Posts Tagged ‘Les Baux de Provence’

If you feel like life hasn’t been surrealistic enough recently and are up for an immersive art show of Dali and Gaudi, then the happy news is that the Carrieres de Lumieres at Les Baux opens again tomorrow.  (The chateau which dominates the nearby village has already re-opened).

Visits to the Carrieres though are not as we knew them in the pre-Feb 2020 world:

  • Entry by internet booking only
  • Masks to be worn throughout the visit
  • Temperature check on entry
  • Hand-cleansing gel available
  • One-metre distancing to be maintained
  • No groups
  • No audio-guides available.


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If you are planning a trip over to Les Baux-de-Provence to see the magnificent Van Gogh show at the Carrieres de Lumieres, here is an additional treat from the delightful Musée Yves Brayer. (more…)

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The current show at the Carrieres de Lumieres at Les Baux, ‘Monet, Renoir…Chagall: Journeys Around the Mediterranean’ comes to an end on 6th January.  It is a breathtakingly colourful show which ties in with the MP2013 Year of Culture programme and is especially resonant for people living locally.

klimtBut the 2014 theme promises to be equally colourful if not so relevant geographically.  ‘De Klimt a Hundertwasser: UnSiecle d’Or et de Couleurs’ will bring 100 years of Viennese painting to the rough walls of the former quarry.  It will include portraits and landscapes from both artists as well as the works of Schiele.  The show will run daily from 7th March 2014 to 5th Jan 2015.

In the meantime, if you haven’t seen the current show, do try to – a very beautiful if rather cold experience!  Open daily 10-18:00.

Details: http://www.carrieres-lumieres.com/en/events

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IMG_5706Loved the Tour de France, as did Aixcentric petit-fils who, aged 2,  soon got the hang of running for loot: key-rings, hats, sweets and madeleines.  It’s really solid brand-awareness. I remember after the last football World Cup, one of the UK marketing magazines researched brand retention amongst TV viewers and those who had been in the stadiums – and there was precious little recall. I guess that when you have been hit on the foot as I was (more…)

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monetThe new show at Carrieres de Lumieres is just fantastic.  It traces the story of the artists who flocked to the Mediterranean, to capture its light and its colour.  Their pictures are projected on to the rough quarry walls and all across the floor.  They are incredibly beautiful and accompanied by some lovely music.

For me, it is a more coherent show than the one last year and the music is far more melodic.  A must!

If you haven’t been before, wrap up warmly.  The shows start at 9.30 and continue throughout the day. Each lasts about 35 minutes.  There is an LCD sign at the door which tells you how long the current show has to run – it’s worth waiting for the beginning as, unlike the Cézanne show in 2006, this one does develop.

Full details on www.carrieres-lumieres.com. Daily until 5th January 2014.

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I do try and have some sort of coherence to my blog posts but today there is none – a series of random items which may be of interest to people in Aix.

RICHARD VIDAL NAQUETLet’s start with the news today that the Musée Granet has acquired another Cézanne.  Antiquary Richard Vidal-Naquet discovered the small format oil painting (19 cm by 16 cm) – of a young girl drawing. The subject is the painter’s young sister Rose and there is an authenticity certificate written by Maxime Conil, Aix lawyer and husband of Rose Cézanne, then the certificate of sale. It was purchased in 1913 by Aix collector Emmanuel Belval who had acquired it for 300 francs. The Community of Pays d’Aix has paid 300,000 euros for this plus two lithographs and a host of books relating to the work of Cézanne. For more info and to see the painting, see La Provence: http://www.laprovence.com/article/actualites/aix-le-musee-granet-soffre-un-cezanne-inedit

I am also in debt to La Provence for the latest news on wolves which have been attacking lambs in the Var. Now they have entered ’13’,  attacking a flock of sheep at Vauvenargues.  Young wolves are moving closer towards Aix, starting their own packs. It is a nightmare for the éleveurs, who, instead of leaving the sheep out, have to try and get them all under cover at night-time.  I do wonder at the sense ( lack of….) in reintroducing wolves into the countryside.

Now on to swimming:  I often go to the Piscine Yves Blanc which is at the Stade de Carcassonne, near the Torse Park.  It’s an Olympic-size pool, 8 lanes, and uniformally deep…good for doing lengths.  A couple of lengths are often reserved for training the synchro swimmers which is entertaining.piscine_yvesblanc It’s just 2,70 for a swim – you don’t have to be a member. However you do need to wear a swimming hat, and gents have to wear speedo-style bathers (no flowery baggy shorts!). You also need flip-flops to get you from the changing area to the pool as there are lots of cracked tiles.  It’s all a bit tired/municipal baths, but at that price, not to worry.  The link here gives the usual timetable but – and the reason for my post – the pool is closed from now until January 6th for ‘vidage’. It then reopens but is closed on January 13th for a sports event. http://piscines.agglo-paysdaix.fr/pageLibre0001010e.aspx

Flights – I did say this post had random items!  Ryanair have announced that they will be flying from Marseille to Warsaw from January, flights starting at 14€, and will have flights to the UK East Midlands from 31st March,  flights each way, Sundays and Thursdays.

