Along the coast around Perpignan there are many sites of WW2 holding camps.
Argeles today is known as a seaside resort, so I thought it would be a good idea to film what remains of the camp. What I found was a vast expanse of wasteland bordering the sea, an area of scrub-land with only cacti for vegetation.
It’s out of season, so there were hardly any holiday-makers, just a few naked old men scattered along the beach enjoying the last of the summer sun. Even at midday the place was eerie, no huts remained, just areas where buildings obviously had been.
I walked over the scrub, an area fenced off as a nature reserve.
Vast, empty, bleak and silent (apart from a few birds singing, passing through, heading south) as if the past history of this place could not be completely obliterated.
I walked in circles for over an hour through this bland repetitive piece of land, no distinguishing features, just barren, not a lot of notable features to film, quite monotonous.
As I walked back to the car I passed a camp-site, mobile homes enclosed by a large wall, my friend asked me what they reminded me of, I answered the concentration camp at Rivesaltes – what a bizarre place to holiday.
I now have cactus thorns in my feet, in fact embedded in my shoes; not the most comfortable walk I’ve ever made, but I'm sure I have some footage I can use.
Top: Mobile Homes at Argeles Nature Reserve', 2008. Photo: Jonathan Moss.
Bottom: 'Argeles Nature Reserve', 2008. Photo: Jonathan Moss.