Flamingos, Wild Horses and Rediscovering Aigues-Mortes

On the way to Aigues-Mortes

Going back to the great walled fortress of Aigues-Mortes was on my list during my recent trip to the Gard department in the south of France. I hadn’t been there in about 25 years and the trip WOULD have been perfect if I had seen wild Camargue horses and real flamingos. Sadly, it was not to be. I did see (somewhat) wild horses and the medieval town, but I did not see my little pink birds. The closest I got to seeing a flamingo was the sign on a road nearby. But it’s just not the same. C’est dommage (too bad).

Wild (?) horses near the fortress of Aigues-Mortes
Wild (?) horses near Aigues-Mortes, France

Walled Fortress of Aigues-Mortes

Aigues-Mortes
Overlooking the marshes at Aigues-Mortes, France

Aigues-Mortes is a medieval walled town and fortress located 90 kilometres northwest of Marseilles. It is surrounded by marshland of the Camargue, which is also known for its flock flamboyance of flamingos and wild horses. When I visited the town in January I only saw that flamingo sign and I don’t think the herd of white Camargue horses were that wild. After all, they were in a fenced pasture off the D62.

Fortresses: Aigues-Mortes
Aigues-Mortes

I should have known that you really have to take an excursion INTO the wetlands of the Camargue Natural Park (Park Naturel Regional de Camargue) which are east of Aigues-Mortes to see either creature. The government created an oasis in the Etang du Fangassier (the Fangassier Pond) to assist the flamingos in their breeding. According to one report, the numbers reached 10000 pairs in May  2016. Through the Spring, Summer, and Fall, you’ll be able to see thousands of flamingos. It would be quite a sight.

A future trip, no doubt.

Ramparts

Aigues-Mortes
On the ramparts at Aigues-Mortes, France
Aigues-Mortes
Inside one of the towers at Aigues-Mortes

One thing I did enjoy besides wandering on the outside of the town to see the scope of the walls, was walking on the upper ramparts. One gets a great view of the entire walled-in town and when I went (in January) it was tourist-free! No difficultly in getting any photos.

Festivals

Aigues-Mortes
Knight in armour at Aigues-Mortes, France

The first time I visited Aigues-Mortes was during their medieval festival in August called, “La Fête de la Saint Louis”. It’s perhaps a perfect time for children as wandering through so many medieval castles can get dreadfully boring for them if there isn’t some entertainment (or opportunity to jump around and move like a knight in armour).

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8 Comments

    1. C’est dommage. I won’t be in Provence until June, but hopefully I will see those darn flamingos! I’ll take a rain check on the wine!

  1. I love these photographs – I went through Aigues-Mortes some years ago but I don’t remember it half as lovely as this (I was on my way to the Camargue and this was just a stop along the way). Clearly I’ve missed some quite lovely sights and I’m thinking I’ll have to go back…

  2. What a beautiful area and your photos of the walled fortress of Aigues-Mortres shown how truly formidable the walls were as well as the sweeping views. So sorry you missed the flamingos as I imagine 10,000 mating pairs would be quite the impressive sight. Definitely a great reason to schedule a revisit to the area and the wetlands!

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