And lastly, the morning experience in the Saintes Maries de la Mer
The last one on my list of seaside resorts in the Languedoc-Roussillon region that I decided to see, is Saintes Maries de la Mer. We have actually visited it on our way to Arles and Scamandre Nature Reserve. It was a nice sunny morning, very windy but so sunny!
So, Saintes Maries de la Mer is located at the southern edge of the Camargue, in southern Provence, on the Mediterranean.
It is a small fishing village, where the Petit Rhône joins the Mediterranean sea. The original village was grouped around the Notre-Dame-de-la-Mer church, spreading out as it grew.
The town is almost completely surrounded by water, and numerous beaches and dunes are to hand, as well as the possibilities of exploring the Camargue region.
Much of the town’s charm comes from the connection to the beautifully uncultivated Camargue, known for its wild white horses, bulls and flamingos. I have seen all and I felt in love with the white horses, pink flamingos a bit less with black bulls (from the obvious reasons). But anyway, except of this, Saintes Maries de la Mer is amazing place for its wide and sandy beach, clean and sparkling sea. The town is tiny and focused around the church, tiny town centre, few resteraunts and cafes, souvenir shops.. Maybe because the church is pretty overhemling for the town, the piligims presensce is so important for Saintes Maries de la Mer. Or maybe its cause of the legend which tells that Marie Jacobé, the aunt of Jesus and Marie Salomé came to Saintes-Maries-de-la-Mer from Palestine in the first century AD. This is also where the name of the town comes from. Marie Jacobé came to the Saintes Maries de la Mer together with her servant Sara. Sara was the one to protect the gypsies of Saintes-Maries-de-la-Mer and in consequence she became their patron saint.
Saintes-Maries-de-la-Mer is a pilgrimage town for gypsies, who gather in great numbers in the town each May to worship their Saint, Sara the Black They come from all over Europe and even from other continents. They settle in the squares, at the seaside for over a week or more.
On the day of May 24, Sara’s statue is carried by the gypsies to the sea, to symbolise the waiting and the welcoming of the Saintes Maries de la Mer by Sara. Then the procession goes back to the church. For all who wants to see her, Sara’s statue is situated in the crypt of the church, at the right of the altar. She wears a multicoloured dress and jewels.
On the contrary to the religious aspect of the town, Saintes Maries de la Mer, there is an arena, at the edge of the beach, for bull fights. This is not something I support or would like to take part in but what you can do, the Bull Fighting events up there and they are incredible popular and particularly lively with flamenco music. Indeed, this French town has actually a lot of Spanish influences: music, bulls fights, clothing to list just a few.
But yes I don’t like the idea of bull fighting at all, although I still respect and still like Saintes Maries de la Mer because of the fact that the bulls are actually not killed during those events.
Thanks God for the French sensitivity and style! as In the French style, the bulls are not actually killed.
And at the end, the bonus – little –tattle: Vincent Van Gogh visited Saintes-Maries-de-la-Mer in June, 1888, where he gave drawing lessons to Paul-Eugène Milliet.
Cool, isn’t it 😉 Anyway, get down there to get some sunbath as the beach is amazing, have a lunch in a local restaurant, visit the church if you are religious or curious and especially get a relaxing time and proper holidays!