The Tour Carbonnière is a watchtower built at the end of the 13th century to protect the walled city of Aigues-Mortes, in the French department of the Gard, in the Occitanie region.
The tower was built in 1346 on the bridge over the Vistre, a coastal river which crosses the Vistrenque agricultural region, sourced in the foothills of the garrigues, northeast of Nîmes.
As a matter of interest ‘les Garrigues’ are what you see in the quintessential southern French landscape; dry, low-lying scrubland on limestone soils associated with the Camargue and other southern regions.
The route de la tour was once the only land passage between Costières and Aigues-Mortes. During the 13th century, the tower was an outpost of the Tour de Constance, a fortification located at Aigues-Mortes.
As you drive along the old road to Aigues-Mortes you will see,the Carbonniere Tower rising out of the marshes. This imposing square tower was built on the will of Saint-Louis (King Louis IX) at the same time as the ramparts of Aigues-Mortes.
Today, from the top of this observatory, which has been classified as a Historic Monument since 1903, you can view the Camargue wildlife in a protected environment. With your cameras ready you will hopefully see egrets, grey herons, water hens and the famous white horses and bulls of the Camargue in the distance.
Setting eyes on the tower in the late evening as the sunsets in the spectacular Camargue region with its wide open dramatic skies is one of the most beautiful things you will ever see.
Costière de Nîmes – try the local wine 🍷
Costières-de-Nîmes is a French wine with a controlled designation of origin (AOC) that is part of the vineyards of the Rhône Valley. Located in the extreme south-west of the Rhône Valley, north-west of the Camargue and in the natural region of Costières, this appellation mainly produces red and rosé wines.
The wines of the area are reputed to have been consumed by the Ancient Greeks and so figure among the oldest known wines in the world. A typical Costières de Nîmes red wine, made from the classic southern rhone blend, is robust and spicy, and perfectly suited to the rustic local cuisine.
Red Costières-de-Nîmes pairs well with tapenade, saucisson, côtelette d’agneau and ratatouille for example.
Costières de Nîmes wines require Grenache, Syrah and Mourvèdre grape varieties to make up at least 60 percent of the finished red and rosé wines, with Grenache and Syrah required to make up at least 20 percent of any vineyard.
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