Aigues-Mortes France

Trip Start Jul 09, 2011
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Trip End Ongoing


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Where I stayed
Hotel Saint Louis

Flag of France  , Languedoc-Roussillon,
Monday, July 18, 2011

Aigues-Mortes is much more than a beautiful picture on a postcard.  It is a city of art, rich in it's own history, it is indeed a harbor for a king.  This is on the Mediterranean shore, was enhanced by the original influence, according to the architecture of its ramparts.  During our stay in this medieval town, we have enjoyed it's unique cultural heritage as well as it's atmosphere. 
A short history of this town:  In 1245, Pope Innocent IV called upon the European sovereigns to lead a crusade to take back Jerusalem and the Holy Land.  King Louis IX responded and took charge of the Seventh Crusade.  In the 13th century, the French king had no land on the Mediterranean shore, Provence belonged to the German Empire and Langueedoc Roussillon to the Kings of Aragon.  King Louis decided to build a port at Aigues-Mortes.  Offering high country land near Sommieres, he arranged a trade with the Abbey Brothers of Psalmody to acquire the swamplands known as "dead waters" or stagnant waters.  Aigues-Mortes, then situated on the shore of a large lagoon, joined the sea via a branch of the Rhone and river delta channels.  In order to attract settlers to his new city, unfortunately surrounded by acres of malaria-riddled swamps, Louis granted exemptions from tolls, port taxes and forced loans in 1246.  Aigues-Mortes thrived as a trading port.  The King then built a road through the swamps to the north from Aigues-Mortes connecting to the mainland.  "La tour Carbonniere" that still sits astride this road three kilometres from the city and port, guarded access to them and to the kingdom.  At last, after much prepartion, King Louis IX left Aigues-Mortes in 1248, with 100 ships, thousands of men and his wife and children, leaving his kingdom in the control of Blanche de Castille, the Queen Mother.  King Louis returned to France six years later, embarking a second time in 1270 from Aigues-Mortes to Tunisia, on the Eighth Crusade.  Within a month, King Louis fell victim to typhus at Carthage.
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