Carrières de Lumières: ‘Only in Provence’ Part 2

Only in Provence - Carrières de Lumières

Imagine walking into a massive cavern inside a mountain. The walls shoot straight up and the ceiling is high above your head. Here and there are side chambers, and rough-hewn benches are carved into the walls. The whole place looks drab in the dim light—you wonder why your friends keep saying “You can’t miss it!”

Even after having looked at the photos and having viewed the promotional video, the actual experience of the Carrières de Lumières is almost impossible to describe.

Experience: Carrières de Lumières

Suddenly the lights go out and you are plunged into complete darkness.

Then you start to hear music, beautiful music. One by one, massive images appear on the walls, and then on the floor.

You realize you are looking at a painting by Vincent Van Gogh.

Then another painting appears next to it, and then a third, and then more and more.

They move and pulse in time to the music, then shatter and disappear.

More images appear—brilliant, vivid, mesmerizing.

What was once a drab space is now alive with color and music.

You’ve never seen anything like it before. It’s magic.

Welcome to the Carrières de Lumières, the Quarries of Light.

Only in Provence - Carrières de Lumières

From quarry to magic!

Years ago, someone had the bright idea of turning an abandoned quarry into a sound and light show, and that tradition continues today.

Under the auspices of Culturespaces, the Carrières features a new artist each year—recent ones have included Van Gogh, Picasso, Dali, and Klimt. The quarry is packed with over 100 high resolution projectors, with powerful computers to coordinate the images with the music.

Here’s another short video to give you an idea of what it’s like, this time without the commentary: music and visuals only..

Only in Provence - Carrières de Lumières - MyFrenchLife - MaVieFrancaise

The Carrières is one of the most popular attractions in Provence, with over half a million visitors a year. It is so popular that Culturespaces has replicated it elsewhere.

In 2018, an abandoned factory in Paris became the Atelier des Lumières.

This year saw the opening of the Bassins de Lumières in a former submarine base near Bordeaux (there is also a Bunker des Lumières in South Korea.)

All of these newer venues share programs with the Carrières and each has met with immediate success—the Paris site already draws over a million visitors a year!

Only in Provence - Carrières de Lumières - MyFrenchLife - MaVieFrancaise

If you visit the Carrières, be sure to also see the charming village of Les Baux-de-Provence, nestled beneath a massive fortress. Les Baux is classified as one of The Most Beautiful Villages of France  and the views from the top are magnificent. Les Baux and the Carrières are within easy walking distance of each other, so you can park once and see both on the same day.

You can’t miss it!

Have you experienced the Carrières yet? Share your thoughts or plans in the comments section below.

More Information:
Carrières de Lumières (Provence):
Atelier des Lumières (Paris):
Bassins de Lumières (Bordeaux):
Les Baux Tourist Office:

Image credits:
All images and videos are from Culturespaces.

Only in Provence

There is much to celebrate and experience in Provence.
This series sets out to create a collection of highlights – unique features and experiences to be had in Provence.

Use this series to create your very own must-do list.

Only in Provence Part 1 – Brilliant Roussillon
Only in Provence Part 2 – This one.
Only in Provence Part 3Provence legends
Only in Provence Part 4 Surprising history of Jewish Provence
Only in Provence Part 5The Animal Kingdom of Provence
Only in Provence Part 6 – Roman Provence

About the Contributor

Keith Van Sickle

I am a lifelong traveler who lives part of the year in Provence. I am the author of Are We French Yet and One Sip at a Time, as well as the upcoming An Insider’s Guide to Provence, all available at Amazon. You can follow me on Facebook,  Twitter and

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