LA PROVENCE An outstanding place

Time for an artistic jaunt in the Camargue to Arles and the Luma Foundation to admire exhibitions of contemporary art of international importance. The centrepiece is a tower designed by the architect Frank Gehry to be opened to public later in the year. It represents one of three spaces found within the Parc des Ateliers, the others being the refurbished 19th century industrial buildings and the gardens inspired by the surrounding landscapes.

In the very heart of Arles, the culture of Provence has found a new setting at the Museon Arlaten, founded by Frédéric Mistral, the poet, writer and diehard advocate of the Occitan language. It is a listed building that will soon re-open after several years’ renovation work. Built atop the remains of a UNESCO listed Roman forum dating back to the 1st century the Museon Arlaten offers detailed information and insight into the history, heritage and traditions of Provence and an opportunity to understand the ties between Arles and the surrounding region and Greco-Roman Antiquity thanks to a new approach to the collections exhibited.


Architect Michel Bertreux proposes a new layout for the inner courtyard for visitors to be able to admire the incredible historical and architectural layers of the museum with, at the bottom, the remains of the Roman forum, then the Hôtel Laval-Castellane (15th and 16th century),and the Jesuit College chapel (17th and 18th century) that today houses temporary exhibitions.

Another place worth discovering is the departmental Arles Antique museum that pays tribute to the Greeks and Romans who made it to Provence. On display are numerous remains from the past including a supposed bust of Julius Caesar.

Off now to Marseille and the Mucem to discover Folklore. From the early stages of modern art through to today’s contemporary art, this exhibition, put together by the Centre Pompidou-Metz and the Mucem (Museum of European and Mediterranean civilisations) recounts the relationships, sometimes ambiguous, that artists nurture with folklore. The exhibition also offers unexpected encounters between the history of art and the history of human sciences.

Under the sea art? Marseille will be hosting Europe’s first ever underwater museum 100 metres off the Catalans beach as of Spring 2021. Ten works each measuring around two metres in height will be submerged at a depth of five meters deep and a hundred meters from the beach. Designed especially for the museum by renowned artists, the sculptures feature shelters for the fish. A unique initiative of its kind which aims to raise awareness of marine flora and fauna.