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Saintes-Maries-de-la-Mer (lit. "Saint Marys of the Sea",
Provençal Occitan"Lei Santei Marias de la Mar") is the capital of the Camargue( Provençal Occitan"Camarga") in the south of France. It is a commune in the Bouches-du-Rhônedepartment by the Mediterranean Sea. Population: 2,478 (50,000+ during the summer holidays). It has the second-largest area of all communes in Metropolitan France, smaller only than that of neighboring Arles.
The three saints
Mary Magdalene, Mary Salomeand Mary Jacobe, whose relics are the focus of the devotions of pilgrims are believed to be the women who were the first witnesses to the empty tombat the resurrection of Jesus. After the Crucifixion of Jesus, Mary Salome, Mary Jacobe, and Mary Magdalene set sail from Alexandria, Egypt with their uncle Joseph of Aramithia, by French legend OR were cast adrift in a boat that arrived off the coast of what is now France "a sort of fortress named Oppidum-Râ", and the location was known as Notre-Dame-de-Ratis ("Râ" becoming "Ratis", or boat) (Droit, 1961, 19); the name being changed to Notre-Dame-de-la-Mer, and then Les Saintes-Maries-de-la-Mer in 1838.
It is a
pilgrimagedestination for Roma (Gypsies) who gather yearly in the town for a religious festival in honor of Saint Sarahknown by the French to be Mary Magdala's daughter OR may also be known as Sara-la-Kali (Sara the black). Dark-skinned Saint Sara is said to have possibly been the Egyptian servant of the three Marys. The famous flamenco guitarist Manitas de Platafirst played there.
*The windsurfing Canal where the last three world sailing speed records were set is on the outskirts of the town.
Vincent van Goghpainted " Street in Saintes-Maries" here in 1888.
Hermann-Pauldied here in 1940, two days shy of the capitulation.
Tori Amoswrote a song "Mary's of the Sea" inspired by Saintes-Maries-de-la-Mer- most notably of the three Marys, Mary Magdalene.
Communes of the Bouches-du-Rhône department
* [http://www.saintesmaries.com/ Tourism office website] ( [http://www.saintesmaries.com/ mirror] )
* [http://www.tripfilms.com/Travel_Video-v171-Saintes_Maries_de_la_Mer-Saintes_Maries_de_la_Mer-Video.html Video about Saintes-Maries-de-la-Mer]
* Droit, Michel. (1963). "Carmague." Ernest and Adair Heimann (trans.). London: George Allen and Unwin
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