Saintes-Maries-de-la-Mer

Saintes-Maries-de-la-Mer Travel Blog

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Notre-Dame-de-la-Mer church

While staying in Arles, we took a bus to the closest beach which just so happened to be Saintes-Maries-de-la-mer. It is the main town in the Camargue, salt marshes that are home to 400 species of birds including the greater flamingo.

The name of the town comes from the three Marys (Mary Magdalene,  Mary Salome, & Mary Jacobe) who are believed to be the first witnesses to the empty tomb at the resurrection of Jesus. After the Crucifixion of Jesus, Mary Salome, Mary Jacobe, and Mary Magdalene were cast adrift in a boat that arrived off the coast of what is now France.  Saintes-Maries is also the location for an annual Roma gypsy pilgrimage in honor of Saint Sarah also known as Sara-la-Kali (Sara the black).

petanque
Some of you may have heard of this town from the Da Vinci Code studies. I never read the book so I'm not sure if it was mentioned, but I'm assuming that it was. I would think that Dan Brown would have focused on this town due to it's connection with Mary Magdalene. Legend states that Mary arrived by boat in this town supposedly carrying the vessel of Christ.

A beautiful village on the Mediterranean sea, but definitely a tourist area. Beware of the gypsies....they have a tendency to corner people trying to sell Saint Sarah pendants.

The game of petanque is played quite regularly in an open areas of the town. Pétanque is a form of boules where the goal is to throw metal balls as close as possible to a small wooden ball called a cochonnet. It's similar to the bocce ball game. The name is derived from the term pieds tanqués, which in the Marseilles dialect of French means "stuck feet", because in Pétanque the feet have to remain fixed together within a (small) circle.

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Notre-Dame-de-la-Mer church
Notre-Dame-de-la-Mer church
petanque
petanque
petanque
petanque
Notre-Dame-de-la-Mer church
Notre-Dame-de-la-Mer church
band of players
band of players
the sea
the sea
band of players
band of players
locals playing petanque
locals playing petanque
Saintes-Maries-de-la-Mer
photo by: Claudia83