For a few days yet, if you cross the bridge from the Wild or along the road from Arles to go in the Camargue, you will have to face a barrage of force and show white paw. Least to justify that you are not away from home of less than 100 km, as everywhere in France, but in order to certify, grey card or proof of address to support, that you live in Saintes-Maries-de-la-Mer. The perimeter of the joint is in effect prohibits " foreigners. "
The origin of this deviation from the rest of the world comes this week from may 23 to 26 is over 85 years old, the time of the pilgrimage of the Gypsies, Gypsy, and Roma came not only from France, but from all over Europe to venerate their patron saint, Sara, servant of Mary Jacobe, sister of Mary, mother of Jesus, and Mary Salome, mother of saint Jacques, of which the christian tradition says that their boat, coming to the holy land has washed up on these shores, there are more than two thousand years. Each year, nearly 20 000 people on the trip who flock to Saintes-Maries, to attend the procession of the reliquary containing the relics of the saints in the streets of the village and down to the sea to commemorate the place where they have touched the earth after having escaped the perils of the sea.
This is a heart-breaking, ( ... ), but it is not a question of taking risks
Then the prefect of the Bouches-du-Rhône, takes on 15 may, by order, prohibit access to the common of all " non-resident, or eligible person ". 54 gendarmes are mobilised. Not only the access road are prohibited, but government decision obliges, the beach itself, one of the only of the department, is closed. It is 17 km away and should help to promote social distancing. The result is that the village is deserted, its shops have not reopened, a shortfall in additional to its traders, in the bridge of the Ascension, while the Marseillais, weary of the confinement, are less than 100 km to flight of bird...
In sum, it is the confinement that continues for us
The mayor of Saintes-Maries was, however, asked the prefect prohibits the caravans, motor homes, camping-cars, but that let in the light-duty vehicles. The representative of the State remained inflexible : until 27 may, the village will remain off-limits. "In sum, it is the confinement that continues for us," notes Guillaume, the manager of the press point of the commune.
In the church, whose doors are prohibited by bands of white and red as are the places of the various facts, the father's Case, the priest of the village, was able to say a mass in honour of saint Sara, which was attended by some representatives of the gypsy community. A simple ceremony, celebrated in the shrine chapel, the town hall was webcast live on its site Facebook for travellers and others.