Rest & Recuperation

Today proves to be the day we’ve needed for a while…although as I write this it’s coming up to 9:30pm and Eliza is convinced she’s still wide awake while we try everything to persuade her otherwise- dimmed lighting, white noise, milk, walking, swaying…but nope, she’s pretty chilled if we do all those things at once (minus the milk, the milk she is currently refusing angrily), but sleeping she is not.

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Anyway, it’s forecast rain and heavy rain for the duration of the day so we’re having a chilled start, catching up on what turns out to be a massive pile of washing, having a relaxed morning and considering taking the day around Eliza’s routines rather than having her fit in with us. This means a comfy morning nap at home while we enjoy some time to read and finish off the previous blog and photos, lunch at home and then we’re off out for the afternoon. It pays off and Eliza is good as gold for the hour long drive, falling asleep without any fuss after about 10 minutes of looking at the pretty rocks and trees out the window.

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The journey is glorious, past acres of blossoming fruit trees, vineyards, a surprising field of bamboo and some olive groves. Just before we arrive, we’re treated to a most beautiful windy road through mountains and large rocks on the Alpilles mountain range with glorious views in every direction.

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On Marie’s mum’s recommendation, we’re heading to ‘Carrieres de Lumieres’ in Les Baux de Provence. This is a large covered ex-quarry that has been turned into an immersive art exhibition, with art transformed into an animated performance projected at once on all the many walls inside the room to a soundtrack mixing classical and rock, ranging from Vivaldi’s Four Seasons to Led Zeppelin.

The effect is outstanding, there’s different things to look at in every direction, too much to see it all at once which is part of the charm and there’s people around us clapping and dancing in response to the experience.They combine works from three different artists from the 1500’s- Hieronymus Bosch, one of my favourite artists- Surrealism before surrealism was a thing; Giuseppe Arcimboldo who painted faces made from fruits and fish; and the Bruegel dynasty, a family of artists who depicted village festivities. It’s combined in such a way, as is the music, that one morphs into the next and they mix in a bizarre and interesting composition- grotesque surrealist images popping up in the middle of festive village ‘normal’ scenes, good vs evil and the gruesomeness in the drunk faces of the villagers emphasised by the preceding disfigured characters of Bosch.

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Even Zaza enjoys it once she wakes up, completely occupied with the changing patterns on the walls for a good 20 minutes or so from the buggy, and then much longer once her request to be held has been met.

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After getting part way through a second watch as I want to see the Bosch and Arcimboldo parts again we decide to head off to give us time to visit the town above. Every man and his dog has parked up along the sides of the road for the exhibition- the perfect rainy day activity it seems, not that it’s actually rained at all in the afternoon fortunately (the morning however was a different story entirely), and getting out of our space and then up to the village is a bit of a mission. We can then only find parking for €5 for the day and decide that as it’s past 5pm already that’s more than a bit of a waste so head home, stopping off at a boulangerie and boucherie for bread, meat, cheese and wine for dinner on the way.

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This evening has proved a mix of good and bad, a reflection of the good and evil theme of the exhibition today perhaps. We had moments where it felt we were winning; Zaza sitting contentedly between us, propped by pillows, while we tuck into bread, dried sausage, pate and wine and others where…well, the fact that I’m now finishing off the last sentence of this post a full two days later perhaps suggests what the other side of that was (and continues to be…).

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