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Languedoc Itinerary

Day 3

Languedoc Itinerary Day 3

We'll carry on our exploration of Arles this morning - we'll make sure during our time in Arles that we visit the arena and the cathedral.
 
We're on our way to Aigues Mortes in the Camargue, so it's appropriate that we visit an artisanale farmer who makes charcuterie from Camargue cattle. With luck, and weather permitting, we'll lunch on some of the produce from the Délices du Scamandre.
 
We'll cycle through Saint-Gilles, with its UNESCO-listed ancient Abbey, and we leave this gentle plateau and enter the Camargue proper. This is an extraordinary landscape. Flat, obviously, about a third of the Camargue is made up of brine lagoons. Designated as a Regional Park since 1927, it has become an amazing haven for birdlife. Most famous, of course, is the flamingo, but there are 400 other species. Can you believe that some flamingos have measured more than 6 foot high, 74 inches?
 
We finish our day in Aigues Mortes. We've already seen lots of memorable stuff on this tour, but you can forget it all. Aigues Mortes is amazing. It's an ancient settlement; it underwent some development by Charlemagne the Great in the 8th Century, but came to look as it does today by works undertaken by King Louis IX,  in the 13th Century. 
 

Louis objected to the influence the Italians derived through their monopoly of transport to the crusades. And at that stage France had no mediterranean ports - because most of the mediterranean ports were just not French. West of the Rhone belonged to the Count of Toulouse; East was Savoy, and Marseille belonged to the King of Naples. So Louis built a port. And it's beautiful.
 
It was never actually on the coast, it was connected by canals. Even these became silted up and Aigues Mortes became increasingly distant from the sea. At the end of the 15th Century, Provence and Marseille became French, so the importance of Aigues Mortes as a port declined. The canals silted up, but were re-opened to maintain access to the salt pans. And that's where we are today - a beautiful tourist town, connected to the med and other French waterways by canals, and the centre of the French salt industry.
 
 
Distance: 33 miles / 54 Km

 

Click this link for Day 3 route map on mapometer.

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