The incredible art of Russia’s Marc Chagall at Carrières de Lumières has been a 2016 sensation! Yet another maestro’s talent splashed upon the towering walls and floor of the former bauxite quarry in Val d’Enfer, by Les Baux de Provence. Set to a mystical, musical background, the spellbinding spectacle was breathtaking once again.
Even for the art philistines amongst us, this video extravaganza never fails to captivate and Marc Chagall at Carrières de Lumières was no exception. It is an enchanting visionary thrill, hard to tear yourself away from but one you’ll leave excited to return to for the following year’s stunning performance!
How to visit Carrières de Lumières
Located: 800m from the enchanting perched village of Les Baux de Provence
Route de Maillane 13520 Les Baux de Provence
Tel: +33 4 90 54 37 Email: firstname.lastname@example.org
By road: Motorway A7 (exit Avignon), A9(Nimes) and A54(Baux-de-Provence) 10 minutes from St Remy-de-Provence, see the map below
Open: 9.00am -6.00pm, (later in summer months) 7 days a week from March – January Check website for details, re-opening March 5th 2017
Admission: 12 Euros, family and other discounts available.
Marc Chagall at Carrières de Lumières 2016 ~ Midsummer’s Night Dream
Tip: Combine the entrance ticket with entrance to the Chateau ruins of Les Baux for a fascinating self-guided audio tour which will transport you back to the time of knights and swash buckling heroes.
Les Baux de Provence
This ancient perched Provencal village, set high on a rocky escarpment above Les Alpilles is believed to date back to the times of Balthazar, one of the three wise men.
Owned by the Grimaldi family of Monaco, it is only a five minute stroll from Carrières de Lumières.
Wander its meandering cobbled streets and peek into its chapel, simple but serene.
Tip: The chateau tour is excellent, don’t miss the video film of a helicopter ride over Provence, shown in the small chapel near the exit.
Tip: Eat elsewhere, in nearby St Remy-de-Provence or Arles, the Les Baux dining choices are disappointing.
Tip: If you have time, visit one of the many olive mills and wine domains as you wind your way through the valley Le Crau and the Roman road Via Aurelia below Les Baux on your departure.
History of the quarries of Val d’Enfer, site for Carrières de Lumières
Located in the heart of Les Alpilles, the quarries of the Val d’Enfer have been known for their white colored limestone since the second century BC. In 1821 a red mineral used for the extraction of aluminium was discovered. It was named bauxite after the neighbouring village of Les Baux, it was mined industrially until 1935.
Mining in Val d’Enfer
Today the walls still reveal the intensive marks of the crocodile saw used to extract the stone.
This saw was operated by a single worker, with its large, trapezoid form its teeth only cut when the worker pulled the saw towards him. Easier to handle than a two man saw it was also cheaper, cutting about two meters of soft stone a day.
Val d’Enfer as a center for the arts
The magical atmosphere and cool temperatures of the site have inspired many. It has been the setting for Dante’s ‘Divine Comedy’, Gounod’s opera ‘Mireille’ and Cocteau’s film ‘The Testament of Orpheus’. In 1977 the combined vision of Cocteau and research of stage designer Joseph Svoboda led to the transformation of the walls into projection screens. In 2010 Culturespaces selected it for to become Carrières de Lumières, profiling the art of the Masters, it is an artistic sensation!
Carrières de Lumières 2016, Chagall ~ Midsummer’s Night Dream
Next year Bosch, Brueghel, Arcimboldo, ‘from the fantastic to the wonderful’ ~ not to be missed on any trip to this part of Provence.