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Hawaii Vacations: 7 Great 4-Star Hotels

Here's several 4-Star Hawaiian hotels that offer first-class accommodations and beach front views.

Sheraton Moana Surfrider - This historic hotel has been lovingly restored and maintains it's circa 1901 charm. Located on Waikiki beach, it offers high tea and sunset buffets.

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The Town of Aigues Mortes in the Languedoc Area of South Western France

Aigues Mortes in the Camargue region of France is a perfectly preserved medieval walled city which has changed little since the Middle Ages and is surrounded by fields, canals and saltpans. It originated in the early thirteenth century when King Louis IX wanted his own royal port on the Mediterranean as all the ports on the south cost of France were owned by the Germanic King of Aragon and the Pope. He therefore brought a deserted piece of marshland about two kilometers from the sea and subsequently fortified the site and developed a port with the name Aigues Mortes derived from the Latin Aquae Mortuae meaning dead waters.Early settlers here lived from fishing and salt farming. Often labouring in miserable conditions in the heart of a labyrinth of saltwater ponds, murky marshes, dunes and pine groves. They did find a different use for the salt during the fifteenth century when Aigues-Mortes was attacked and occupied by a force of Burgundians.

When the town was retaken and the Burgundians killed the townspeople had to dispose of a mountain of bodies. To ward off disease the corpses were piled on top of one another to form a tower and covered with salt. The tower has since been called the Burgundians Tower.Aigues-Mortes became a thriving sea port, but as rival ports came about and access to the sea was eventually blocked the trade decreased and people moved away. The town stagnated but was maintained as a fortified city for coastal defense. Since there was nothing to attract people there during that time it has remained as a virtually in tact thirteenth century fortified town which is a fascinating place to stay in or visit.

The Place St Louis is a sunny square in the centre of the town full of restaurants and with the Lady of the Sands Church which was one of the first buildings constructed in Aigues Mortes with its main altar originating from Psalmody Abbey. L´Hotel de Ville is also here and is a fine example of a typical seventeenth century town hall. There are also two seventeenth century churches which are worth visiting: the Chapel of the Grey Penitents has a striking altarpiece and the Chapel of the White Penitents has a number of very interesting large eighteenth century paintings.Offering plenty to see and do, there are flea and antique markets held on Saturday mornings during the summer months and general markets selling fresh produce and local crafts on Wednesday and Sunday mornings all year round.

A selection of the many festivals here include the "Pecheurs des Cris" which is a circus street theatre performing during the spring and summer. The "Nuits" and the festival of of Saint Louis take place in August , and finally the town holds its fete at the beginning of October.

.Gary Ingram is co-owner of The Languedoc Holiday Guide which is an in depth tourist guide to the Languedoc area of South Western France.

By: Gary Ingram

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