Wednesday, 16 April 2008

Sound and (En)Light(enment)

Just took Debbie and Mark to see the Cathedrale d'Image at Les Baux. It's based in the old bauxite mines where the aluminium ore was cut out in blocks to leave the mountain hollow.

Here are Debbie and Mark exploring an abandoned quarry nearby.

Just round the corner from that, we discovered a quarry still in use.  They're mining the stone (prized for its whiteness and purity) for its own sake nowadays, the seams of aluminium ore being long since mined out.

So this set the scene for the Cathedrale d'Image - a 'son et lumiére' show inside the old bauxite mines - truly a cathedral sized space.

While suitably evocative music plays, video projectors beam images onto the the quarry walls, floor and ceiling, to create a completely consuming visual experience.  You can literally walk inside the picture.

The theme changes every year.  For 2008 it's van Gogh, whose association with this area is well known, him having been based in both Arles and St-Rémy-de-Provence for his most creative period at the end of the 1880s.

The show uses not only his most famous paintings, but also photographs from the era and his sketches and drawings.  Note the scale of the space, ably demonstrated by the couple standing in the foreground.

Obviously there had to be sunflowers...

So quarries and van Gogh turned out to be the theme for the day.  Later on, we were in St-Rémy and walked out to St-Paul-de-Mausole - van Gogh's asylum.   Just behind the asylum is the Mas de la Pyramide, where, at the centre of an olive grove, stands the last remnant of an ancient quarry.  Why that bit was left, I have no idea.

Debbie, forever the botanist, was in raptures about the Judas trees flowering all around (deep pink blossom in the background).  She was also pleased to hear that for once it wasn't going to be John and Ruth that were out with me as I took blog shots and insisted that I include a picture of her.  Here she is...

Thursday, 10 April 2008

Alchemist not at Home

We went to the nearby village of Eygalière the other day. It's very chi-chi! Rumour has it that Brad and Anjelina and all the little orphans (the jolipitts?) have been looking at real estate there!

Eygalières sits at the base of the Alpilles, just to the East of St-Rémy-de-Provence and has fantastic views from the old village.

We were there to visit the Jardin de l'Alchemiste, but unfortunately it's not open for another month. However, I just found these pictures that I took there last July, so I thought I'd put them up instead...

I'm not sure of the purpose of this line of curtains, but it's very striking. I'd like to do something along these lines at our place as it's linear nature would suit our very rectilinear garden.

I'm not sure if we'll ever have a covered avenue, but one day I hope that our new pergolas will have a similar shady feel. I've been building the pergolas on and off for a few weeks now. One is finished, although it'll be a while until it's covered with the vines and creepers that I've planted. The other will have its cane roof added soon. Hopefully next week. Then, of course, I'll post pictures of them.

A water feature is a bit more of a pipe dream at the moment. (Pipe dream! Get it?)

Tuesday, 1 April 2008

Flower Carpet

At this time of years a small white flower, which looks a little like rocket, fills the olive groves and vineyards.

This particular olive grove is in Rasteau - between Orange and Vaison-la-Romaine - a village more famed for its sweet wine.