Monday, March 9, 2020

Dali and Gaudi Show Opens in Les Baux

The Carrières de Lumières (Quarries of Light) is a magical space in a vast cave-like quarry at the base of the hilltop village of Les Baux de Provence. There in the cool darkness, 100 video projectors and 30 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 and onto the floor. The sound-and-light show changes once a year and is one of the most-popular, most-visited sites in Provence.  Since its opening in 2012, the Carrières de Lumières has attracted close to 4 million visitors.

The program features an artist or group of artists, usually--but not always--with a connection to Provence. Last year’s show, Van Gogh: Starry Night, retraced the intense life of the tormented Dutch painter Vincent Van Gogh (1853–1890), who during the last ten years of his life, painted more than 2,000 canvasses. The show ran from March 1, 2019 to January 5, 2020 and attracted 760,000 visitors.

The same show was also on view at the Atelier des Lumieres in Paris, the sister venue to the Carrières de Lumières,  which opened in 2018. The Paris venue currently has Monet, Renoir...Chagall: Journeys Around the Mediterranean, on view until January 3, 2021.

There’s also digital art venue called the Bunker de Lumières  in South Korea (who knew?). You can learn about that one here. They’re running the Van Gogh show until October 25, 2020.

A fourth venue called Bassins de Lumieres will open on April 17 month in Bordeaux, with shows featuring Gustav Klimpt and Paul Klee. The €10 million project, ongoing since 2018, comprises four basins in an old submarine base, one of five major structures built by German forces during the World War II. (The others were located at Brest, Lorient, Saint-Nazaire and La Rochelle.) The massive bunker is considered an essential part of Bordeaux’s cultural and historic landscape. For the history of the base and lots more info, click here.

Like the Carrières de Lumières in Les Baux, the Paris, South Korea and Bordeaux venues are operated by Culturespaces, which manages many of France’s leading monuments, museums and art centers.

And now after a two-month closure, the  Carrières de Lumières in Les Baux launched its new show on Friday March 5. Called Dali: The Endless Enigma, it encompasses more than 60 years in the career of the Catalan master. From his initial Impressionist- and Cubist-inspired works to his mystical works with religious themes and his surrealistic period, it also incorporates elements of his work in the theater, photography and cinema. Saw it and loved it!

The show is set to the music of Pink Floyd, with tracks from The Dark Side of the Moon and The Wall, “plunging visitors into a soaring, peaceful and troubling world.” I’ve always felt that the sundtrack plays a huge part in the enjoyment of the Carrières shows.  In this particular case, the show’s producers say that setting the exhibit to the music of this legendary band “will take visitors on a timeless journey that awakes the subconscious and buried thoughts in which the Dali oeuvre remains a mystery and an endless enigma.” The Dali show runs until January 3, 2021. 

As in years past, the main program is followed by a shorter one. This year it’s Gaudi: The Architect of the Imaginary, paying tribute to the limitless creativity and modernist buildings of architect Antonio Gaudí, a great source of inspiration for Dalí. To the sound of Gershwin, the Parc Güell, the Casa Batlló, the Casa Milà and the Sagrada Família will come alive “reflecting the spiritual illumination of the artist, who succeeded in giving the abstract artistic form.” For a video of the Gaudi show, click here

The Dali and Gaudi show runs until January 3, 2021. 

If you’ve never been to the Carrières de Lumières, you wander at leisure around the vast, dark, cool indoor space. The stone floors are somewhat uneven so if you’re unsteady, you might bring a cane. There are stone benches for those who want them and you can stay as long as you like. The show plays on a continuous loop and lasts just under an hour. As you exit, there’s a small but interesting shop selling books and other items pertaining to the history of Provence, Les Baux and the Carrieres. A cafe is open from 10:30 to 5:30 daily. 

The Carrières de Lumières are located in the Val d’Enfer, a stone's throw from the hilltop village of Les Baux. The quarries here first produced white limestone, used in the construction of the village and its château. In 1821, 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. The Carrières du Val d’Enfer have been awarded Natural Monument status in France. 

