Church of Our Lady of the Sea
& nbsp; Built near the mouth of the Petit-Rhône, the Church of Saintes Maries de la Mer had an important strategic position. The church dominates the village and is visible 10 km from the interior. It is a real fortress, formed by a single, straight nave, without ornament and 15 meters high. The roof is surrounded by a covered way, with battlements and machicolations and served as a watchtower. The choir and the apse are surmounted by a hemicycle dungeon which contains the old guardhouse room called "upper chapel". The walls of the church are pierced with loopholes. It served as a refuge for the population and there is even a fresh water well there. Today, the statue of Sara, an essential element of the heritage of the gypsies, is placed in the crypt, to the right of the altar. The sanctuary, dedicated to the Virgin Mary invoked here under the name of Our Lady of the Sea, was built around a primitive church of which Saint Césaire d'Arles, in his will of 543, entrusted the management to the monastery which he founded in Arles with his sister Césarie. This little church was itself built around a fresh water well still visible in the sanctuary and near which, it was thought, the Saints were buried. The most contemporary historians situate the construction of the fortified church during the second half of the 12th century while others date the nave of the 11th century and the part corresponding to the choir of the 9th century. In August 1448, after the discovery of the bodies of the Saints, King René of Anjou built the current crypt , the primitive church which had been preserved is destroyed, the shrine containing the relics is raised to the upper chapel. It is reached by the roof terrace by taking spiral staircases built into the thickness of the walls. & Nbsp;
To discover the bovine tradition of the Camargue, nothing better than to visit a manade. Go out and meet these passionate bulls, Camargue races and traditions. Get to know the work of a gardian by participating in a discovery day in the heart of a manade.
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