was a prison and now a lasting monument for the women who have been confined for ~40 years for professing faith diversion.
The tower is a museum. There will be audio guides in different languages on the tours inside the museum. You won’t have to worry if you cannot understand the French language.
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Reason #3: Aigues-Mortes’ Tower in The Marshlands
Not too far away from the village, about a 20-minute drive northeast, visitors can find another tower in the middle of the marshlands called Carbonniere Tower.
Carbonniere Tower is a 13th-century tower used as a lookout in the past to enhance the safety of the walled Aigues-Mortes.
In the 1700s, the tower was abandoned. But it was restored during the 1800s before it nearly succumbed to deterioration after decades of unuse.
Soon after, it became a tourist destination where visitors could drive by and have a quick stop. Finally, today, it is one of the reasons why you would visit Aigues-Mortes.
It is a remnant of medieval construction and a beautiful photography location. The calm waters in the wetlands around the tower create a mirror effect, an element for stunning photos.
Come during sunset or sunrise, and you could see a really Instagrammable scene. The best spot for taking photos is at the pedestrian pathway just beside the road to the tower.
The tower is open 24 hours, so you can come at any time of the day you want to. If the site is not under maintenance, you can climb to the top and get an expansive view of the marshlands.
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Reason #4: Aigues-Mortes Sites and Attractions
Of course, the sites and attractions within the village are another reason why you must visit Aigues-Mortes. Inside the medieval walls, bits of historical gems await!
First and foremost is the Notre-Dame des Sablons Church. It is where Saint Louis, the king of France too, dwelled for some time for prayers and guidance before he left for the crusade.
The church may not be as extravagant as the other churches in France, but inside it has lovely lighting effects created by the stained glass windows on its walls.
A visitor even said: Notre-Dame des Sablons Church emanates spirituality. “Very beautiful aesthetically despite its architectural simplicity. Inside it proves even more interesting and beautiful.”
Also, there was another visitor who said: “To walk in the footsteps of great Christian knights is an honor for me.” It’s what I’m telling a while ago about the gates.
Aside from Notre-Dame des Sablons Church, you can also see two other chapels in Aigues-Mortes: Gray Penitents Chapel and White Penitents Chapel. Inside these two, you can see murals about the Christian faith and beautifully carved altars with statues of saints.
You can also expect to see several museums like Au Galet de la Reine, a gemstone exhibit, and Galerie Europ’art, a collection of artworks of many varieties.
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Reason #5: Camargue Gardoise’s Landscape
Aside from the fascinating medieval structures and sites in Aigues-Mortes, its geographical location is another reason this town is worth visiting.
Aigues-Mortes is located in a region called Petite Camargue or just Camargue, the largest river delta in western Europe. Here you can see the unique French landscape filled with exceptional biodiversity known in all of Europe.
From the town, visitors could go directly to the heritage site of this vast land called Maison du Grand Site de France de la Camargue Gardoise. It is a place where visitors appreciate the marshes, flora, and fauna of Camargue.
The site has wooden pedestrian walkways and outlooks where visitors can spot different animals and do some birdwatching. Visitors say that it is an excellent experience of the French countryside.
The kids will surely love the encounter with nature in Maison du Grand Site de France de la Camargue Gardoise. There are information boards everywhere on the site. They would not only see wildlife but also learn about it.
Overall, visitors could spot four kinds of landscapes:
- Ponds and reed beds
- Wet meadows
- Dune Massif
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Reason #6: Camargue Gardoise Bull and Horse Culture from Aigues-Mortes
When visiting Aigues-Mortes, visitors can experience the Bull & Horse Culture instilled in the region. Here, bulls and horses are linked to the life of the locals from an economic, social, and cultural standpoint.
If you are thrilled to see some action and encounter the herds, then it is another reason why you should visit Aigues-Mortes.
From the town, travelers visit different livestock breeders who share their passion for growing horses and bulls. One that you can try is the Mas de la Comtesse. It is located northeast of the walled Aigues-Mortes.
