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Fondation LUMA opens art tower

Text Dr. Joachim Petersen
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Photos Iwan Baan, Adrian Deweerdt, Marc Domage
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16/11/2021
The small town of Arles on the Rhône is currently attracting a great deal of attention in art circles and among friends of modern architecture. Vincent van Gogh once settled here because of the light of Provence, which is why the "Fondation Vincent van Gogh" runs its own exhibition house in the old town.

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As a festival for photography, “Les Rencontres d’Arles” is an important date in the international cultural calendar. And now Maja Hoffmann, art collector and co-heiress of the Swiss pharmaceutical company Hoffmann-La Roche, has created one of the most important cultural centres in Europe with her Fondation LUMA on a disused site of the French railway company SNCF.

The famous Provençal light now reflects, refracts and shimmers in the 11,000 aluminium cuboids on the façade of the LUMA Tower, which Gehry and his office Gehry Partners (Los Angeles) are winding out of a glass base as a porous spiral with numerous angles and twists over eight storeys. Inside this tower, exhibition rooms, workshops, research facilities and studios will find their place in the future. A cultural production facility stacked at a height of 56 meters, whose future fellows will then be able to look out over the city from the floor-to-ceiling windows. In the historic old town itself, with its narrow streets, the silver Gehry spiral is not visible, but as soon as you leave the old city wall, the squat tower stands out omnipresent from the flat buildings of Arles.

Art in Arles: www.atelier-luma.org; fondation-vincentvangogh-arles.org; information on a free one-hour tour of the Parc des Ateliers at https://www.arlestourisme.com/en/luma-arles.html.

Tips from the GO SIXT editorial team for Arles:

Hoffmann-La Roche heiress and collector Maja Hoffmann, to whom we also owe Le Cloître and the Luma Foundation in Arles, engaged the Cuban-born artist Jorge Pardo, who transformed the Hotel L’Arlatan (20 Rue du Sauvage) into a contemporary work of art. Pardo designed 1300 pieces of furniture; chairs, wardrobes and filigree lamps were created in Mexico.


The restaurant Les Piques ou Rien (53, rue Condorcet – Place Voltaire) only opened at the end of August. Traditional dishes are presented here in a modern way, without losing sight of the flavours, recipes, products of the region. Above all, the dishes are presented in an original way: They are plates of several dishes to be enjoyed with your fingers. All very uncomplicated! Open from Tuesday evening to Sunday noon.

Modern and at the same time French traditional is our further hotel recommendation: Les Maisons de l’Hôtel Particulier. It is located in Maussane-les-Alpilles, about 19 km from Arles and invites you to stay longer. 

LHôtel Particulier in Arles

Tips from the GoSixt editorial team

Provence not only has the Côte d’Azur with its beautiful beaches and azure sea to offer, but also the diverse hinterland, where a true paradise awaits nature lovers and culture enthusiasts. If you want to explore all this and more at your own pace and at your own leisure, without travelling in your own car, you should think about hiring a car. And you can end up starting your tour directly from the airport or train station. The major cities of Provence can be reached by TGV from several cities in Germany. For example, a TGV runs between Frankfurt and Marseille.

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