An Insider’s Guide to Aigues Mortes, France

Few first-time tourists to France have heard of Aigues-Mortes, located in the extreme South of France in the Petite Camargue region. However, this medieval, walled village holds many wonders. Aigues-Mortes was established in the 13th century as the first Mediterranean port in France on the orders of the King of France, Louis the IX.

The Salt fields from Aigues Mortes

The well preserved original city walls still stand today and compare very well to those of the better known walled city of Carcassone. Built upon the coastal marshlands of the Petite Camargue, Aigues-Mortes is an excellent base from which to discover this fascinating region. In addition to seeing the Carmargue bulls, horses, and flamingoes, check-out the near-by canal system (including the Canal du Midi) which has become very popular with  boaters. (You may even want to consider renting a canal boat.) Read on for recommendations, and then go explore it for yourself!

Statue of Louis the IX in Aigues Mortes

What to do in Aigues Mortes:

History abounds in Aigues-Mortes. And what better way to step back in time than to tour the historic ramparts (which are listed as a national monument). You can do this on your own or take a guided tour. During the guided tour, the history of the town and the function of each tower located along the ramparts is explained. From certain points, there are amazing views that allow you to see the entire village and the sea beyond.

The Constance Tower (Tour de Constance) is a large tower located in the northern corner of the ramparts. The tower was constructed in order to protect the town and the port. It later became infamous as a state prison that was used by the Huguenots.

The Remparts with the Constance Tower

One of the charms of visiting a French village is buying fresh food at an open-air market. Market days in Aigues-Mortes are Wednesday and Sunday. The market is in the old part of town.

The Musée Paleo Passion  houses a collection of over 700 fossils and minerals from throughout the European continent. Never seen a dinosaur egg before? You can here. The museum is open every weekend and on school holidays in April, May and June, and every day from June 15th to September 15th.
33 rue E. Jamais

The Musée de la Torture provides an education in the history of torture and a chance to view torture devices from a variety of time periods— a unique and fascinating museum, to say the very least.
 rue de la République 3 

Flamingoes and Salt Mountains in the Camargue

Get out and see some of the surrounding countryside on your own or with companies such as  Camargue Découverte, which offers 4×4 (Jeep) tours of the Camargue region, departing from Arles, Aigues-Mortes, Le Grau-du-Roi, Port Camargue or La Grande Motte.
24, rue Porte de Laure
13200 Arles

Salt is one of the major industries of this region. Those interested in learning more about the salt industry can take an excursion from Aigues-Mortes, by bus or tourist train, to the salt flats.

Inside the Constance Tower

Where to Eat in Aigues Mortes:

La Gardiane
Restaurant La Gardiane is located in Place Saint Louis, in the center of Aigues-Mortes. They serve traditional seafood and meat dishes in a charming and convivial atmosphere. Open year round.
6 Place St Louis
Tel: 04 66 53 70 41

La Gardiane Restaurant in Aigues Mortes

La Table du Midi
A family-run restaurant, La Table du Midi serves fresh, simple, authentic Provençal dishes. The atmosphere is welcoming; it’s the kind of place where you could spend an entire evening enjoying good food and wine. The menu changes according to what types of products are fresh and available each season.
27 Rue Pasteur
Tel: 04 66 53 86 14

La Citadelle
La Citadelle is located in the middle of Aigues-Mortes, in Place Saint- Louis. The restaurant serves dishes based on regional specialties, including many seafood options. Eat inside in the beautiful dining room, or opt for a table on the veranda to enjoy the beautiful surroundings.
10 Place Saint-Louis
Tel: 04 66 53 86 68

Hostellerie des Remparts 
Serving fine cuisine of the region prepared with healthy, high quality products, the restaurant offers traditional dishes and organic meals.
Enjoy the magnificent view of the remparts while having lunch or dinner on the terrace or in the arched indoor restaurant.
6, place Anatole France
30220 Aigues Mortes
Tel:04 66 53 82 77 

Where to Stay in Aigues Mortes:

Aigues-Mortes welcomes tourists throughout the year. Here are a few wonderful places to lay your head at night.

Villa Mazarin
Villa Mazarin offers rooms starting at 120 euros per night. Enjoy the conveniences and comforts of WIFI, air-conditioning, a pool and a sauna. Breakfast available for an additional charge.
35 Boulevard Gambetta
Tel: 04 66 73 90 48
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Hostellerie des Remparts - Aigues Morts

Hotel Canal
Located next to the canal, the modern Hotel Canal offers comfortable rooms and conveniences such as WIFI, flat-screen televisions, a pool and a daily breakfast buffet. Rooms start at 75 euros per night.
440 Route de Nîmes
Tel: 04 66 80 50 01
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Les Arcades
Located near Place Saint-Louis, Les Arcades is housed in a historic 16th century building. Spend the night in one of Les Arcades’ nine charming, comfortable rooms starting at 98 euros per night.  Les Arcades also has a lovely restaurant attached
23 Boulevard Gambetta
Tel:04 66 53 81 13
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Hostellerie des Remparts
The 3-star Hostellerie des Remparts is set right near the ramparts of  Aigues Morts and within walking distance to everything in this historical town. Most rooms provide a view of the Constance Tower. The rooms are decorated with a blend of modern and antique furniture and each room is equiped with an in-room safe, cable TV service, and  free wireless internet access. Serving fine cuisine of the region prepared with healthy, high quality products, the restaurant offers meals on the terrace or in the arched indoor restaurant.
6, place Anatole France
30220 Aigues Mortes
Tel:04 66 53 82 77 
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Written by Jen Westmoreland Bouchard for

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