Gard (30220) Population: 8,450 Altitude: 1 m
Aigues-Mortes is a striking, walled Medieval town sitting on the flat marshes of the Camargue, and is considered the purest example of 13th-century military architecture. It looks today pretty much like it did in the Middle Ages. The town of neatly rectilinear streets is surrounded by a crenelated wall with four corner towers and a dozen fortified portes. Market day Wed, Sun.
The walls are protected by four corner towers, including the tall tour de Constance at the northwest corner, and a dozen wall towers, ten of which have portes where streets pass through the walls.
Many of the inner town streets of Aigues-Mortes have shops of all kinds. Many of them are tourist-oriented, but many also serve the residents of the town. Some of the streets can seem pretty long, especially those without shops, but this is a town you really need to explore.
The Office de Tourisme has a map that shows a route to explore the town, seeing most of it without having to walk every street. You can also follow the route pretty well just by following the arrows on the location signs posted around the town.
The main visitors entry is through the Port de la Gardette at the north side, at Place Anatole France, a rare open area that extends west to the Chateau, inside the northeast corner close to the Tour de Constance.
The Grande Rue Jean Jaurès, with many cafés and shops along both sides, leads south into the center of the walled town.
Place Saint-Louis is the main square of Aigues-Mortes, located south down Rue Jean Jaurès from Port de la Gardette. This square has a fountain with four dolphins, and a tall statue of Saint-Louis his own self, decked out as a mailed Knight ready to sail off on the Crusades. The excellent Aigues-Mortes Office de Tourisme is located here, along with a variety of shops and several terrace café-restaurants.
Eglise Notre-Dame-des-Sablons, 13th-century, built before the walls were built.
The only other open area inside the walls of Aigues-Mortes is Place de la Viguerie, beside Bvd Gambetta in the northeastern part of town. This is a large, open square, with the post office in a building with arcades along the north side, a low fountain in the center, and the 17th-century Chapel des Penitents Gris at the end.
Bvd Gambette, one of the few wide streets of Aigues-Mortes, passes beside crosses from Porte St Antoine at the north wall and crosses to Porte de la Marine at the south wall.
The Gothic Notre-Dame-des-Sablons church was built in the middle of the 13th century, even before the defensive walls were built around Aigues-Mortes. The church was sacked by the protestants in the 16th century. In 1634 the clock tower was rebuilt, but following the French Revolution it had numerous non-religious functions, including a grain warehouse (although not as a pyramid) and salt storage.
Notre-Dame-des-Sablons was restored to the church in 1804, and restored in a neo-classical baroque style.
There are parking lots all along the outer wall at the north side of town, and in a lot at the northeast corner. It's all pay parking, where you get a ticket when you enter, and pay at a kiosk before leaving. The only vehicles allowed inside the walls are those of the residents with appropriate permits (and delivery vehicles).