Lionel Barbe/Courtesy of Fondation Carmignac

Today, a new French museum puts an out-of-the-box spin on the usual gallery experience.

Jennifer Salerno
June 14, 2018

Prepare for an unconventional art experience at Fondation Carmignac, a gallery opening this month on the Provençal island of Porquerolles at the heart of a Port-Cros National Park. Visitors must take a 15-minute ferry from the mainland, then a short walk through the forest to reach the space, situated in a converted farmhouse on land that once featured in the Jean-Luc Godard film Pierrot le Fou. Upon arrival, guests are welcomed with a ritualized drink service, then invited to walk barefoot on the sandstone floors of the contemporary-art-filled villa, an experience meant to connect you with the surroundings. Admission is limited — only 50 visitors are allowed in each half-hour — so as to ensure the museum never feels too frenetic or crowded.

The 21,530-square-foot space is capped by a glass ceiling with a water feature flowing above, lending it an otherworldly feel. The opening exhibit, Sea of Desire, begins as guests emerge from the forest and wends throughout the property, featuring work by giants such as Lichtenstein, Warhol, and Basqiat, as well as emerging artists. The grounds are planted with mimosa and lemon trees and dotted with sculptures, and the sea is just a few steps beyond—the foundation even encourages visitors go for a pre- and post-visit swim. To get to Porquerolles, connect via train or plane to Toulon, then drive to La Tour Fondue for scheduled ferry service or Hyères port for round-the-clock water taxi service to the island.

Our series Reasons to Travel Now highlights the news, events, and openings that have us scoping out plane tickets each day.

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