Closed for over a year, the hugely popular son et lumière show at the Cathedral of Images, near Les Baux de Provence in the Alpilles, reopened in 2012 under new management and 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.
As in previous years, the show is created by a team led by Gianfranco Iannuzzi and changes yearly. The 2013 spectacle at the Quarries of Lights is called Monet, Renoir... Chagall. Voyages en Méditerranée (Journeys around the Mediterranean).
Part of the programme for Marseille-Provence 2013 European Capital of Culture, it takes the Mediterranean as its theme and explores how the great sea's luminous colours, from the Spanish border to the Italian Riviera, have attracted painters throughout the 19th and 20th centuries.
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In the second half of the 19th century - eased by the opening up of the PLM train line between Paris and Marseille - very many artists left the North behind, attracted by the light of the South. The 2012 show at the Quarries of Lights looked at how this very journey changed the art of Paul Gauguin and Vincent van Gogh, who briefly shared a house in Arles in 1888, and the claustrophobic, turbulent relationship between these two firey men.
The 2013 spectacle develops this theme while casting its net much more widely. It follows the evolution from Impressionism to Modernism over two centuries through 16 artists who lived and worked at different spots along the coast from the Spanish border to the Italian Riviera, including Collioure, L'Estaque, Cassis, Saint Tropez, Nice and the Côte d'Azur.
Among the artists featured are the 18th century painter Joseph Vernet, Monet, Renoir, Signac, Derain, Matisse, Bonnard, Dufy and Chagall.
Pictured above: an image from the new 2013 show at the Quarries of Lights, in which the sea seems to lap around the visitor's feet. Pictured left: an image from Dreams, a new seven-minute short film which plays between the "main feature" in 2013.
Our gallery at the top of the page is a selection of images from the 2012 show Gauguin, Van Gogh, Painters of Colour and the accompanying short film that year, Metamorphosis, an impressionistic evocation of the natural world. All images © G. Iannuzzi and M. Siccardi , except for images 1 and 10 in the slide gallery, which are © Culturespaces.
Note, too, 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.
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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 from the Château des Baux. Website for the Quarries of Lights
The Quarries are open every day: March to September, 9.30am-7pm and October to January, 10am-6pm. Monet, Renoir... Chagall. Voyages en Méditerranée (Journeys around the Mediterranean) plays from 8 March to 5 January 2014.
The short film and "main feature" 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 €9.5 for adults and €7.5 for children aged 7-17, students, teachers and the unemployed. Entrance is free for children under seven and 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.