December 25, 2013
The sound-and-light show in Les Baux-de-Provence is housed in an old French bauxite quarry called Carrieres de Lumieres (loosely translated as Quarry of Light). The venue is a cross between a museum and a theater, with a show that changes each year. The 40-minute installation running through Jan. 5 is "Monet, Renoir … Chagall: Journeys Around the Mediterranean."
As you enter the cavernous space carved into the hillside, your eyes adjust slowly to the darkness. One hundred projectors display 3,000 images covering 50 years of work by 16 French artists, ranging from impressionism to fauvism to contemporary pieces, all related to the theme of the Mediterranean coast. The multimedia production is accompanied by classical and contemporary music.
The works at this "multiplex" aren't projected onto conventional screens. Instead they cover the quarry walls. LED technology makes the walls come alive with the illusion of movement.
The quarry stands at the bottom of a narrow winding road leading up to a little village considered one of the most beautiful in France: Les Baux-de-Provence, a 10-minute walk from the quarry.
Visitors can explore the ruins of the old castle fortress (Chateaux des Baux) and church that dominated the region for centuries. Now only 22 people live in the picturesque village, but its stone buildings have been beautifully restored.
If you can't see the quarry before its hiatus starting Jan. 6, prepare for "Klimt and Vienna" opening March 7 (carrieres-lumieres.com/en). Also go to lesbauxdeprovence.com and chateau-baux-provence.com/en/discover for information.
— Irene S. Levine, Special to Tribune Newspapers
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