Avec Ellen

Ashleigh and I met Ellen in Aix en Provence. She was a member of our Smithsonian travel group. Prior to departure, the Smithsonian sends out a list made up of your fellow travelers and their respective points of origin, so I already knew that Ellen and I lived relatively close to one another in the States. On our first night in Aix, all of us shared a little more personal information about ourselves. For instance, Ashleigh and I shared that we were mother and daughter traveling companions, and Ellen shared that she was one of those brave souls who was traveling independently. Add in the fact, that Ellen already knew how to speak French, but had chosen to improve her French language skills while “Living in France” for three weeks, made her someone we wanted to know better. Ashleigh captured her nicely in this photo. Allow me to introduce you to our new pal, Ellen.

It was Ellen who got Ashleigh and me keen on the idea of going to Aigues-Mortes, a place we had never heard of before. Four ancient walls surround the city that was started by King Louis IX in 1240 and finished by his son in 1302. Aigues-Mortes, located on the flat marshes in southern France, has played many roles over the centuries, but it is most famous for being a prison in which Templars were kept in the 14th century and Protestant Huguenots in the 15th century. It is presently an almost intact medieval fortification…pretty much, it looks the same as it did in the Middle Ages. We all wanted to see it. So, with Ashleigh behind the wheel of a rental car, we were off to discover the walls, towers and ramparts of Aigues-Mortes avec Ellen. We were not disappointed.

For the cost of about eight euros, a visitor can walk around the entire town of Aigues-Mortes by using the ramparts.

Eight euros is a small price to pay for the drama of walking ancient ramparts, and although Aigues-Mortes has been made safe, the old walls are not hazard-free; visitors are urged to take care in order to avoid unwanted drama. It was not difficult for me to imagine men in mail, carrying swords and cross bows, running up stone steps and along narrow walkways.

Ashleigh and Ellen were fearless and walked the ramparts and stairs like soldiers returning to a familiar duty station.

I, on the other hand, was a bit nervous, but happy, as captured by Ellen’s photo.

Being imprisoned here was a painful experience. Many people were placed here because they had attended Protestant religious services….or just because they were suspected of having attended. Marie Durand was arrested and imprisoned in Aigues-Mortes for thirty-eight years before being released in 1768.

These could have been Marie’s views of the world beyond prison.

In spite of the unfortunate uses of Aigues-Mortes, the stone skills of the builders cannot be denied…like this vaulted ceiling with a center medallion and…

..the fabulous towers.

The views of the town from the ramparts are lovely.

The town is lively and full of shops. There is a central town square with a commanding fountain with King Louis IX atop.

A beautiful church, the Notre Dame des Sablons, is located near the square and has been there as early as 1260. I loved this church because modern stained glass windows have been installed, blending the old with the new….quite beautiful.

What a great experience! A new and unexpected place….a new and unexpected personal connection.

Love, The Unseasoned Traveler

6 thoughts on “Avec Ellen

  1. Your travels are amazing, Jackie! It’s so nice to be able to travel with Ashleigh, I am sure that you are enjoying every moment.

    I miss seeing you at the WC. Let’s get together when you return from the beach.

    Xo, Marianne

    On Sun, Jun 30, 2019 at 5:57 PM Jackie’s Junkets wrote:

    > jackiehenry posted: ” Ashleigh and I met Ellen in Aix en Provence. She was > a member of our Smithsonian travel group. Prior to departure, the > Smithsonian sends out a list made up of your fellow travelers and their > respective points of origin, so I already knew that Ellen and I” >


  2. Hi, Girlfriend…I always love hearing from you and would love to chitchat on my deck over some aperol spritzes…are you in??? Talk soon…j.


  3. Would have loved to walk the walls with you three. Were there plain or no windows before? I can’t imagine that they would have taken out old stain glass. Feel of the old city view reminds me of walking the walls of Lucerne. A quicker way to get from one end of the city to the other around pedestrian and limited vehicle traffic.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Hi….No clue about the windows, but I want to know and so, will try to find out.


  4. Another transporting post! Thank you, Jackie, for taking us on your travels. I’ve added Aigues-Mortes to my wish list…

    Liked by 2 people

    1. Helloooooo, David…..glad you liked the post. “Ellen” was shocked to find herself in it. If you are on Facebook and are friends with Ashleigh, you know that she is currently in Europe…she started in Germany eight days ago and is now in Madrid. She reports that the heat is almost unbearable. Today she went back to her hotel room until 6pm when the museums open for free. I imagine that you and Marcia are thinking about what to pack in your suitcases for September. What to pack is always a pressing question….heheheh. I love hearing from you. I also lovethat we met one another while traveling….one of the joys of traveling is finding someone you like while exploring someplace unexpected.


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