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. For a look at all the shows since then, click here.

The Carrières de Lumières is open seven days a week. Hours are as follows: 

March : 9:30 am - 6 pm. 
April, May, June, Sept and Oct: 9:30 am - 7 pm.
July & Aug: 9 am - 7:30 pm
Nov, Dec, Jan : 10 am - 6 pm
Last entry is always one hour before closing.

As in years past, you can just show up at the Carrières and pay your admission fee then. But to avoid long lines in season, they suggest you buy tickets online here.  You can also buy them ahead at the Carrières ticket office or at all FNAC stores. Adult tickets to the Carrières are €13, seniors (65 and up) are €12; reduced rate for students is €11, and kids under 7 are free. There are also family rates and combined-visit prices (for the Carrières, the Chateau des Baux and the Musée Yves Brayer) on the website, along with background, directions and much more. 

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

Photos: (1, 2) Poster and video clip for the Dali show. (3, 4) Two stills from the show. (5)  The old bauxite quarry in daylight; the geologist who first discovered aluminum ore here named it after the village.  (6) One section of the vast space is lit beautifully for private parties and other events. I took this photo at the launch party on Thursday night. (7) One of my favorite photos of the village of Les Baux, taken by Philippe Clairo. (8, 9) At the Atelier des Lumières in Paris, the show "Monet, Renoir...Chagall," opened February 28. (10) A fourth venue --in Bordeaux--will open on April 17 in a World War II submarine basin. The main show at the Bassins de Lumières will feature the works of Gustav Klimt, followed by a shorter one about Paul Klee. 

Tuesday, February 25, 2020

Big Châteauneuf Wine Fest April 3 to 5

The weekend wine festival called Printemps de Châteauneuf-du-Pape, now in its 11th year, is a festive rite of spring here in the South of France; everyone just calls it Printemps. This year it's Friday to Sunday, April 3 to 5. More than 100 domaines and châteaux will be pouring...a great opportunity to meet local producers while tasting their latest releases and a few smashing older vintages. It’s also an easy way to buy the wines you love, some of them normally quite difficult to get. I'm told roughly 300 wines will be featured. Entry to the main tasting salon is normally 10€ per person but if you book online (with the code below) you'll pay just 2€. You're welcome!

Each year the Printemps festival invites special guests from other regions and this time it's a group of Italian winemakers known as the Barolo Boys.

This year, the festival is launching a new eco initiative.  For example: no more plastic water bottles; instead, you’ll fill empty wine bottles with filtered water from a fountain.  Plus, no more paper tickets: it’s online ticketing only (or pay at the door). All wine corks and caps will be recycled and there will be a Facebook group for carpooling (great idea).

As in years past, there will be special tasting workshops (called Master Classes or Les Ateliers Dégustation). These require an additional fee and must be booked in advance. You can see this year's offerings 
here but sign up early as they always sell out.  As of this writing, two were sold out but five were still available. Note some workshops may be in different locations than the festival itself. 

Eighty-two years ago, Châteauneuf was designated as one of the very first AOCs (Appellations d'Origine Contrôlée) in France.  The AOC decree was first created by Pierre Le Roy de Boiseaumarié (aka baron Le Roy), a winemaker at Châteauneuf-du-Pape (Château Fortia). The first year, there were five villages named: Châteauneuf, Monbazillac, Arbois, Cassis and TavelAnd as the European designation AOP (Appellation d’Origine Protégée) is slowly replacing the French AOC for agricultural products, you can expect to see more AOP on wine labels in the months to come.

Les Printemps is organized by by The Young Winemakers Association of Châteauneuf-du-Pape and takes place at the Salle Dufays on the Place de la Renaissance. Hours are 4 pm to 8 pm (Friday), 10 am to 7 pm (Saturday) and 10 am to 6 pm (Sunday). 

Entry to the salon is 10€ per person per day; you can pay at the door.  Or better yet, you can book online using a special code the festival gave me. With this code your entry to the salon is free and you pay just 2€ for your glass. Go to the ticketing page here and plug in the code PROVENCEPOST when asked.

