Extraordinary islands in The South of France for Art Lovers
1) Jazz à Porquerolles
Since 2002, the island of Porquerolles and Fort Sainte-Agatha have provided the stunning backdrop for an annual jazz festival. One of its founding fathers and a returning guest is the American saxophone player Archie Shepp. But there is more! In addition to the main concert programme, the island is transformed into a gigantic jazz stage for one week, with free concerts everywhere, often by young and talented musicians. A brass band has even been known to emerge from the water. Fun times!
2) Villa Carmignac
Villa Carmignac is a museum, arts centre and sculpture garden on the island of Porquerolles off the coast of Hyères. The Villa is overseen by the Fondation Carmignac, which supports investigative photo journalists with prizes and exhibitions since 2009, among others at the Villa Carmignac. The Villa, which opened in 2018, also has a collection of 300 artworks. Highlights include works by Andy Warhol, Jean-Michel Basquiat, Gerhard Richter and Roy Lichtenstein. The presentation is both unique and surprising: visitors are required to take off their shoes for the visit, part of the museum is underground, and light falls in through the glass water ceiling. “Freedom is Fondation Carmignac’s guiding principle”, says Édouard Carmignac, who created the Fondation. “Over the last twenty years, the collection has been put together in a pioneering spirit, disregarding borders and taboos.” Check it out and prepare to be surprised on this extraordinary island.
3) Cimetière Musulman Île Sainte-Marguerite
You can find this strange place on the idyllic island of Sainte-Marguerite, offshore from ritzy Cannes. Follow the trails on this forested island and you will run into the Cimetière musulman: a Muslim cemetery, with its distinctive tombstones, which are laid out in circles on the ground. These are the graves of 200 – some sources even say there are as many as 600 – Algerian men, women and children. They all belonged to the entourage of Emir Abdelkader, who offered resistance against the French colonial army for many years. The Algerians were sent to prison in the fortress on Sainte- Marguerite in 1842. Life here was harsh: too many prisoners were locked up together in small cells and the drinking water was polluted. The dead were buried here, far from the mainland.
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The South of France for Art Lovers is one of the spin-off titles of The 500 Hidden Secrets series of essential city guides. This guide focusses on one particular aspect of the region of the South of France.
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