quarry landscape – Les Carrieres de Bibémus

September 22, 2013


To the west of Aix-en-Provence, is a site that forms part of ‘Sur les Pas de Cézanne‘, if you are a tourist but is also a splendid place if you are a resident. I was very taken with this well built welcoming  wall but someone else, quite small, charged off to see what happened beyond the far gate. The gate was quite lovely and well designed – everything was looking very promising until we hit the visitor’s centre . . .

wall 1




. . . peering into the entrance through bars, we discovered that unfortunately we’d missed the only slot of the day for a guided tour. This happens at  9.45am but only on certain days. So I am grateful to Louisa Jones + photographer Clive Nichols for these scans below taken  from Mediterranean Landscape Design – a wonderful book – of the scheme. Philippe Daliau (ALEP Agency) has created fine and sensitive interventions within the exposed stone providing a walk over differing surfaces with differing treatments – timber, metal -where views are encapsulated and framed by angled mass of the rock – some hewn and some natural.

quarry 1

quarry 2

Wandering through just part of the 7 hectare site that provided stone for the building of Aix (up to the end of 18C), we came across individual stone landscapes. In a certain way, it’s like a lost world but then in another, it’s seems well used. Rock climbing at a novice scale, mountain bikes carefully controlled, joggers, picque niques and large family get togethers and 4 legs all jostling together in a merry fashion.

rock face

Scrub oak, arbutus, pistacia lentiscus and pine form the major structural planting with some cistus, rosemary, euphorbia and rambling lonicera in the sunny patches  . . .

pines 2


mont ste victoire

. . framed views of Mont Sainte – Victoire and the barrage Zola taken while we lounged around on a rocky outcrop – an indulgent pastime for a Saturday morning and why not?

mont ste victoire + barrage

And moving on we find a built structure, not a cabanon that Cézanne might have used during his time drawing and painting here . . .


. .  but a building that encouraged interaction and it had with a great view. Can’t take my eyes off the landscape.

view south

The Irish lady can say, that to-day is every day. Caesar can say that
every day is to-day and they say that every day is as they say.
In this way we have a place to stay and he was not met because
he was settled to stay. When I said settled I meant settled to stay.
When I said settled to stay I meant settled to stay Saturday. In this
way a mouth is a mouth. In this way if in as a mouth if in as a
mouth where, if in as a mouth where and there. Believe they have
water too. Believe they have that water too and blue when you see
blue, is all blue precious too, is all that that is precious too is all
that and they meant to absolve you. In this way Cézanne nearly did
nearly in this way. Cézanne nearly did nearly did and nearly did.
And was I surprised. Was I very surprised. Was I surprised. I was
surprised and in that patient, are you patient when you find bees.
Bees in a garden make a specialty of honey and so does honey. Honey
and prayer. Honey and there. There where the grass can grow nearly
four times yearly.  G Stein  Cézanne

9 Responses to “quarry landscape – Les Carrieres de Bibémus”

  1. Sinclair 3168 Says:

    One of my favourite posts x

  2. Daniel Says:

    Woh ……I am realy impress to blog Picture and design Nice blog i would like to thanks admin to sharing the blog.

  3. woodlandpigs Says:

    A memorable morning. One of my favourite places in the world x

  4. Tom Says:

    ps – used this post for my visual comms students, all 3 years, on the subject of artistic description. 65 students in all.

    Question 3 was ‘how has the site been used since the end of the last century?’

    Huge problems deciphering the present perfect. 10% got it right with the 90% stating that the quarry still provides stone for the building of Aix!

    Other comical mistakes included:
    1. Believing the author to be male
    2. Believing the author to be a certain G. Stein
    3. Believing the author the author of the poem
    4. Believing the author to be the mother of the young boy
    5. Believing the wooden structure to be an original resting spot of Cezanne, even that he painted St Victoire from that very locale…
    6. Using the wrong blog entirely but somehow answering the very specific ‘carrieres’ based questions using Hastings/St Leonards themed blog posts, adequately. (??)

    A couple of critical responses too; debating the worth/validity of analysing natural spaces & man-made influences upon it… Only a couple! Many others had praise for the literary and photographic qualities of the post 😉

    I was very pleased with their work by the way…

  5. julia fogg Says:

    Thanks for this – interesting – and glad to be of use! Other topics needed?

  6. […] and his special Xmas present, so we came to the Barrage de Bimont which along with the smaller Barrage Zola holds most of the water for the town of Aix. The main path weaves its way easily through the rocky […]

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