As in years past, there will be free parking and food available on site. Please note there’s no play area for kids this year.

A list of all participating domaines is here. And of course you can follow the festival on Facebook  and Instagram. Hope to see you at Les Printemps!

Tuesday, February 11, 2020

Painting Holidays in Provence 2020

Many of my readers and travel-planning clients ask about painting workshops in Provence...and I've found some wonderful instructors happy to give half- and full-day lessons. (See some here.) But if you'd like something more comprehensive, you might consider a trip devoted mostly or entirely to painting. (Sounds like heaven, no?) Most of these painting holidays last about a week but some are as short as three nights; lodging ranges from rustic to highly refined. They happen all over the South of France, in spring, summer and fall. So once again I've gathered a selection for you, chosen because they're either led by painters I know and admire, or are recommended by people I trust, or they look really promising online. I've also included a few in the Languedoc (or Occitanie, as it’s now called).

For those of you who’ve never painted or haven’t painted in years...or who’ve never traveled with a group of strangers...or are nervous about spending the money...or nervous about’s a quick anecdote.

My first trip to Provence was to take a two-week photography workshop here, in 1997. Not only was it a fantastic experience but it led to a total life that I had no idea I was looking for. Over the course of the following year or so, I quit my long-time job as an editor in New York, ended a long-term relationship (he had it coming anyway), started a freelance writing career, sublet my NYC apartment, rented a house in St. Remy and took off. I spoke no French, had never dreamed of living in France and knew just a couple people here, just barely. It was meant to be an escapade, a little break from real life, but very quickly I realized it was the smartest stupid thing I’ve ever done. Twenty years on, I’m happier here than ever...and it would never have happened had I not grabbed the last spot in that workshop way back when. So carpe diem! Life is short, you never know and you totally deserve this!

For questions about any of the workshops below, please contact the organizer or instructor directly. And definitely book soon...the best ones fill up quickly. If you’re leading a painting holiday in Provence or have one to recommend that’s not listed here, drop me an email:

Here’s this year’s list...

* British artist Julian Merrow-Smith has lived and worked in Provence for more 20 years. I think his work is exquisite and so do the thousands of people who follow his "Postcard from Provence" daily painting project. In 2020, he'll be offering six painting getaways with his wife Ruth Phillips, a writer and musician...but space is limited and some are already full. Workshops are available in the May poppy season, July for the lavender fields and in September and October when many think Provence is at its best. All materials and supplies are included.  The group stays in a lovely 14th-century manor house in the countryside at the foot of Mont Ventoux.  Prices range from $2190 (for simple shared accommodation) to $4050 for deluxe master bedrooms, double occupancy; the single supplement is $500. Evening meals are accompanied by fine Côtes du Rhône wines and all meals are prepared by an award-winning Irish chef.  “Apart from delicious food and wine there are no frills to this workshop," Julian says. "We usually visit one of the local markets; otherwise the week is all about painting—talking, living and breathing it together. Our aim, above all, is to give you the experience of living the painter's life in the south of France.",

* The watercolor artist Tessa Baker, originally from London, is one of the most popular instructors in Provence, where she's lived full time since 1985. Tessa currently has space on the following trips: Provence in Spring (April 18-25); Venasque, Roussillon and Les Baux (June 20 -27, Sept 5-12, Sept 19-26) and Seville, Spain (Oct 10-17). "Painting is a joyful moment in time so I encourage students enjoy, laugh, have fun, create," she says. "It seems to work very well!" Provence guests stay in a 17th-century country manor--between St. Didier and Venasque--that’s been in the same family for 10 generations, set in the middle of vineyards, olive groves and cherry orchards, with Mont Ventoux in the distance. “It’s a perfect villa for a painting trip,” Tessa says. Day trips during the “Venasque, Roussillon...” class visit the Carrieres des Lumieres in Les Baux, the ochre cliffs of Roussillon (with a lesson at an old ochre-processing plant), paint in olive groves, and visit to local villages and markets. For the “Provence in Spring” trip guests stay in Lorgues, visiting the Gorges de Verdon, the nearby pottery village of Moustier Saint Maries, the medieval village of Tourtour and a modern-art sculpture park. Everyone loves the carriage ride with a huge cart horse named Volcon, only one of six in France. Meals are splendid picnics or are served at home, in the shade of Linden trees. The workshop chef is known for healthful, seasonal Mediterranean meals.

