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This weekend in the small town of Saintes Maries de la Mer, the Gypsy’s Pilgrimage will take place. The tradition dates back to the Middle Ages, and the procession begins from the fortified church pictured here. Built near the end of the Petit-Rhône river, the church of the Saintes Maries de la Mer was strategically positioned when it was conceived between the 9th and 12th centuries to protect the coastal town from pirate attacks. Formed in fortress fashion, its walls measure 50 feet high. The Sainte Sara statue is kept in the church’s crypt, and is carried to the sea by the procession during the pilgrimage.