Christian Lassure


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It was by a curious coincidence, on Tuesday February 8th, that I learned of the destruction, the day before, of one of the “seafront huts” at the western entrance to the village of Les Saintes-Maries. Well known to residents and tourists alike, it proudly bore at the top of its pediment the year of its construction – 1951 – and was preceded by a large porch with a basket handle arch bearing the inscription “Le Camarguais”, named after a former horseback ride. Having devoted, fifteen years ago, part of my time to the description of the gardian's huts bordering the sea, I can only deplore this outcome and regret that a different solution could not be found.


Partly hidden by its gate, the hut of "Le Camarguais" horseback ride a few years ago. With its dependency on the left, it was razed at dawn on February 7, 2023.


The regional media, notably the INFOccitanie site, echoed this destruction.


Camargue: anger and sadness after the demolition of a gardian's house

by Dorian Le He


In the Camargue: The emblematic gardian's hut demolished in Saintes-Maries-de-la-Mer.

This Tuesday morning, at dawn, construction machinery demolished the famous gardian's hut located at the entrance to the village of Saintes-Maries-de-la-Mer. The town hall, owner of the land, undertook this demolition with a view to redeveloping the place into a square.


Years of legal battles
The hut, built in 1951 by Mr. Verolet and occupied by Henri Brouzet, was a symbolic place for lovers of the village. Henri Brouzet had indeed created the horseback ride "Le Camarguais". However, despite the protests and the mobilization of the inhabitants, a long legal procedure of more than 10 years began between the municipality and Sylvette Cesar, companion of Mr. Brouzet, who occupied the premises. Eventually, Mrs. Cesar was evicted and the hut was demolished.


No regulatory display is present on the site  We urgently contacted Maître Élodie Toniazzo, lawyer at the bar of Nîmes, to inform the competent authorities of the irregularities observed. (Alexandra Sobczak President and founder of Urgences Patrimoine).


The demolition of this historic hut caused a surge of emotion among the inhabitants of Saintes-Maries-de-la-Mer. Many Camargue people wanted to preserve this memory-laden place steeped for future generations. Despite the protests, the town hall decided to continue with its redevelopment project.


The site being demolished.In the background, across the Launes canal, the gardians' cross can be seen.


Built in the 1950s on a strip of land then almost virgin, the seafront huts originate from the initiative taken by the mayor of the time, Roger Delagnes, to create, at the western entrance of the village, between the beach and the laguna of Launes, an area reserved for the sole construction of Camargue huts covered with marsh reeds. These were, for the most part, residences intended for a seasonal stay, at the seaside, and, for some, starting points for horseback riding. Immortalised by numerous postcards from the 1950s to the 1970s, they constitute, in addition to a part of the recent past of Les Saintes-Maries, an architectural and urbanistic curiosity unique of its kind in Europe (see our article, in pierreseche.com, January 26, 2009).


The seafront huts: in orange on the map, the buildings of the horseback rides known as Le Camarguais. The blue line is the Canal des Launes. The sausage-looking lines are dirt roads.



Colour postcard bearing the postmark of August 14, 1962. It offers the spectacle of a line of riders, men and women, leaving the coastal strip sheltering the seafront huts. The view is taken from the dunes bordering the beach (since the gable-frontage of the huts is turned towards the sea). The setting of the gardian's huts lent itself eminently well to the economic and touristic activity of horse riding.


This fresh destruction does not bode well for the chances of survival of the remaining and unprotected witnesses of the neo-gardian Saintoise architecture.



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February 14th, 2023 - Augmented on February 27th, 2023


To be referenced as:


Christian Lassure

A part of the recent history of Les Saintes-Maries-de-la-Mer vanishes: the "gardian's hut" at "Le Camarguais" riding stables is no more


February 14th, 2023

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