Five Questions to Mandy Graillon, the 22nd Queen of Arles

Fascinated from a young age by the traditions of Provence, the newly elected Queen of Arles, Mandy Graillon today sees a childhood dream comes true. Just 23 years old and "specialized in business, accounting, finance and management control,” she does us the honor of answering a few questions.
By Justine Fiordelli

1. You were elected Queen of Arles on 1 May 2014, how did you feel when you won?

When the jury told me I won, I couldn’t believe it. I had to sit down for a few moments to realize that my childhood dream, the one for which I’d worked for months, even years, and that my whole family and all my friends shared, had become a reality! The emotion was huge and the moment unforgettable; I get goose bumps just thinking about it!

2. At 23 years old, what does the title Queen of Arles mean to you?

I’ve been dreaming about this role since childhood; for me it represents an opportunity to continue my commitment to promoting our traditions. For me, the Queen of Arles is a showcase for the Arles region, and the opportunity to place our culture and heritage in the limelight, beyond our borders.

3. Can you explain what your role consists of?

Above all, my Maids of Honor and I have a role as ambassadors. Indeed, we must represent the Arles traditions in the region and elsewhere and are therefore present at all traditional events and festivals, whether in Arles, in the Camargue region, Le Crau, or the Alpilles. Beyond that, our mission is to promote the customs of the Arles and encourage people to take an interest in our traditions (costume, language, landscapes...).

4. Three months after being elected Queen of Arles, what’s your conclusion so far?

Quite simply, I tell myself that time passes very quickly so I should make the most of every event and every encounter. This summer was wonderful and filled with good times, with about one event every three days. After hours of preparation and a very early start, the reward is always there: people are so happy to welcome us and the kids have stars in their eyes just looking at us!

5. What are your passions in your spare time?

Aside from my taste for modern jazz, reading and cinema, my most compelling passion is undoubtedly my dedication to traditional Arles costume. I love going to flea markets and garage sales looking for old pieces (lace, old costumes...), finding the most original and valuable fabrics, and then making my own costumes. All this takes time!

Mandy Graillon
Mandy Graillon
The 22nd Queen of Arles
Photography François Xavier Emery

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