On Sunday we packed up and headed for the Camargue (Rhone Delta) home of sun, beaches, white horses, bulls and crazy bull games. We were bound for Les Saintes Maries De La Mer and didn't want to arrive too much before check in time, so we stopped off at the ancient walled city of Aigues Mortes. The name means Dead Waters - it's in the middle of a huge desolate salt marsh. Like Sommories a walled city and of course HOT! But there the similarity ends. Unlike the ratsnest of deserted warrens and oassages of Sommieres, Aigues Mortes is laid out on a grid with a central square & because it's near a beach has long been a tourist destination.
In Sommieres the tall leaning buildings and covered passageways kept most of the city shaded - the grid layout, short buildings and lack of trees at Aigues Mortes meant everything was baking. In the St Martin square we found a nice restaurant with bike umbrellas and misters so we enjoyed a lovely lunch, but it was really too hot for strolling. So we continued on and found ourselves in Les Saintes too early to check in. Even our assigned parking place was filled with the maid's car. We drove around and found the town literally crammed with tourists... no parking to be had anywhere. Our AirBNB place is just on the edge and there was a parking lot with one spot near our place. We unloaded the bikes planning a ride around, but by the time we did all that we were dripping and the maid was gone, so we moved over to our place. After getting settled and rested we rode downtown looking for dinner. We visited the tourist office and were told market days were Monday and Thursday. We got a map and cycling information, but learned there nearly all the marked trails are sand for fat tires only. Of course we were still too early for dinner, it being only 6:30 so we settled for tapas and warm beer - wondering how we will enjoy 5 days here but maybe tomorrow will be better!