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Our 2019 Adventure in France & Spain (part 3 – Carrier de Lumieres, Vincent Van Goh)

Written by Jeff Drake
10 · 15 · 19

Carrières de Lumières and Vincent van Goh

France, of course, drips with history. One thing Lisa and I always love to do when visiting someplace with lots of history is to read about the area we’re traveling to in order to discover any interesting historical tidbits that might be there for us to see. Our trip to Provence was no exception. We read extensively and watched many Youtube videos to properly prepare for the trip.

We learned that nearby our home base in Roussillon there were a number of “plus beaux villages.” These are French villages that have been designated as especially beautiful towns, often of historical significance. One such town is Saint-Remy-de-Provence. One thing that puts Saint Remy on the map is that this is where the famous artist, Vince van Goh, spent time in a monastery (Saint-Paul-de-Mausal from 1889-1890) that had been converted to an asylum while being treated for his severe manic depression. This monastery really piqued our interest, not just because we like Vincent van Goh’s art, but because he painted some of his very famous paintings while staying there and we thought it would be really cool to see where he lived and what he was looking at when he painted (because some of his paintings are rather “out there”). The monastery, it turned out, was rather beautiful in its own right!

Additionally, Lisa found something else related to Vincent van Goh! There is an old rock quarry in nearby Les-Baux-de-Provence (another plus beaux village), that has been transformed into a venue that delivers a spectacular show dedicated to Vincent van Goh. It’s a light show, really, with Vincent’s art projected onto the various walls, ceilings and floors of the quarry and of course, there is accompanying music played on many different speakers. The name of this place is called, Carrières de Lumières (essentially translated as “Quarry of Light”). Embellishing our experience, the day we visited the quarry they also had a show dedicated to Japanese art, which was very interesting and beautiful!

Normally, when I think of a rock quarry here say, in Oregon, I think of huge holes in the ground, like pock marks. In this case, we’re talking about a rather large cavern with multiple rooms, so you actually go into the hillside cavern to see the show. This allows for what some would call, an “immersive” experience. The place is kept very dark so that the projections of Vincent’s art can be seen clearly and brightly. This made for difficult photography, although I managed to get a few good shots. We have videos too, but I’m saving those for a future slideshow. It also made for difficult walking at times since the cavern floors were rather uneven. We were reminded of the fact that France obviously doesn’t have the worry about possible lawsuits that such a place would be threatened with in the states. ?

Below are photos of both Carrières de Lumières and the monastery.

Entrance to the quarry.


Van Goh Light Show


Van Goh Light Show


Van Goh Light Show


Van Goh Lightshow


The concurrent Japanese Show.


From the concurrent Japanese show.

Yeah, this show is definitely a “touristy” thing to do in France, but at the same time it was done well and not “cheesy” at all. I enjoyed it and thought it was rather quite a “trippy” experience. 🙂

Vincent van Goh’s monastery asylum, Saint-Paul-de-Mausal:



Vincent van Goh



Entering the monasatery.

The monastery was beautiful!












Along the walk into the monastery, they placed various van Goh paintings, which really added to the ambiance of the experience!


Van Goh paintings along the walkway.

Van Goh paintings along the walkway.











Vincent his self!


The room and window he looked out of when van Goh painted Starry Night.


Van Goh’s room.

Van Goh’s room.












Every day of our trip was filled with adventures and surprises. Visiting the monastery and seeing the Van Goh light show were certainly two sites we enjoyed!

Lastly, here’s a few more shots from our town and house in Roussillon:

















Roussillon sunset


My next blog post will cover some of the plus beaux villages we visited from our base in Roussillon.

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  1. Mike

    Fantastic, incredible photos Jeff! WHAT A TRIP!!!

  2. jeffdrake-wp-admin

    Thanks, Mike! Indeed it was!

  3. kathleen Treb

    Great pictures! What a great museum/exhibition!!!

    • jeffdrake-wp-admin

      Thanks, Kathy. More to come.


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Jeff Drake

Retired IT consultant, world-traveler, hobby photographer, and philosopher.
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