French Federation of Historical Audioguides

Tarascon - Guided Tours Audio guide in English

Visit the surroundings

The town of Tarascon developed on the banks of the Rhône, parallel to Beaucaire, during Antiquity and the Middle Ages. Nevertheless, vestiges, discovered on the hills surrounding the city, attest to human occupation from the 7th century BC.

The difficult mastery of the Rhône and its crossing gives rise to legends that are still very much alive. The tarasque-crocodile, water dragon, symbolizes this dangerous and indomitable river. In the Middle Ages, this fabulous animal was also associated with the life of Martha of Bethany, hostess of Christ.

It is in the story of The Golden Legend, written by the chronicler Jacques de Voragine (around 1230-1298), that the legend is reported. Driven out of Palestine after the death of Christ, Marthe lands on the shore of Saintes-Maries-de-la-Mer, then evangelizes Avignon and Tarascon. She captures the monster, sprinkling it with holy water, and delivers it to the townspeople, who kill it with spears and arrows.

The Tarasque then embodies the victory of the Christian religion over paganism. Sainte Marthe is recognized as the patroness of Tarascon and her relics, kept in the crypt of the Sainte-Marthe church, are still venerated there.

Tourist map - Tarascon - Guided Tours

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