department: gard (30)
region: languedoc-roussillon

AIGUES-MORTES: A 13th-century fortified site

The fortified city of Aigues-Mortes was built in the 13th century on the order of Saint Louis to provide the kingdom of France with a port on the Mediterranean. 

The complex consists of over a mile of ramparts flanked by 20 towers and one of the most splendid keeps in the architectural style of the Middle Ages, the Tower of Constance, which was used as a prison for Protestants from the Cévennes region from 1685.

The Tower of Constance was built in 1242 by Saint-Louis on the former site of the Matafère Tower which was built by Charlemagne around 790 to house the king’s garrison. The construction was completed in 1254.

All images © Centre des monuments nationaux 

Sheltering behind its sturdy ramparts amid a landscape of marshland, lakes and salt pans, few places evoke the spirit of the Middle Ages quite so vividly.

Today, tourism plays a major part in the town’s economic well-being, but the production of wine, asparagus and sea salt are also important staple products. In the surrounding countryside, bulls and the magnificent Camargue horses are bred. 

Highlights: Tour de Constance and a walk along the Ramparts (see below).

If it's beaches you're after, take the short drive down to Le Grau-du-Roi


Tours et remparts
Tel: 04 66 53 61 55

May to August: from 1000 to 1900
September to April: from 1000 to 1730

1st January, 1st May, 1st November, 11th November and 25th December

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Tel: 04 66 53 73 00