Aigues-Mortes is a town whose medieval centre is enclosed within rectangular ramparts, complete with circular towers and gateways and walls that you can walk along. The town is famous on many levels, the historic and economic and also the natural and geographic plane. It was the starting point for some of the Crusades, where the waters still reach, forming a perfect inland lagoon suited to harbouring the many vessels that gathered prior to the journey to the Promised Land. Pope Innocent IV called on the Kings of Europe in 1240 to retake Jerusalem. Louis IX took on the command of the expedition, and as he didn’t have a port in the Mediterranean, he chose Aigues-Mortes. At the time, Provence belonged to the German empire and Languedoc Roussillon belonged to the kings of Aragon. Aigues-Mortes was bought from the Abbey of Psalmody in exchange for land at Sommières, Louis being keen to gain some control over access to the sea. It was from here that crusaders gathered from all over Europe, including the United Kingdom, to set off on the seventh crusade in 1248. Louis had built up the town as a centre for trade with the East.
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