* The ArtisTTable retreat in May is already sold out but they’re offering a second Provence painting trip October 4 to 11. You'll visit and paint the sites around Arles that so inspired Vincent Van Gogh...and the sites around Aix and near Mont Sainte-Victoire that captivated Paul Cézanne for years. Your hosts will be Royce Deans and Tali Farchi of ArtisTTable Art Retreats; this is their fifth painting workshop in the area.  Along the way you'll hear fascinating tales from the lives of Van Gogh and Cézanne, while getting encouragement and instruction. "This trip will take your plein-air painting experience to a whole new level," the instructors say.  Cost: $2100 pp single, or $1950 pp if you register before April 30.,

* The Atelier Provence & Barcelona Art Tour 2020 (June 27-July 8) combines a 7-day painting workshop in the Alpes-de-Haute-Provence with a 4-day art-history tour in Barcelona. It is a great opportunity to paint in plein-air (lavender fields, ochre cliffs, Mont St. Victoire, etc.), to learn art history and art theory, to visit Barcelona’s fabulous architecture and art museums; and to enjoy famous Provencal and Catalan cuisine and wines.  Visit Cézanne’s studio, Gaudi’s Sagrada Familia, the Picasso and the Miró Museums and more. The tour is sponsored by Walk The Arts, which has been hosting workshops in Italy, France, Spain and South America since 1997. Price: $2880 includes art instruction, 11-night double accommodation (7 in Provence, 4 in Barcelona), most meals, all ground transport including high-speed train Avignon to Barcelona and entry to all museums and sites.,

* Fiona and Jean-Louis Diaz are an Australian-French couple, based in the historical village of Jouques, just 30 minutes north of Aix. They run Artelier Provence--a fine-art gallery and studio--offering one-day drawing and painting workshops as well as four-day retreats. Retreats include five nights lodging so you have time to experience village life in Provence. Lessons take place in both village and rural settings, in and around Jouques. Jean-Louis is an accomplished artist whose practice in Provence enables him to extend his passion for color and luminosity while exploring his passion for encaustic medium. This summer they’ll host two retreats. The first, Drawing and Painting, is June 16 to 19. The second, Painting with Oil Encaustic, is June 23 to 26. Other dates may also be available; see their site and inquire.,
* Jill Steenhuis is an Atlanta-born visual artist who has lived in Aix since 1980. She earned her BFA at Sweet Briar College and, following graduation, enrolled in The Leo Marchutz School of Painting and Drawing in Aix, which follows in the tradition of Cézanne. Jill works directly from nature, en plein-air. In addition to leading Cezanne and Van Gogh walking tours for American museums and art lovers, Jill offers week-long oil painting workshops in the Provencal countryside for all ability levels. Workshops are designed for both confirmed painters and beginners, focusing on experiencing nature through the senses and encouraging each student to "bring out his own inner poetry.” 2020 dates are May 22-30,  June 19-27 and Sept 11-19. Price: $4,900 double or triple; $5,250 single. This year Jill will also lead a number of two-day workshops while  on tour in the US.

Workshops in France is running six painting trips in Provence in 2020, staying in three château-based locations. Retreats are uninstructed; workshops  have artist/instructors. Retreats (open to all media and levels) combine artistic immersion with daily painting sessions in private vineyards, small fishing ports, charming villages, markets, and on the Van Gogh trail in St Rémy. Click here for details. A 10-day retreat (June 24-July 4), in the Luberon near Aix, is designed for those who want to paint during lavender season; another  7-day retreat follows here July 12-18. Then there are four 10-day workshops with master instructors, in early May, June, and September.  Americans in Paris Paint Provence (May 6-15) will be hosted by five leading artists; everyone stays at Moulin de la Roque, an historic estate between St. Rémy and Avignon, with a mill, river and beautiful grounds. Guests learn from each artist, focusing on landscapes, figures, portrait painting, composition and more.  Later in May (May 24-June 2), Susan Lyon will teach portraits and figure painting at the same location, joined by painter Scott Burdick. A workshop with Rose Frantzen is Sept 16-25. Finally, Joseph Zbukvic, the Australian watercolorist, will host a workshop at another château near Avignon (Sept. 2-11).  Non-painting partners will find plenty to do and are welcome in all workshops and retreats. Day students and drop-ins are welcome, pending availability.

