Let’s start with a walk surrounded by art…
Beach art or the beach as an artist’s canvas in Biarritz
This art consists of drawing in the sand using a stick and a rake. Sam (Samuel Dougados) – World champion of Beach Art in 2013 – uses the Basque coast in Biarritz as his « backdrop ». Some of his works are immortalised in photos then printed on aluminium. Limited edition.
Don’t miss Jben’s creations in Charente-Martime either.
La Forêt d’Art Contemporain – Ecomusée de Marquèze in Sabres
Stroll around an open air museum in the heart of the Landes de Gascogne Regional Natural Park. For several years now unique art works in the largest forest in Europe have been surprising walkers. Let them take you on an artistic journey from La Teste de Buch to Mont-de-Marsan.
Les Jardins de l’Imaginaire in Terrasson-Lavilledieu in Périgord
This is not just a garden! This is a garden consisting of 13 landscapescreated by the designer Katryn Gustafson. It is a meeting of minds where man recreates nature in very artistically modern way. The guided tour is recommended.
Peri-urban shelters in Bordeaux
Who hasn’t dreamed of sleeping in a cloud, of spending a night in a park, of an American night? These architectural works, which are sensitively created to suit their natural environment are unusual places to sleep. A star in Floirac, a family of owls alongside the river in Bègles and a futuristic hammock in Gradignan.
And what if we set these walks with music, with a headset listening to the works of Maurice Ravel, a local artist. Ravel was from Saint-Jean-de-Luz, or more precisely Ciboure where you can see his birth place. Each year the « Printemps de l’Académie Ravel » festival is held in his honour.
… and now let’s eat
Les Prés d’Eugénie in Eugénie-les-Bains
In this region of fine dining Michel Guérard is still an iconic figure in « nouvelle cuisine ». He has set up shop in Eugénie-les-Bains, the village that the empress loved so much. It is one of the best restaurants in France.
L’Aubergade in Puymirol
Michel Trama is the inventor of « cristallines », where he makes fruit and vegetables transparent to create works of art. Michel Trama is a grand master of French gastronomy. His style combines visual pleasure with the pleasure of tasting.
He is a local man and a Michelin starred chef
Hélène Darroze, who was born in Mont-de-Marsan in the Landes, is one of the most important French chefs. She won the Veuve Clicquot World’s Best Female Chef Award in 2015. Her cooking takes its inspiration from the region where she was born.
And now for design filled nights…
Le Poteau Rose in Bayonne
There are 5 guest rooms decorated with original artworks and designer furniture by Mario Fortuny, Mies Van der Rohe, Charles Eames Relax in the patio, the garden or the lounge while enjoying the artworks.
Hotel Seeko’o in Bordeaux
Seeko’o? It’s an Inuit word for « iceberg ». This unusually shaped hotel, with an immaculate facade made of Corian (a synthetic resin) sits on the banks of the Garonne river. Inside let yourself be cocooned by the lights and the comfort where imagination and creativity have created an ultra modern setting. www.seekoo-hotel.com
Château de Maraval in Cénac-et-Saint-Julien
A castle built in the 15th century with a contemporary interior and high-tech facilities. These four guest rooms are an intimate and cosy place to stay while visiting the surrounding area: Sarlat, La Roque-Gageac, the Lascaux caves – a work which will always be contemporary!
Ultra contemporary heritage: a tobacco drying barn?
Tobacco growing was very important at one time in Aquitaine. Tobacco drying barns can still be found there. Jean Nouvel used them as inspiration in 1989 when he created an unusual hotel restaurant, Le Saint James. The decor of the rooms is ultra contemporary and the hotel has panoramic views of Bordeaux and its river.
And now for architecture…
Cité Frugès in Pessac
It dates back to the last century but is still surprisingly modern! In the suburbs of Bordeaux, Cité Frugès is an old workers housing estate designed by Le Corbusier between 1924 and 1926. The use of concrete and roofs as terraces are innovations that earned this site its ranking as a historical monument. We love it!
Wine cellars to feel at home in!
The world of wine likes to call on the great names of architecture to reinvent their properties with innovative wine cellars: Lafite-Rotschild in Pauillac with Ricardo Bofill, Cos d’Estournel in Saint-Estèphe with Jean-Michel Wilmote, Cheval Blanc in Saint-Emilion with Christian de Portzamparc, Château Margaux with Norman Foster, Les Carmes-Haut-Brion in Pessac with Philippe Stark…
And also, La Cité du Vin, designed by the architects Anouk Legendre and Nicolas Desmazières, with ultra innovative architecture.
A local man?
Jean Nouvel, the internationally renowned architect, was born in Lot-et-Garonne in Fumel and spent his childhood in Sarlat in Périgord. In Aquitaine, you can enjoy a few of these works: in Périgueux in the Dordogne, the Vesunna Museum; in the suburbs of Bordeaux in Floirac the hotel restaurant Le Saint James and in the vineyards, the wine cellar of the château La Dominique in Saint-Emilion.
And let’s not forget the museums and galleries
An original idea for a city tour in Bordeaux: The contemporary art bus
An invitation to meet living Aquitaine culture and get to know the changing shape of what’s new in the arts world. The route (2 to 3 hours) has several stopping points: museums, galleries, associations and alternative spaces.
CAPC, Museum of Contemporary Art in Bordeaux is a special place to view new practices and trends in contemporary art. With its large central nave which can house monumental installations, this old colonial goods warehouse welcomes international artists in both its collections and its temporary exhibitions. The roof terrace is something special.
Between now and 4 September, 2016, the exhibition « Why not Judy Chicago? » is showing works by this artist from the 1960s to the present day. She was a prominent figure in the feminist artistic movement on the West Coast of the United States.
There’s another centre of contemporary art which was built in an old warehouse, but this time in the Landes: the centre d’art contemporain Raymond Farbos in Mont-de-Marsan.
The Despiau Wlérick Museum in Mont-de-Marsan
This is the only French museum to specialise in figurative sculpture from between the two world wars. An original theme and date which makes it a link between the Orsay Museum and the National Museum of Modern Art, with which it collaborates regularly. The visit continues outside the museum! The town has chosen to exhibit several works of art in the open air, including the famous Apollo by Charles Despiau, a local artist.
Le Domaine Perdu in Meyrals in Périgord
This is an unmissable contemporary and modern art gallery for thedialogue that its creators, Christel and Bruno Lajoinie, maintain with the enlightened and sophisticated visitors that they welcome, and the artists they support, be they young creators or prestigious artists. www.ledomaine-perdu.com
Spacejunk in Bayonne
Spacejunk was created to provide a real centre for exhibiting emerging cultures: Lowbrow, Pop Surrealism, Conceptual Realism – The artists in these movements draw their influences from too many circles to mention them all here. One thing is for sure, their creativity is infinite, and their talent too as history is already showing.
A unique place: PEMA
The Pôle Expérimental des Métiers d’Art in Périgord and Limousin performs remarkable work to promote the creations of craftsmen. Exhibitions, Operation « you must see this at home » and workshops. It all works beautifully!
And we end with this project: Maison de l’Economie Créative et de la Culture in Aquitaine, or MECA for short, a project to house Frac Aquitaine (Regional Fund for Contemporary Art) and promote creation amongst young people.
A local man?
Bernard Magrez. Well known in the world of wine, Bernard Magrez is also passionate about contemporary art, a patron. In Château Labottière, a mansion house in Bordeaux, he’s created Institut Culturel Bernard Magrez, a bit like the Villa Medici. This original centre has a varied collection and regularly presents major temporary exhibitions. He wants to make contemporary art more accessible.