The ex-votos of Saintes-Maries-de-la-Mer
Posted on May 4th, 2017
The small town of Saintes-Maries-de-la-Mer lies on the coast, next to the marshes of the Camargue. It is famous for the legend of the three Marys, saints Mary Magdalene, Mary Salome and Mary of Clopas, first witnesses to the empty tomb of Jesus. It is thought they sailed together from Alexandria, landing at what is now Saintes-Maries-de-la-Mer. The town is also the destination for Roma gypsy pilgrims who arrive each year at the end of May for the festival of their patron Saint Sarah, who is supposed to have come with the three Marys as their dark-skinned Egyptian servant.
The church at the centre of town dates back to the 9th century and contains a pagan altar from 4BCE. On display within the church are numerous ex-votos, thanking the saints for rescuing loved ones. A crypt beneath the church contains a shrine to Saint Sarah.
Further photos may be found: HERE