In the Languedoc/Occitanie

*At their Academy Studios Abroad, Tod Ramos and Kate Lovegrove lead workshops in a beautiful village in the Gard, not far from the Camargue, using their grand village house as home base. Offerings for 2020 include: * Tour de Horse (May 18-29), a master class on the fundamental anatomy of the horse and the principles of its movement and form. * The Lifesaver Course (June 21-July 4): drawing and painting the model from life, in movement and repose, for both nude and traditional portraiture. * Portrait Painting with Models (July 20-31): positioning and composition; background and lighting; engaging the sitter; drawing in different media and painting oils.  As with all the courses, color and pigment theory, preparation of drawing and painting media are included. * Generation Art (Aug 20-24) is a five-day holiday course for kids ages 6 to 14 and their parents. * Zen and the Art of Landscape Painting, with Hatha Yoga (Aug 31-Sept 11): paint and draw en plein air with tutoring in both topographical and natural landscapes; the course may also include interior painting and still life. Plus, there's yoga in the morning and evening.

Painting in France is hosted by English artist Simon Roberts and his South African wife Monica. This year there’s a new flexible mix of 3, 5 and 8 day all-inclusive painting holidays, in May/June and September/October. Prices start $1285 pp,sharing a twin or double. Simon guides you through sketching and watercolor techniques in a variety of locations, rom Mediterranean lagoons and ports to ancient villages and vineyards. Groups are seven students max so there’s plenty of personal attention. Beginners are welcome and all equipment and materials are supplied. When you’re not being wined and dined in local restaurants, Monica, an excellent cook, prepares chic picnics among the vines and delicious meals from local suppliers in the couple's courtyard garden.

* Sketching Holidays in southern France with Annette Morris take place in a variety of locations, from 3 to 7 nights. Ideal for single travelers, these short breaks are great if you’re new to sketching, or a more experienced watercolorist looking to loosen up your style. Annette is British but has lived and worked in France for 12 years; she's completely dedicated to helping her students discover French life like a local, while helping you learn to capture the essence of it in your sketchbook day to day. Workshops may include cooking, wine-tasting and private cruises on the Canal du Midi; special dates can be arranged for groups if you're traveling with friends. "My short-stay holidays take place in carefully selected B&Bs, private luxury apartments or château with private pools," Annette says. "Your holiday sketchbook will contain wonderful memories to treasure forever."

* Sketching for Foodies is hosted by Anne de Ravel, a food writer, cookbook author and former producer at Food Network in New York.  Through her company Saveur Languedoc, Anne (a native Languedocienne!) leads food-and-wine tours of this lovely region located to the south and west of Provence. The Languedoc is know for lush vineyards, richly historic cities, beautiful Mediterranean beaches, stunning mountain trails and, of course, the world-famous Canal du Midi. Anne returned from the US, to live here full time, in 2007.  Sketching for Foodies,  a 4-night holiday, adds joyful sketching sessions to Anne's popular mix of cooking classes, food and wine touring, tastings and more. Sketching is led by Annette Morris (see just above), while Anne takes care of the rest.  From your charming B&B in Quarante, you'll travel through some of the most-picturesque places and discover the area with an insider. You'll meet artisan producers and sample rustic traditional foods; you’ll lunch in restaurants loved by locals. And along the way, you'll become a skillful sketcher. Dates: June 14-18, October 7-11.  Price: From 605€ pp in a double. For info: click here or here or email to:

