Trace the History of Art in Provence

Entrance – Carrières de Lumières – © culturespaces

Planning your next trip to France?  You may want to take in an extraordinary ‘new’ attraction in Provence.

A little history

In 2011, the town of Les Baux de Provence asked Culturespaces – the same progressive organization that manages many historic sites and museums in France and Belgium – to take over management of the Carrières du Val d’Enfer quarry.  Culturespaces has managed the Château des Baux de Provence for nearly 20 years and reopened the quarry site in 2012 with a new name – “Carrières de Lumières” – so named to focus on the ever-present role of light in Provence.

Just a stone’s throw from Les Baux de Provence in the heart of the Alpilles, the ‘Val d’Enfer’ enjoys an impressive artistic history. The valley’s dazzling solid mineral deposits has long inspired artists.  It was the setting for Dante’s “Divine Comedy” and the creation of Gounod’s opera “Mireille”. In later years, Cocteau filmed “The Testament of Orpheus” in these same quarries.

The Carrières du Val d’Enfer quarry was created over time with the extraction of bauxite and white limestone used to construct the Chateau and the town. Discovered in Baux in 1821, the dark red bauxite as named after the village.

Where history and art meet high technology

With all of the innovation and vigor they have applied to their other successful projects (among them La Villa Ephrussi de Rothschild and Le Théâtre Antique & Musée d’Orange), Culturespaces will present cultural events emphasizing the History of Art in the Carrières rooms.  The all-encompassing galleries, audio visual shows, live shows, concerts and lectures aim to transform the ‘Carrières de Lumières’ into  a cultural hub for multiple events.  One big new show each year will profile the greatest names in the History of Art.  Twice the number of video projectors used in past productions will project images onto all surfaces of the rock, entirely immersing visitors in a vast artistic journey.

If you doubt for a moment that this will be an exceptional experience, look to the clear, expressed purpose that drives Culturespace.

“Our aim is to help public institutions to present their heritage and develop their reputation in cultural circles and among tourists. We also aim to make access to culture more democratic and help our children discover our history and our civilisation in remarkable cultural sites.”   Bruno Monnier, CEO.

Sneak preview of show – production © G. Iannuzzi M. Siccardi.

Created by Gianfranco Iannuzzi with Renato Gatto and Massimiliano Siccardi, the masterful show traces and interweaves the lives and works of “Gauguin and Van Gogh, the colour painters”.

We’d love to hear from you!  swsheridan@francedailyphoto.com

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One thought on “Trace the History of Art in Provence

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