Monday, February 6, 2017

New Show Opens in Les Baux March 4

The Carrières de Lumières (Quarries of Light) is a magical space in a vast cave-like quarry at the base of the village of Les Baux. There in the cool darkness, close to 100 video projectors and 27 speakers generate the choreographed movement of 2,000 images over an area of more than 75,000 square feet, onto walls as high as 45 feet, onto the ceilings and even the floor. The sound-and-light show changes once a year and has become one of the most-popular sites in Provence. Since its opening in 2012, Les Carrières de Lumières has attracted more than 2.1 million visitors.

The 2016 show, Chagall: Midsummer Night's Dreams (March 4, 2016 to January 8, 2017) drew 540,000 visitors. In case you missed it, it will be shown again this summer as part of a program called Les Intégrales des Carrières; more on that appears below. (To see my story on the Chagall show, click here.)

The new show, called Bosch, Brueghel, Arcimboldo: Fantastique et Merveilleux , opens on March 4, 2017 and runs through January 7, 2018, exploring the “fantastic and wonderful” worlds painted by these Northern and Southern European 16th-century artists.

The first part of this "immersive art experience" is dedicated to Hieronymus Bosch; you’ll discover his emblematic triptychs and the characters that people his work. The next section is devoted to the Brueghel dynasty, portraying the countryside and the lives of its peasants. The third section plunges into the fantasy world of Arcimboldo, known best, of course, for whimsical, fantastical heads made of fruit and flowers.

The show lasts roughly 30 minutes and plays on a continuous loop. It’s accompanied by an eclectic soundtrack ranging from Carl Orff’s Carmina Burana to Antonio Vivaldi’s Four Seasons to Moussorgski to Led Zeppelin.

Also on view will be a six-minute film about "cinemagician" Georges Méliès, an early silent-film pioneer and master of special effects. Another short film, about Jean Cocteau, will be projected in the Salle Cocteau.

Once again, this summer the Carrières will reprise the last three shows on ten special evenings in July, August and September. Called "Les Intégrales des Carrières," these special 8:30 pm projections will allow visitors the chance to experience Klimt and Vienna, a Century of Gold and Colours (2014), Michelangelo, Leonardo da Vinci, Raphael: Giants of the Renaissance (2015) and Chagall: Midsummer Night's Dreams (2016). On each of these ten nights, you'll get to see all three shows. Tickets are 24€ and can be purchased here.

The Carrières de Lumières are located in the Val d’Enfer, a stone's throw from Les Baux. The quarries here first produced white limestone, used in the construction of the village of Les Baux and its château. In 1821, the aluminum ore bauxite was discovered here by geologist Pierre Berthier, who named it after the village. In 1935, economic competition from modern materials led to the quarries' closure. Dramatic and otherworldly looking, the area has inspired artists of all sorts; it provided the setting for Dante’s Divine Comedy and Gounod created his opera Mireille here. Later, Cocteau came to film The Testament of Orpheus in these very quarries.

Formerly known as the Cathedrale des Images, this particular quarry was closed in 2011 and re-opened (after a €2 million re-do) as the Carrières de Lumières the following year, under the management of Culturespaces. The Carrières du Val d’Enfer have been awarded Natural Monument status in France. 

For opening hours, prices, directions and more, click here

Route de Maillane  
13520 Les Baux de Provence 
Tel: +33 4 90 54 47 37

For general information including upcoming activities in Les Baux, click here.

Want to spend the night in a quarry? Sure you do! All the details on one very cool Luberon rental are here

Photos: (1, 2) Glimpses of the new show, which opens March 4. (3) The quarry in daylight. (4) Another section of the vast space is often lit beautifully for private parties and other events. (5) One of my favorite photos of the village of Les Baux, taken by Philippe Clairo.  


  1. Nice summary of the Carrières and I love your images of the new show! This is a must-see for anyone in the region - there's really nothing like it.

  2. I agree! It's a special & unique experience that's on our "Must see" list whenever we visit Provence.



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