The popular son et lumière show at the Cathedral of Images near Les Baux de Provence has relaunched with a new name, the Quarries of Lights (Carrières de Lumières).
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The concept remains the same, however. This extraordinary site was once a bauxite quarry in the bowels of the awe-inspiring landscapes of the "Valley of Hell" that inspired Dante, Gounod and Cocteau.
The quarry has now become the backdrop to a breathtaking show that projects multiple images - 3,000 of them in the course of the 35 minute spectacle - on its ceiling, floor and huge rock walls, some of them as high as those of Notre Dame de Paris. New projection facilities have been installed to enhance the experience.
The show is created by a team led by Gianfranco Iannuzzi and changes yearly. The 2014 spectacle celebrates the richly decorative work of three Austrian artists and the revolutionary impact of the Secessionist movement, a Viennese variant of Art Nouveau.
Called Klimt et Vienne: Un Siècle d'or et de couleurs (A Century of Gold and Colours), it focusses on Gustav Klimt, famed for his gorgeously sensuous, glided paintings such as The Kiss, his edgier contemporary colleague Egon Schiele and the more recent, equally colourful Friedensreich Hundertwasser.
As usual there's a short film too: this year it's called Les Villes Invisibles (Invisible Cities) and explores visions of fantastical utopian cities. Until 4 January 2015.
The subject of the 2015 show at the Quarries of Lights has already been announced: it is the "Giants of the Renaissance." Leonardo da Vinci, Raphael and Michelangelo will be in the spotlight in a spectacle whose narrative will trace their careers from Milan to Florence, Venice and Rome.
After a two month break to prepare, the new show will run from 6 March to 3 January 2016. More details shortly.
Meanwhile our gallery above features images from the 2014 show (nos. 2 and 3); the 2013 show, Monet, Renoir... Chagall. Journeys around the Mediterranean (no. 4); the 2012 show Gauguin, Van Gogh, Painters of Colour (nos 5 and 6); and the accompanying short film that year, Metamorphosis, an impressionistic evocation of the natural world (nos, 7, 8 and 9). All images © G. Iannuzzi and M. Siccardi , except for images 1 and 10 of the Quarries themselves, which are © Culturespaces.
Note that during the a-part Festival of Contemporary Art in July, the Quarries open late on certain evenings to host free avant-garde light shows.
Where: Carrières de Lumières / Quarries of Lights, route de Maillane, 13520 Les Baux de Provence. Tel: (+33) 4 90 54 55 56. Les Baux is 15 km / 9 miles north-east of Arles and 30 km / 18 miles south of Avignon. The entrance to the Quarries is on the road at the foot of the village, 800 metres / half a mile from the Château des Baux. Website for the Quarries of Lights
The Quarries are open every day: April to September, 9.30am-7pm and October to January and March, 10am-6pm.
Each show consists of two films, a short and a "main feature". These last around 40 minutes in total and run on a continuous loop: there is a loose narrative, but you can enter and exit the show at any point, or stay to watch it several times over.
The entrance fee is 10 €uros for adults and 8 €uros for children aged 7-17, students, teachers and the unemployed. Entrance is free for children under seven and for the second child after two adult and one child tickets have been paid for. There is also a reduced price combination ticket for the Quarries of Lights and the Château des Baux.