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Coordinates: 43°34′03″N 4°11′36″E / 43.5675°N 4.19333333333°E / 43.5675; 4.19333333333

Commune of Aigues-Mortes

Aigues-Mortes Walls 01.jpg
City walls
Aigues-Mortes is located in France
Country France
Region Languedoc-Roussillon
Department Gard
Arrondissement Nîmes
Canton Aigues-Mortes
Mayor Jeannot René
Elevation 0–3 m (0–9.8 ft)
(avg. 1 m/3.3 ft)
Land area1 57.78 km2 (22.31 sq mi)
Population2 6,012  (1999)
 - Density 104 /km2 (270 /sq mi)
INSEE/Postal code 30003/ 30220
1 French Land Register data, which excludes lakes, ponds, glaciers > 1 km² (0.386 sq mi or 247 acres) and river estuaries.
2 Population sans doubles comptes: residents of multiple communes (e.g., students and military personnel) only counted once.

Aigues-Mortes (Occitan: Aigas Mòrtas, i.e. "dead waters") is a commune in the Gard department in southern France.

The medieval city walls surrounding the city are well preserved.



The foundation of the city is attributed to Marius Caius, around 102 BC, but the first document mentioning a place called "Ayga Mortas" (dead waters) dates from the 10th century AD.

Louis IX of France (Saint Louis) rebuilt the port in the 13th century as France's only Mediterranean port at that time. It was the embarkation point of the Seventh Crusade (1248) and the Eighth Crusade (1270).

The 1,650 metres of city walls were built in two phases: the first during the reign of Philippe III the Bold and the second during the reign of Philippe IV the Fair, who had the enclosure completed between 1289 and 1300. The Constance Tower, completed in 1248, is all that remains of the castle built in Louis IX's reign. It was designed to be impregnable with six-metre-thick walls. A spiral staircase leads to the different levels of the tower.

From 1575 to 1622, Aigues-Mortes was one of the eight safe havens granted to the Protestants. The revocation of the Edict of Nantes in 1685 caused severe repression of Protestantism, which was marked in Languedoc and the Cévennes in the early 18th century by the "Camisard War". Like other towers in the town, from 1686 onwards, the Constance Tower was used as a prison for the Huguenots who refused to convert to Roman Catholicism. In 1703, Abraham Mazel, leader of the Camisards, managed to escape with sixteen companions.

In 1893 a conflict erupted between the French and the Italians who worked in the salt evaporation ponds of Peccais. Nine Italians were killed and hundreds injured in the ethnic violence.[1]


Aigues-Mortes is located in the Petite Camargue.

By road, Aigues-Mortes is about 35 km (21.75 mi) from Nîmes, préfecture (administrative capital) of the Gard département and 30 km (18.65 mi) from Montpellier, préfecture of the Hérault département. As the crow flies, Aigues-Mortes is 32.5 km (20.19 mi) from Nîmes and 26 km (16.16 mi) from Montpellier.

A rail branch line from Nîmes passes through Aigues-Mortes to its terminus on the coast at Grau-du-Roi. This line also transports sea salt.


While tourism plays a large part of the town's economy, wine, asparagus and sea salt are also important staples. In the surrounding countryside, bulls and Camargue horses are bred.

Literary references



  1. ^ Enzo Barnabà, Le sang des marais, Marseille: 1993

External links

Travel guide

Up to date as of January 14, 2010

From Wikitravel

View along the ramparts to the Constance Tower
View along the ramparts to the Constance Tower

Aigues-Mortes is a town in the Languedoc-Roussillon region in southwest France, with well preserved medieval city walls surrounding a historical centre.

Get in

South of Nimes

Get around

The historical centre is all contained within a compact area of the city walls, easily explored on foot.


Walk around the ramparts of the medieval city walls, and see inside the various towers, including the Constance Tower. This costs money. The ticket office, located in the North West corner, offers audio guides, but is closed at lunchtime.


Lots of shops selling tourist nick-nacks


There are many pleasant cafes and restaurants within the city walls, particularly around the central square.

Get out

The cities of Montpellier and Nimes are closest

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Simple English

Aigues-Mortes (French for "dead waters") is a city in the south of France. It is in the region Languedoc-Roussillon. It was originally founded by the Romans in the year 102 BC. The first records mentioning it under its current name date from the 10th century. Louis IX of France rebuilt the port in the 13th century. It was the only French port of the mediterranean at that time. The city is laid out as a bastide. It was the starting point for the Seventh crusade (1248) and Eight crusade (1270). Due to changes of the coastline, the city is several miles from the sea. It is linked to the sea through a canal, nowadays. It has well-preserved city walls. In 1999, about 6.000 people lived there. Aigues-Mortes is about 35 km from Nîmes.

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