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750km (465 miles) SW of Paris; 53km (33 miles) NE of Séte; 44km (27 miles) E of Nîmes; 43km (26 miles) SW of Arles

South of Nîmes in Provence lies the Camargue with its marshes and great saltwater lagoons. To the west of this great nature reserve you come across Aigues-Mortes, the city of the “dead waters.” This is France’s most perfectly preserved walled town, impossibly romantic but also horribly crowded during the high season. In the 13th century, Louis IX and his crusaders set forth from Aigues-Mortes, then a thriving port, the first in France on the Mediterranean. Then the Rhône silted up, leaving the city 6.5km (4 miles) inland from the sea.