Aigues-Mortes was the French kingdom's first port in the Mediterranean and is now surrounded by land. When you get here you'll be struck by how well-preserved the 1.6km long city walls are. Take a tour all around them on the wall walk. Great views of the salt marshes and Camargue. Bring a hat in summer.
Visit the majestic Tour Constance where King Louis IX lived and where he left for the crusades. Then wander through the town brought to life by countless artist studios and craft workshops.
Visitor trail, outdoor museum, exhibitions: head to La Marette, the French Camargue Gardoise Grand Site centre. From here you can soak up these unique French landscapes. They have been sculpted by centuries of differences in sea level and changes to the Rhône river bed. Salt water lagoons, marshes, freshwater lakes: this vast damp area is packed with exceptional biodiversity famous throughout Europe.
One of its crown jewels is the Scamandre Regional Nature Reserve.
WORTH THE DETOUR
Tour Carbonnière: a former 13th century toll booth 5km away from Aigues-Mortes. It has fantastic views of the Camargue. You can walk, cycle or drive here (free car park with limited space).
The Camargue's residents knew how to make the most of the marsh and created paddy fields in the 19th century. Camargue rice is now an IGP product (Protected Geographical Indication). "Manades" are also signature features of the Camargue landscape: bull and horse ranches. You'll meet cowboys leading their herds. You can visit a "manade" to learn about techniques worthy of the Wild West, take part in a gypsy night or a Camargue bull fight in one of the many village arenas: the atmosphere is simply indescribable.
Visit Saint-Gilles Abbey 40 mins north east of Aigues-Mortes. It's still a major stage on the Arles trail. You'll be amazed by its sculpted exterior, a Roman art masterpiece.
Step inside and gaze in wonder at the huge crypt where the saint's tomb lies and in the old choir you'll find the spiral staircase: a rarity celebrated the world over!
Pick up the booklet published by Tourist Information in the old town to find the mansions, rampart ruins, the river port on the Rhône Canal in Sète and more.
Visit the Camargue Gardoise's wine cellars and estates to sample delicious IGP Sables de Camargue wines. What's unique about the rosé, gris and gris de gris wine is the very pale colour.
The Camargue by boat is the best! Take your pick from a boat cruise, barge or catamaran: cruise with a stop at a manade or to the sound of gypsy guitarists, a trip past the Midi Salt Marshes, Le Grau du Roi fishing port, a sea excursion etc.