Today’s Sunday Times Travel section has a very good piece on Marseille.  The writer clearly likes the place for its character, ‘brazen, bombastic, picaresque’ which he contrasts with the ‘hysterical tedium’ of the MP2013 literature which he said drove him mad. He’s very positive about the new museums being built, the Vieux Port, the new Silo and was ‘particularly impressed’ with the Chateau de la Buzine film centre.  That is until he got outside and found his car broken into and his suitcase gone. Sad.

While on the subject of museums, there’s a new contemporary art exhibition just started at the Musée des Tapisseries in Aix and do remember that the Gauguin and Van Gogh son-et-lumiere show at Les Baux is closing on the 6th January.

I’ll leave you with this rather funky Christmas tree made out of books anthropologie-book-christmas-tree-300x300and a link to see some more fun ways of building books into trees.  And now it’s back to peeling sprouts!http://www.freshdesignblog.com/tag/christmas-tree-made-from-books/ 


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Since I have posted today something happening at Christmas, I thought I might as well keep going and give us all something to look forward to in the Spring.  The new show at the Carrières de Lumières at Les Baux will be Voyages en Méditerranée.

It will be celebrating the Mediterranean region as a source of inspiration for painters during the second half of the 19th century and the beginning of the 20th – Impressionists, Fauves, Pointillistes and Cubists.  The whole French coast from Italy along to Spain fascinated these artists and the show will shine up images of Antibes, Cagnes, Collioure, L’Estaque and St Tropez.  The illustration here is Monet’s ‘Lemon Trees at Bordighera’ from 1884.

The son-et-lumiere shows at this old quarry are quite spectacular and really lend themselves to colourful paintings.  The theme is designed to tie in with the MP2013 Year of Culture.

It starts on 8th March and runs to 5th January 2014.  Some brightness to look forward to on this dark and rainy November day!


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Thirty years ago this month, Prince Ranier and Princess Grace visited Les Baux, along with their son Prince Albert who became the Marquis des Baux and was given the keys to the town.

To celebrate this event, the town has put together an exhibition of Paris Match photos of Princess Grace.

Apparently, the Grimaldi family back in 1642 helped Louis XIII beat off the Spanish and were rewarded with Les Baux and Saint-Rémy-de-Provence.  The Grimaldis’ palace there was requisitioned during the Revolution but they have kept the titles.  There’s a supplement on this, with photos and info on the life of Princess Grace, in this week’s Paris Match.

The exhibition is being held in various cultural venues in the town, until15th November.

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What an amazing leap of imagination it was for whoever had the brilliant idea of using this abandoned quarry for a son-et-lumière show!

It’s been running for years and the annual themes have been as disparate as Venice, Cézanne and Australia, all illustrated with massively projected images and accompanying music.

Last year it was taken over by Culturespaces and some improvements to the layout have been made – a much smoother floor for instance which is easier when wandering around in the dark.  I also like the new viewing galleries.  However, most of us visiting yesterday felt that, in this year’s show, something had been lost, especially in colour quality. 

This year’s theme celebrates Van Gogh and Gauguin who famously tried to live and work together in nearby Arles.

Gauguin’s work lends itself more easily to this treatment, his large, flat, colourful Breton and Tahitan paintings being particularly impactful.  Van Gogh’s paintings, especially the delicate ones, were lost against these rough-hewn quarry walls. Somehow his wonderful irises became insipid and the glorious sunflowers were underplayed.  And I really didn’t like the music.  But this is such a unique experience that it is worth visiting.  Details on www.carrieres-lumieres.com. 8€.50. Wrap up warm!

Afterwards you can visit the little town of Les Baux where there are many restaurants.  But we drove to nearby Fontvieille to have lunch at La Cuisine au Planet.

It’s tucked away on a side street off a side street, but worth seeking out for the friendly ambiance, the food, and specifically their crême brulée à la lavande.  I had eaten this 6 years ago at this restaurant and never forgotten how good it was!  Luckily it was on the menu yesterday and was just as I remembered – delicious.

144 Grand Rue, Fontvieille, tel:04 90 54 63 97.

More details on cooking with lavender in the next post………..


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