Sunday, October 16, 2011

Augues Mortes

The walls of the fort can still keep out invaders; as long as they don't fly.
Augues Mortes is the fortified seaport built for the Crusaders by Louis IX, who became St Louis, in the 13th century.  Since that time, the port has silted up and no longer connected to the sea, but is surrounded by salt flats. Off in the distance are salt producing areas with large piles of the white stuff glistening in the sun. 

Entering the square.
When we arrived, the place felt empty.  We knew it couldn't be, from all the cars in the parking area.  We walked down one deserted street after another, all the shops closed, until we came upon the square.  It is easy to forget that in the smaller towns in France, everyone closes for lunch, except the places which serve food.  The square in Agues Mortes was a bee hive of activity.

One of the street was alive as well, since every shop on it seemed to sell food. We picked a small place with shady seating which offered a sandwich/panini, a cold drink, and dessert for 6.50 euro.  It was very good to sit and eat a bite.  The day was hot and sunny, such a nice change from so much of this summer.
This young man was at the end of a group of school children.  When he turned for Bill to take his picture, his teacher, off to the left, came over and turned him back around, marching him off.

Do you think it might be lunch time?  While some of these folks were tourists, the majority were locals enjoying their lunch hours.

Piles of salt in the distance.
Augues Mortes is now one of the main salt producing areas in the world.  It is a little strange to see huge piles of salt sitting in the sun.  They look very similar to piles of dirt at a quarry, except for the color.  Several of the places we have sat this summer have had multiple flavors of salt in their kitchens.  The taste does change dramatically depending on where it was dried.  In some cases, they have added flavors.  The color varies widely, also.
Three of the famous Camargue Horses.

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