Carrières de Lumières spectacular multimedia show

“A light and sound show?” I asked with a hint of disdain. Gail turned her gaze to me and began to describe Carrières de Lumières display “It’s like art projections in a quarry, combined with music. Look, I don’t want to give too much away, but you have to go. You won’t regret it,” he added. I was in Avalon Rhône River Cruise Lyon to Port St. Louis, and I hadn’t signed up for any excursions that day. Gail, the cruise director, had assured me that there were spots left on various excursions, but she was sure I would want the Carrières de Lumières excursion. “You’ll also enjoy the walk before the show,” he added. I’ve been very impressed with these eight-day cruise excursions, so I thought this excursion would be no different. “Okay, sign me up.”

A view from the Alpine raid.

Hiking in the Alpilles

The drive from Arles to Le Beau-de-Provence ( map ) at the site of the Carrier de Lumiere was certainly scenic. We passed rice fields (this is the “rice bowl” of France, the guide explained) and picturesque villages, and as we approached the hills of Les Beaux or Alpillesthe landscape changed to dense pine forests, interrupted by high limestone outcrops.

Photo of Alpilles Provence
Alpine view. Can you spot the opening square of hills in the middle of the photo? It’s the Carrières de Lumières.

We stopped at the entrance to the Carrières de Lumières and I wondered where the stone quarry was. Our guide took us into the forest and up the hill. At a certain point he stopped, pointed to the ground and said: My interest was certainly piqued now.

View of the valley and the Alps.

Views of Les Baux-de-Provence

We continued up the hill and the stunning views of forested hills slowly unfolded. Along the way, I kept catching scents of rosemary, thyme, oregano, and lavender. This was definitely a fragrant hike. We reached a lookout point with amazing views Les Baux-de-Provence, one of the most beautiful villages in France. This medieval village is perched rather precariously on a hillside and is topped by the imposing ruins of a castle.

les baux de provence scene
Spectacular view of Les Baux.
A hike in Les Beaux-De-Provence or the Alpine hills.

From this point we continued hiking for 1.5 hours around the hills before slowly making our way back to the entrance to the Carrières de Lumières.

My excitement grew as we lined up to enter the quarry. I didn’t really know what to expect, but the idea of ​​seeing a light and sound show inside a mountain sure sounded extraordinary. I just hoped I wouldn’t feel claustrophobic in there.

The door opened and we entered the quarry. I took a breath. In front of me was a cavernous space with massive walls and giant stone pillars.

Photo of Carrières de Lumières quarry
Inside the Les Grands Fonds quarry

I later found out that this quarry called Les Grands Fondsopened in 1800. Its stone was used to develop villages and towns in the region until it closed in 1935. Abandoned, the site quickly became popular among artists.

In 1959, Jean Cocteau filmed “The Testament of Orpheus” inside the quarry. In 2012, the Carrières de Lumières opened with an exhibition of works by Van Gogh and Gauguin, under the creative direction and management of CultureSpaces.

les grands fonds France
The impressive quarry

Wander through Kandinsky’s works

Soon the lights dimmed and the show began. Images appeared on the huge walls, accompanied by the swirling rhythms of Vivaldi. I stood stunned, in complete awe of this simply magical experience.

Carrières de Lumières kandinsky
The quarry has been transformed into a magical place filled with Kandinsky’s works.
I stood stunned as the works adorned the walls of the quarry.

In the first part of the show, the bright works of Wassily Kandinsky filled the space. Everyone was clearly enthralled as the colorful art filled every inch of the walls and then moved on to other artwork. The most important was his famous “Squares with Concentric Circles”.

Carrières de Lumières kandinsky concentric circles
Kandinsky’s famous concentric circles.

The projections seemed to dance on the walls, sometimes with an unusual 3D effect. The music, a fantastic combination of classical and contemporary, worked perfectly with the images; sometimes uplifting, then dramatic and melancholy, sometimes humorous and upbeat. Some people chose a seat while others chose to take a slow stroll to fully immerse themselves in the wonder and awe of this bewildering show.

Kandinsky’s bright colors. These compositions were accompanied by the tunes of David Bowie’s song “Space Oddity”.

Cézanne, larger than life

The second part of the show featured works by post-impressionist artist Paul Cézanne, known as the “Master of Provence” for his depictions of the landscapes and people of Provence.

The start of the Cézanne show.
cezanne portraits carrieres-de-lumieres photo
Portraits of Cézanne

Provençal landscapes, portraits and nudes were larger than life as they graced the walls in enormous succession.

Art of Sazan Provence
The landscapes of Provence.
multimedia art show Provence
Cézanne’s portraits were larger than life.
Cézanne’s nudes

The whole show lasted about an hour. The production work is nothing short of amazing and the result is truly awe-inspiring. The first thing I knew I had to do upon returning to the Avalon was THANK THE WOLF. This turned out to be one of the highlights of the France river cruise.

This visit was one of my eight day excursions Active and revealing Cruise on the Rhone River With Avalon Waterways. However, you can also visit the Carrières de Lumières multimedia show on your own or as part of a tour from nearby Arles or Avignon. Read more about my Avalon Rhône River Cruise and things to do in Avignon.

Note: this post is a result of the #AvalonAD project, a collaboration between the Embassy and Avalon Waterways. However, all of the above views are mine and mine alone.

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