Let there be light
RUNAWAY BAY, QUEENSLAND ON a recent trip around southern France, on one of the roads less travelled, we stumbled across Carrieres de Lumieres. This gem of an experience should be on every traveller’s bucket list.
It’s a light-and-sound spectacular based on the paintings of Claude Monet, Pierre-Auguste Renoir and Marc Chagall. We may all be used to visiting galleries to see famous works but Carrieres de Lumieres presents a very different way of viewing art.
The show takes place about 800m from Les Baux, a historic hilltop village in Provence. The site used to be a rock quarry and comprises about 15 rooms joined by corridors. These are not your usual rooms: they are spaces of massive dimensions (30m long, 20mwide and 30m high) that have remained untouched since the original quarrying days. The site was first used for artistic purposes as a film set by Jean Cocteau, the famous French director.
As we wandered freely around, the show began. Light spilled on to the walls, floors and ceilings. And with fabulous attention to detail, the perspective of the changing images was simply stunning. Monet’s Giverny waterlilies really seem to come to life at that size. And accompanying the visuals was a top-quality compilation soundtrack with contents ranging from orchestral music to New Orleans-style jazz. The overall experience was one of being totally enveloped but with complete freedom of movement.
One small piece of intrigue that still eludes my partner and me is that those watching Carrieres de Lumieres seem to be part of the show. Although the 30m-high images obviously dwarf all visitors, we appeared as silhouetted ants within the frames.
None of the images is projected on to the visitors. We all appeared totally black. Magic.
The show lasts about 90 minutes; it is on a continuous loop and patrons can remain as long as they wish. We stayed about three hours and loved it more and more.
This is really a classic experience and an instance of new thinking and technology being applied in the artistic sphere. It really was our best and most unexpected find during six weeks of touring. Send your 400-word contribution to Follow the Reader: travel@ theaustralian.com.au. Columnists receive an Aubecq frypan ($99.99) from the Evergreen Classic range of ceramic-based eco-cookware with non-stick coating. More: (02) 9662 3450; morganware.com.au; petersofkensington. com.au.