If you are planning to cycle in Sainte Baume, it is worth making some time to see this village of 12,000 at the base of the Sainte Baume mountain. According to legend, Mary Magdalene lived the last years of her life and died nearby. Her relics were discovered in the late 13th century, in a fourth-century crypt, and are preserved in a sarcophagus in the town’s huge royal Basilica de Ste Marie Madeleine, considered one of the most important tombs in Christendom.
The story is not as far-fetched as it might seem. This area was an important part of the Roman empire during the early Christian period and many towns in Provence are associated with the first saints and evangelists.
Saint-Maximin-la-Sainte-Baume also had a thriving Jewish community in the Middle Ages. The old synagogue and the Rabbi’s house can still be visited.
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