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Stéphanie Pety de Thozée

Piémanson

France 2008

On the lost wild beaches by the borders to Camargue, around the Rhône river mouth – in between the port and the industrial zone of Marseille and Saintes-Maries-de-la-Mer – camping of families from the region is tolerated since decennia. But times change, and the Beauduc beach has “closed”. The inhabitants that used to live there throughout the year have been expelled. At the Napoleon beach, a vast parking space makes the one-day tourists happy, but caravans and their former semi-permanent summer holiday-makers are nowadays non grata. Piémanson is the last beach in France having a form of temporary, free and self-managed occupation on a sea bordering natural territory. There, every summer is lived as if it was the last one... Far from the palaces of the Riviera, the constraints linked to these forms and places of precarious livelihood conditions make the human relations rich and unexpected. At Piémanson, the stories keep on being told under a canopy, around a glass of pastis or a cool beer, close to the sea, with or without mistral, in the intimacy of a caravan... and you keep on dreaming about it.