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Carrières de Lumières

Not to miss in Provence: Carrières de Lumières

One of the most interesting things in Provence is actually not highlighted by the sun: it takes place inside a dark, stone quarry.

Located in the heart of les Alpilles (a beautiful area of Provence), the Carrières de Lumières is found at the base of Les-Baux-de-Provence, a charming medieval village. Each year, a new artist is selected and their body of work is dynamically projected onto the walls of the vast quarry.

The colors and forms swirl around you as you behold the magic of the paintings, paired with sumptuous music. It is an all senses experience…from the cold air of the quarry (59 degrees, even when it is 100 degrees Fahrenheit outside), the dusty, raw floor, the smell of the limestone, vibrant dancing flowers, portraits of people expanding onto the enormous slabs of rock walls and ceiling. The images swirl and move. They overwhelm you as you stand there or move above, beneath, in and around them. Ravel, Debussy, Gershwin swoosh through your ears.

Featured artists in past years have included Picasso, Monet, Chagall, Dali, Bosch, Arcimboldo, Gaudi and Cézanne, among others. The site was originally used in artistic form by Jean Cocteau in 1959. He filmed The Testament of Orpheus in the quarry itself. Later, the notion that the rock walls could be a backdrop for projected art was embraced wholeheartedly and the result is magical. A gem in Provence, not to be missed.

More information for planning your trip can be found here: https://www.carrieres-lumieres.com/en/home