Photos: (1) Feeling the lavender love on a painting holiday with Workshops in France. (2) Yep, that's a real horse in the studio for an Academy Studios Abroad workshop. Meet him yourself in this year's Tour de Horse workshop in May.  (3, 4)  Two paintings by Julian Merrow-Smith: "November Roses" and "Clementines in a Blue Bowl." (5, 6) Julian's students stay in a Provençal manor house on 180 acres of vines and woodland at the foot of Mont Ventoux. Julian calls the location "an ideal place to relax and draw on your creative energy." (7-9) By artist Jill Steenhuis: "Platane Trees at Chateau des Alpilles." Jill lives in Aix and will teach three painting workshops this year. Jill's painting "Activity in the Port of Cassis." (10) Tessa Baker will host a number of workshops this year where students visit and paint the striking ochre cliffs in Roussillon. (11, 12) Two of Tessa's paintings. (13) Meals in Tessa's workshops are fresh, colorful, healthful and Mediterranean inspired. (14, 15) Sign on for a workshop with the ArtisTTable and you'll see Cezanne's studio in Aix and the typical "gardian's cabins" of the Camargue.  (16-18) Walk the Arts offers workshops that combine Provence and Spain. You'll paint at Cezanne's famous Mont St. Victoire, then zip off to Barcelona for the Boqueria food market, Gaudi's famous Sagrada Familia and more. (19) Fiona and Jean-Louis Diaz are an Australian-French couple based 30 minutes north of Aix. They run Artelier Provence and will host two four-night retreats this year. (20) A student in an Artelier Provence workshop. (21) Teaching color theory at Artelier Provence. (22-24) With Workshops in France: painting the hilltop village of Gordes, in St. Remy and in Cucuron. (25, 26) A poppy painting by instructor Jane Hunt, who taught this gang at Workshops in France in 2019. (27) Students at Academy Studios Abroad stay in this historic private home in Aubais, in the foothills of the Cevennes mountains. (28) Painting nudes with Academy Studios Abroad. (29) A visit to the Musee Fabre in Montpellier with Academy Studios Abroad. (30-33) Simon and Monica Roberts of Painting in France have lived and worked in the Languedoc since 2011. After breakfast, you may head to the ancient Mediterranean port of Marseillan and spend the morning sketching and painting. You'll stay in a renovated village house (perhaps this one) or in a local chateau. (34, 35) A sketch by Annette Morris, done as a workshop demo; here Annette teaches upside down so students can easily see her working. (36) Anne de Ravel (far right) organizes food and wine trips in the Languedoc. She's teamed up with Annette Morris to offer "Sketching for Foodies" twice this year. Anne previously worked for Food Network and the New York Times, before returning home to her native France.

Thursday, January 23, 2020

Love Antiquing? Want to Be on TV?

I just received the following email which sounds like a really fun opportunity for one of you...or perhaps for someone you know? 

Dear Julie,

I love your blog and thought you might be able to help...

We are Purple Productions, part of All3Media Group, based in the UK. We've recently been commissioned by BBC 1 Daytime to produce a brand new antiques programme/pilot.

The aim of the programme would be to help expat British homeowners who have finished restoring/renovating--or are in the process of renovating--an amazing property in Provence.  The idea is to have an experienced antiques dealer help them find beautiful objects and furniture to add the finishing touches to their homes.

This is a pilot and if filming goes well and the channel is happy, it will be commissioned as a series.

As it’s a pilot we can help with some of the costs but in the series it will be the homeowners who’ll be paying for the actual items. What the programme will offer is the expert advice and invaluable contacts of our dealers, to get the homeowners not just incredible items but hopefully at very competitive prices. They'll be using all their knowledge and contacts to get our homeowners the best deals!

Ideally we'd like a full-time resident in Provence but part time will work long as they're British.

We hope that filming for the pilot will take place in late February and early March, in the Avignon/Provence region. 

