A special treat today as Vivien drove to Les Baux de Provence, a rugged mountain citadel dating to pre-Roman times. There we went to a "spectacle" - the word used on signs - held inside a huge former limestone quarry.

After a quiet morning Vivien picked me up and we drove on a scenic route to Les Baux de Provence to see an unforgettable show based on the French artists Monet, Chagall, and Renoir on the theme "from inpressionism to Fauvism".  

On the way we stopped for lunch at a country roadhouse of a restaurant, habituated by local working people rather than the rich and famous, or the tourists one finds in Aix. The plat du jour was called aioli, which we know is garlicy mayonnaise. The aioli came in a redolent glob with a really strong flavor, accompanied by a fillet of a mild white fish, a boiled potato, a large carrot and green beans. The food was local (except the fish, which was from the Mediterranean), cooked to a turn, and delicious. Dessert was a small slice of lemon pie ("tarte au citron").

Onward to Les Baux. (Aluminum ore was discovered there, and was given the name "bauxite".) The town of Les Baux sits atop a craggy mountain, and from a distance, if you look closely, you can see the ruins of a fortification of some sort. We bypassed the road to the town and parked in front of the entrance to an ancient limestone quarry that had been mined through the mid-80s. 

When the quarries closed, what was left was a cavernous space of connected spaces having mostly smooth light-colored walls, completely enclosed except for the entrance.

Someone got a really inspired idea to use the entire space as a projection screen - ceilings and floors included. And a slew of projectors were installed, while the works of Monet, Chagall and Renoir were imaged and arranged (artistically, of course!) into a show that was simultaneously projected on all the available surfaces, accompanied by Debussy, Ravel and others. The projections moved in what is known as the Ken Burns effect - see this link for an explanation and demonstration. The experience was deeply emotional, and another day of my life which was totally different, greatly enriching, and unlikely to be repeated in this life.

A link to the show's website is here, but while it does give you a sense of the size of the place, the colors on the website were, I think, "enhanced" with Photoshop or equivalent. The only light in the space is that of the beautiful art work reflecting off the walls (and floors and ceilings). Simply stunning!

My photos, slightly enhanced, are below. Because of the low light they don't seem very sharp to me, but you can see the scale of the space and perhaps get a feel for the show. But really, you really had to be there.

À demain!