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...


  1. What great photos! (not of Debbie). How did you take the photos of the film? We tried it and got blank walls. Mopa

  2. Dear Guy nd Lindsey
    I haven't looked at the blog for a while so was surprised to see the wonderful photos. It's cold and wet here so they brought some sunshine to my life! Look forward to visiting sometime to share a bottle of wine in the pergola.

    Love Tot

  3. I dont remember insisting on a photo- certainly not that one !!
    otherwise lovely pictures of french frogginess most of which Ive been lucky enough to enjoy for real this year- thank you again for your outstanding hospitality
    Incidentally when are the silver party images (suitably vetted) being posted ?