Museon Arlaten

As an extension to the "Lumières des Saintes" exhibition, the Museon Arlaten invites you to a meeting to find out all - or almost all! - about the gypsy pilgrimage to Saintes-Maries-de-la-Mer.

According to Catholic tradition, Marie-Jacobé and Marie-Salomé, witnesses to Christ's crucifixion and resurrection, were expelled from Palestine along with Sara, their servant, and other disciples of Jesus. Condemned to wander the seas in a rudderless boat, they landed on the shores of Provence, where they found refuge. While the other members of the crew took part in the evangelization of Provence, the Saint Marys, who remained behind, have since been the object of a pilgrimage revived in the 15th c. by King René, when archaeological excavations unearthed their relics.

To the sound of "Vive les saintes Marie! Vive sainte Sara!", an extraordinary procession attracts large crowds of pilgrims from all over France every May 24 and 25. The event is also an occasion for festive family reunions for Gypsy communities.

4:30 pm → Guided tour of the "Lumières des Saintes" exhibition in french
by Ilsen About curator of the exhibition (Access via rue Balze, visitors with a Rencontres d'Arles ticket)

6:00 pm - 7:30 pm → Round-table discussion in french: different views of Saintes-Maries-de-la-Mer
Free without reservation, subject to availability

- Ilsen About is a research fellow at the CNRS, specializing in the history of Gypsy peoples in Western Europe and the history of photographic sources. He was scientific curator of the "Lumières des Saintes" exhibition.

- Kristel Amellal is an ethnologist at the Museon Arlaten; between 2010 and 2017, she carried out a major field survey of the gypsy population, meeting with various players involved in the pilgrimage.

- Gaëlla Loiseau, socio-anthropologist, UMR innovation, INRAE Occitanie-Montpellier, who has worked on a number of issues linked to the mobile habitat of travelers.
Posted on 04.09.2023
  • Institutional partners

    • République Française
    • Région Provence Alpes Côté d'Azur
    • Département des Bouches du Rhône
    • Arles
    • Le Centre des monuments nationaux est heureux de soutenir les Rencontres de la Photographie d’Arles en accueillant des expositions dans l’abbaye de Montmajour
  • Main partners

    • Fondation LUMA
    • BMW
    • SNCF
    • Kering
  • Media partners

    • Arte
    • Lci
    • Konbini
    • Le Point
    • Madame Figaro
    • France Culture