Visitors in Mas de la Comtesse can watch manadier sort and lead the bulls and horses. There are also traditional games to see and meals to eat for dinner. The ambiance of the place is perfected with the sound of the gypsy guitars playing in the background.
The dishes served may vary depending on the type of visit. But you can always expect to have flavors of the traditional regional cuisine:
- Bull Gardiane
- Camargue rice
- Bull sausage
- Bull terrine
And many more!
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Reason #7: Vineyards and Wines
In Aigues-Mortes, you can not only see historical structures and eat traditional food, but you can also taste one of the French’s best wines! Located south of the walled town, Royal Domain Jarras is another reason why visit Aigues-Mortes.
Visitors coming to Royal Domain Jarras get a tour in a vast vineyard riding in a train-like vehicle, where they also learn the area’s history. It is best for people who understand the French language.
In the Royal Domain Jarras tour, tourists could also observe purebred Camargue horses owned by the manade of the Domaine Royal de Jarras. Inside, there are 60 horses, including 30 broodmares and 4 stallions to see.
Ultimately, there is a wine tasting after the tour. Their wines complement the Mediterranean cuisine with the alluring smell of white peach and red berries. Here is the Royal Domain Jarras location on Google Maps.
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Reason #8: The Salins and The Pink Sea Water in Aigues-Mortes
If you’re The spectacular pink ponds or “salins” are probably the view you see if you are strolling on the ramparts by now. It is a wonder that you need to see – a reason why visit Aigues Mortes.
The salins in Aigues-Mortes are an enormous salt deposit near the salt marshes in the Camargue region. In the Camargue, 3000 hectares of salins exist composed of 60,000 tons of salt.
You may see hills of salt in the area, they may be spectacular to see, but the pink salins will absolutely drop your jaw. There are just a few places where this exists, so Aigues-Mortes is really compelling to visit.
The pinkish color of the water in the salins is the effect of its saltiness. The saltiness of the water gives the pink algae called Duanaliella Salina a haven with their predators like shrimps expelled.
What’s more interesting? Pink flamingoes also roam around the salins and eat the shrimps in the water. Not only do they physically make the area more pinkish, but they also help to make the salins even pinker! With lesser and lesser shrimps, more pink algae live.
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Reason #9: Fun and Adventure in Camargue Loisirs
With the salins, Aigues-Mortes now seems very interesting, don’t you agree? Well, it gets more winning to visit because there is an adventure and recreation park called Camargue Loisirs, and it’s all fun!
Camargue Loisirs adds to the reasons why you should visit Aigues-Mortes. There’s already an experience for each: history, culture, nature, animals, scenery, food, and drinks… and Camargue Loisirs will give you the fun and adventure that complete the package!
The adventure park is best to visit if you have your friends and families with you. The park organizes the games for you. Some of the games you can play with your mates are:
- Paintball – a true-to-life counter-strike game! Shoot your friends with paints using a paint gun. LOL.
- Zeulympiades: Inflatable jousting, Giant boxing ring, Sumo fight
- Camargue Warriors: Obstacle course
- Crazy Games: The Game Of Throne, The Lord of the Rings
And many more!
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Reason #10: Ornithological Park of Pont de Gau
Finally, there is a nature park near the Aigues-Mortes which you can easily visit within a 25-minute-drive. It is called the Ornithological Park of Pont de Gau, and it houses countless amusing birds you can see up close!
The whole 60-hectare Ornithological Park of Pont de Gau is a park dedicated to protecting the birds and wildlife living in the ponds, swamps, and salt marshes of Camargue.
Inside, visitors can stroll to the park’s trails shrouded with nature’s quietness, only broken by the sound of singing birds. The birds roam around the park and can be seen anywhere else on the trail and boardwalks.
Pink flamingos, shell ducks, and coots are just some bird species that you can see from the park. You can also spot birds like moorhens, storks flying overhead, glossy black ibis, egrets, herons, and avocets.
Like the Maison du Grand Site de France de la Camargue Gardoise, this could be another fun activity that you can do with your family.
I think not only kids will enjoy the park but also us adults! Nature has its way of refreshing our minds. Sightseeing and birdwatching could definitely help us be amused and forget our problems in our minds.
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