Friday, May 13, 2016

Out and about - Aigues-Mortes

Aigues-Mortes is an easy day trip from Montpellier using an infrequent local bus service - $2.00 each way.

I somehow thought the name was a reference to a horrible plague. It sounds diseased. But it seems to mean simply "Place of Dead Waters".

Aigues-Mortes is at the start of the Rhone canal which in theory connects the Mediterranean to the North Sea, which would be a nice trip but parts of it don't actually connect. It is also surrounded by estuaries and salt lagoons that link to the Camargue. Think bulls, wild horses and pink flamingos. I missed the cruise but couldn't miss the salt mountains nearby.

The town is totally touristic, to use a word that has to get added to the Oxford dictionary soon, if it isn't here already. My touristic tolerance is being spoiled by Montpellier which is pretty much going about its business. Still, Aigues-Mortes is charming to wander around. If you can ignore the shops, you get to see a well-preserved example of a medieval fortified town. The ramparts were built in the 13th century and make a rectangle with protective towers at strategic points. You can pay to visit the main tower and part of the walls and I missed that too.

There are three little churches inside the walls. The cross outside the Chapel of the Grey Penitents features two hands, two feet, and a heart pierced by an arrow.

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