We need to find just one homeowner soon to hit our schedule and really appreciate any help you can offer! Do you know anyone who might want to take part in this BBC 1 pilot? If so we’d love to hear from them. They can contact us at:

Many Thanks,

Dympna Jackson
Creative Director
Purple Productions / Objective Media Group North

Photo: Courtesy of Cachepot Brocante via Instagram

Wednesday, December 18, 2019

Must See in the Luberon: Mathieu Lustrerie

Ever since I visited them roughly two years ago, I've been wanting to blog about Mathieu Lustrerie, a one-of-a-kind lighting atelier in Gargas, in the heart of the Luberon. They design and create the most elegant, distinctive, remarkable lighting...and repair chandeliers for royal palaces, prestigious hotels, spectacular private residences and clients such as the Louvre, the Elysée Palace and Versailles. The showroom is open to the public; they also have a lighting museum with rotating exhibits and pieces dating to the 15th century. While the on-site workshop is not open to the public, you can watch the meticulous goings-on through large windows. And it's all located in a re-purposed 19th-century ochre processing facility with many original architectural elements intact. This place is so special! But for one reason or another, I just haven't been able to get the story done. And then last week, I saw that another blogger, Deborah MacNeill, had done an exquisite story about it, calling owner Regis Mathieu "possibly the world’s premier creator, collector and restorer of magnificent chandeliers and lighting artworks" and illustrating her piece with gorgeous, original photos. So I reached out to her and asked if, rather than write my own story, I could just share hers with you...and she replied immediately mais oui

A Canadian commercial and editorial photographer, Deborah first came to Provence with her husband Arnold in January 2013 "in search of sun and inspiration"--both of which they found in abundance in the Luberon. That November, the couple bought an 18th-century mas in the small hamlet of Saint Véran, just outside Goult. Originally named Villa Goult, they re-christened it "Mas Belle Source" for the freshwater springs on the property which have fed their fountain for more than three centuries. 

"As our dream of Provence has taken shape," Deborah tells me, "we've had such pleasure improving the property, gardens and décor with antiques and ideas we find in the treasure troves of Provence–its lively fairs, brocante markets and ubiquitous vide greniers." Today the couple splits their time between Vancouver, B.C. and Provence. They typically spend spring, fall and winter in the Luberon...and welcome guest rentals at Mas Belle Source from June to September. Read more about the house here and see all the rental info here.

Deborah's blog, Provence by Design, was launched in 2013 and celebrates her passion for beautiful homes, talented artists, gardens, food and the Provencal lifestyle. Her latest project is a book inspired by creative women in Provence titled Les Lubertines; she expects to finish it this summer. As one would expect, the blog and the book are both heavily illustrated with Deborah's luscious photography. 

“I've always sought to use photography as narrative--to tell a story," she says. "It's a joyful way to explore the world. As an anonymous sage once said: 'To write about it (or photograph it) is to live life twice.' We have something wonderful and completely out of our predictable lives happen to us every day in Provence that contributes to my work. Living here has rekindled and continuously inspires our creative souls. We are bewitched!"

To see Deborah's story about Mathieu Lustrerie, click here.  

To inquire about renting Mas Belle Source, click here

You can follow Deborah on Instagram here and then subscribe to--or follow--her blog with the links that follow every post. 

To contact her directly: 

Photos: (1) Regis Mathieu and (2) his chandelier called A Cube, made of rock crystal and amethyst, produced in a limited edition of 8. These two photos courtesy of Mathieu Lustrerie; all other photos courtesy of Deborah MacNeill. (3) The workshop produces “the art of light in all its facets" for royal palaces, prestigious hotels and spectacular private yours! (4) Fitting polished fins together on a chandelier for a Russian client. (5, 6) In the museum, a chinoiserie cabinet and glittering antique chandeliers. (7) This sculptural "astrolabe" lamp made of black rock crystal was one of my favorites when I visited. (8) In the workshop. (9) The intricate task of wiring. (10) Deborah photographed in the museum. (11) A lamp designed to resemble a sea urchin. (12-14) At Deborah's home Mas Belle Source, the main entry, the dining room and the en suite bedroom called "La Rose."  (15) Deborah at home in Provence.


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