Our afternoon excursion on September 22 was a double-header–the charming, tiny town of Les Baux-de-Provence in the Alpilles Mountains and a huge abandoned limestone quarry attracting hundreds of thousands of art-lovers to celebrate Marc Chagall’s art with a sound-and-light show. In the Provençal language “bauç” means “rocky spur.” In this valley of rocky spurs, limestone has been quarried for centuries and bauxite (aluminum ore) was discovered by geologist Pierre Berthier in 1821.
Our first stop was the enormous former quarry, where “Chagall: A Midsummer Night’s Dream,” a 40-minute long multimedia show designed by Gianfranco Iannuzzi and his team for Carrières de Lumières, ran continuously. My camera was completely inadequate to the task of capturing the constantly shifting and swirling images of Chagall’s artwork from twelve different periods of his 97-year life, all accompanied by appropriate music, so I gave up and just watched and listened. Digitally projected on 5,000 square meters of quarry walls up to 45 feet high, Chagall’s masterpieces came to life. I had admired his works at the United Nations, the Art Institute of Chicago, and the Kennedy Center, but this comprehensive and totally immersive show was more affecting. I bought the book, “Chagall: A Midsummer Night’s Dream,” and one for kids, “The Little Chagall,” to learn more. The show continues through January 2017. I would love to see it again.
Stunned by the Chagall show, I found it hard to concentrate on the little town up the hill. There was a lovely church with nice paintings and stained glass, but I can’t remember its name. The ambience made us think of our friends Elizabeth, Jan, and Carol, who so love southern France. And Steve lit a candle for his sister Karen.
Les Baux-de-Provence has a special emblem, a 16-point star that some call the Star of the Nativity. The town was once linked to the Principality of Monaco. The current Prince of Monaco, Albert II, carries among his many titles that of Marquis of Baux. I really liked the multiple stars in this display at the bottom of the hill.