Les Saintes Maries de la Mer


01 April 2024  |  Tourism

Les-Saintes-Maries-de-la-Mer capital of the Camargue

The Camargue extends over 3 departments: Hérault, Bouches du Rhône and Gard. Discover Les-Saintes-Maries-de-la-Mer, an unmissable village, capital of the Camargue, located in the heart of the Rhône Delta.


 ©Jean-Louis Zimmermann  

A picturesque enclave of the Camargue, Saintes-Maries-de-la-Mer is a Mediterranean jewel illustrating the wild beauty of landscapes that have remained natural and the local traditions of the south of France.

The village owes its name to Mary, mother of Jesus, as well as Marie Salomé and Marie Jacobé, biblical figures associated with the Christian tradition. According to legend, after the crucifixion of Jesus, these three women, accompanied by a few disciples, were chased out of Palestine by the Romans. They would have sailed on a boat without rudder or oars to the coasts of Provence, where they would have found refuge.

They were accompanied by Sara, a black pagan from Upper Egypt converted to Christianity, who helped them reach dry land. She became Saint Sara, the Patroness of the Gypsies. It represents the Christian form of the Indian goddess Kāli, goddess of destiny and good fortune.

The Church

Les Saintes Maries de la Mer


Overlooking the Mediterranean, the Church of Saintes-Marie-de-la-Mer is iconic.

It is an illustration of Roman art, its construction dates from the 12th century. Its dominant position makes it visible from 10km away.

The Church was fortified in the 14th century. Sleek, it is made up of a single nave 15m high and without ornament.

The roof is accessible by an external staircase, the panoramic view is breathtaking.

The statue of Sara, patron saint of the Gypsies, is located in the Church of Saintes Maries de la Mer. You will see her on the right at the back of the crypt, dressed in dresses of multiple colors, precious fabrics and jewelry. The central altar supports a reliquary, and against the wall stands the Procession cross, carried by the Gypsies.

Also, every year there is a pilgrimage for the Gypsies who come to honor Sara on May 24 and 25.

Address 19 Rue Jean Aicard, 13460 Saintes-Maries-de-la-Mer

Phone 04 90 97 80 25

Hours The sanctuary is open daily from 8:00 a.m. to 7:00 p.m.

La camargue


 © Unsplash 

Saintes-Maries-de-la-Mer is an ideal spot for exploring the natural, preserved and wild region of the Camargue which extends over more than 930 km². Marshes, lagoons and salt ponds provide a rich and diverse habitat for a multitude of plant and animal species, including the famous Camargue white horses and majestic pink flamingos. A paradise for nature lovers. The vast expanses of wetlands are home to unique flora and fauna, adapted to an often inhospitable environment. Wild horses gallop freely through the marshes, while herds of bulls graze peacefully in the green meadows. Migratory birds stop at the salt ponds, providing amateur and professional birders with the opportunity to observe a wide variety of species.


 © Pixabay 

Share this article


Virginie Erre

After gaining a Masters Degree from the Panthéon Sorbonne, I worked as a real-estate agent for luxury properties and now am a manager with Pure France high quality holiday rentals. I am also a yoga instructor.

See more from Virginie Erre

Where in France


Open on Google maps

Villas & Châteaux in France

 Find your perfect French holiday home...

© Pure France.™ All rights reserved.

Choose language