Wednesday, July 16, 2014

Foodie Films and BBQ at Château La Coste

For the third year, the "starchitect" winery Château La Coste, 10 minutes north of Aix, is presenting its summer outdoor film series.  This year all four films celebrate the theme of gastronomy. Each evening before the screening, a barbecue will be available along with salads, cheese and ice cream...accompanied by wines from the domain of course.  

On film days, the winery's restaurant will be open normal hours for lunch but for dinner there will be the special barbecue menu only.
If you're interested in wine, design, sculpture or architecture--or simply enjoy experiencing very unusual and beautiful places--a visit to La Coste is a must. This gorgeous 600-acre wine domaine has a large visitors center designed by world-famous architect Tadao Ando, plus numerous installations and buildings crafted by other luminaries such as Jean Nouvel and Frank Gehry.  

While the newest incarnation of Château la Coste is just a year old, there's been agriculture and winemaking here as far back as Roman times. On the property are cobbled Gallo-Roman pathways, dry stone walls, bridges, underground wells...and the vestiges of an intricate watering system currently undergoing restoration. Between the rows of vines, mixed in with the sandy limestone soil, workers have found fragments of amphores which the Romans used to transport their wine and varnished fragments of the cups from which they drank. Today the property is blanketed with forests of green and white oaks, meadows of almond trees and broad swaths of wildflowers, plus 250 acres of meticulously tended vines. A lovely Venetian villa in a rosy pink hue has stood here since 1682.

It was in 2004 that the current owners decided to transform the domaine into a place where art, architecture, wine and the terrain would blend seamlessly. The idea had already been successful in the Basque city of Álava, headquarters of Vinos del Marqués de Riscal, where Frank Gehry was commissioned to build a hotel. Here in France, the Irish owners of Château La Coste expanded on that idea, inviting artists and architects from all over the world to visit, explore and find a place upon the estate that inspired them to create. Other artists with work on view include Alexander Calder, Michael Stipe, Louise Bourgeous, Andy Goldsworthy, Richard Serra, Paul Matisse and many others.  

The newest installation at Château La Coste is "Self Portrait: Cat Inside a Barrel" by Tracey Emin. Coming next is artwork by Lee Ufan. But the big news is that Château La Coste will soon begin construction on a hotel. The architect is Tangram Architects (Marseille); it will most likely have 16 villas and 29 rooms. Construction is expected to take two years. 

To see the major features of the property, plan for a two-hour stroll with some gravel and gentle hills. 

The property is open for self-guided visits year round (you'll be provided with a map) while guided visits in French and English are available by reservation.  Visits to the Jean Nouvel-designed winery (the ''chai") are also available in both languages. Info and admission prices can be found on the website here.

Ok so back to the movies. Here's the schedule:
July 26: Sideways (with French subtitles).

August 2: Babette's Feast (French subtitles).

August 9: The Scent of Green Papaya (French subtitles).

August 16: La Femme du Boulanger (Original Version, in French).
Practical Info:  
*The barbecue is from 7 to 9 pm. 
*Films start at 9:30 pm. 
*Movie tickets are 8€ per person. 
*Reservations are recommended : call 04 42 61 92 92 or email: To buy tickets online, click here
*Also recommended: Bring a shawl for warmth as this is a fully open-air projection. If you come for the film only, you might want to bring a cushion or chair...or you'll be sitting on the grass. If you come for dinner first, you can use that chair for the movie. 
*In case of rain: Movies will be cancelled.

Chateau La Coste 
2750 Route de la Cride
Le Puy Sainte Reparade, France
04 42 61 89 98
GPS coordinates: on the website
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  1. This is a gorgeous place, and it's always a pleasure to enjoy food, art and wine in Provence. Show up early for the guided tour of the property! You'll see lots of things you wouldn't have noticed otherwise and get the background on the artists' thinking about each piece.



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