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IMMERSED IN VAN GOGH: PROJECTED ART IN A MINE IN LES BAUX-DE-PROVENCE

Yes, that's a four-story tall projection of Van Gogh's self portrait on a wall of an old limestone quarry. My photo doesn't do the reality justice. Reproductions of Van Gogh's paintings rise from the floor, glide through the mine's galleries, all to appropriate (mostly) music. It's immersive art. It's a high-end refinement of the French penchant for such projections, called lumières.

Some lumières are just plain silly, more like graffiti than art, like the concentric yellow circles that were projected on the walls of the old town of Carcassonne recently. But some, like the Carrières de Lumières in the abandoned underground limestone quarry in the gorge below the hilltop village of Les Baux-de-Provence, are simply awe inspiring. Previous shows have featured the work of such diverse artists as Chagall, Bosch, and Gauguin. There even appears to be an annual two-day event dedicated to Star Wars that's a fundraiser for the local Kiwanis Club - a service club similar to Rotary or Lions.

Fourteen members of our little walking club in Quarante made the pilgrimage recently. Tickets run about $15, are scaled by age group, and are for specific times, although after awaiting your turn to enter, you can stay and watch the one-hour show repeat if you'd like. Buying your ticket online lessens time spent at the entrance.

After an hour in the mine, we walked up to the village and had a leisurely lunch at a pleasant and welcoming crëperie, La Terasse des Beaux. We may have to schedule a second trip for those who missed it. Check out the website HERE.










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