Along the vineyard route, Châteaux and large estates compete with one another’s ingenuity in order to delight the taste buds of wine lovers. Nevertheless, a stroll here is not just reserved for gourmets. It can also be an artistic experience. A great many of the grand houses have enjoyed a love affair with all forms of art.
Contemporary art in the Château La Coste
Fifteen minutes from Aix-en-Provence , this Provençal estate has brought about the happy union of contemporary art and wine production.
Throughout the hillsides and among the plots of vines that are pampered by the principles of bio dynamics, unusual artworks have found a home. These art works respect the landscape of the vineyards and add to their existing grandeur.
The creation by American artist Tom Shannon is one of the best examples, as his mirrored saucer reflects every little corner of the estate. You will never tire of looking around the Château La Coste. There is also the impressive spider by Louise Bourgeois that welcomes visitors, whilst also discreetly hiding the car park.
Every year, Irish owner Patrick McKillen gives carte blanche to architects and designers who are allowed to take over any space in order to express their creativity and originality.
The architecture at the Château is also worth discovering. Tadao Ando is responsible for the main building, whilst Jean Nouvel created the storehouse. Walks lasting 1h30 focusing on "Art and Architecture" run all year round (15 euros for adults).
Sculpture at the Château Sainte Roseline
Every summer the vineyards of Château Sainte Roseline, ideally located on the holiday route between the bay of Saint-Tropez , the Croisette in Cannes and the Verdon Gorges, play host to a great exhibition of art works.
Robert Courtrighht, Bruno Romeda, Rotraut, César and William SweetLove are among the big names that have enjoyed this experience. Sculptor Bernard Pagès takes over for 2014. This is an exhibition that is eagerly awaited by art lovers, but also by those who love the juxtaposition between vineyards and art works.
Underground experiences at Pommery
In Reims , the Pommery champagne house creates and sponsors works of contemporary art.
This philosophy is kept alive by Louise Pommery, widow of the establishment’s founder and a patron of arts in her own right. For eleven years now, this prestigious establishment brings a new dimension to its cellars by installing works of art. These exhibitions are called "Expériences Pommery".
Every year, more than 135,000 visitors pour through the gates of the estate in order to admire these art works.
In 2014, this event will pay tribute to the Fonds Régional d'ArtContemporain of Champagne-Ardenne , with around thirty masterpieces. This exhibition has been put together in conjunction with the famous designer Matali Crasset.
Architecture at the Château Faugères
When it comes to fabulous storehouses that are worth visiting, the one belonging to Mario Botta must surely be first on anyone’s list. The setting of the Château Faugères is idyllic for any wine lover: the village of Saint-Emilion , a plot producing Grand Cru Classé, in short, the epitome of the Bordelaise region.
This original storehouse is the very first in this legendary village to have been created by an internationally renowned architect, and it is certainly worth the trip. The name of the storehouse speaks for itself: the cathedral-storehouse. The building has many surprising features. It sits proudly atop the plateau, whilst still managing to blend into its vineyard setting.
The storehouse is a practical building, but it also stands alone as an artwork on a grand scale. It can be visited year round by appointment
Paintings and engravings by Alechinsky at the Château Lynch-Bages
In the prestigious Bordelaise appellation of Pauillac, the Château Lynch-Bages honours the famous Classification of 1855, as well as contemporary art, thanks to the passion of Jean-Michel Cazes.
It is the story of a love affair with art that has been burning since 1989. Great names, such as Hervé Di Rosa, Günther Förg, Ryan Mendoza, Emilio Perez, Arnulf Rainer, Paul Rebeyrolle and Antoni Tàpies have succeeded one another.
In 2014, the Château Lynch-Bages is exhibiting paintings and murals by the artist Pierre Alechinsky for the pleasure of curious wine lovers. This Belgian painter has exhibited in the world’s greatest museums, including the Guggenheim in New York.
A storehouse that is a work of art at the Château La Dominique
Nestling in the north west of Saint-Emilion , alongside the Pomerol appellation, the Château La Dominique manages to stand out from its illustrious neighbours, such as the Château Cheval Blanc and Château Figeac, thanks to a storehouse that has become a veritable masterpiece, created by the uber-famous Jean Nouvel.
The building pays tribute to the purple colour of the wines that grow here. The façades are covered with an ensemble of stainless steel strips, which reflect the sky and the rows of vines. This is an art work that is worthy of a Grand Cru Classé wine.