Welcome to Stes-Maries-de-la-Mer
The saints who give their name to this whitewashed seaside town are Mary Salomé and Mary Jacobi, persecuted early Christians who escaped here from Palestine. With them, the legend says, was their handmaiden Sara, whose sanctification as Saint Sara the Black makes this a significant place of pilgrimage for Roma and other 'gypsy' peoples, whose patron the is. Stes-Maries has a rough-and-tumble holidaymaker feel, with salt-licked buildings crowding dusty streets. During its Roma pilgrimages, street-cooked pans of paella fuel chaotic crowds of carnivalesque guitarists, dancers and mounted cowboys.