In 1840, Prosper Mérimée saved La Charité and its church by classifying it as a Historic Monument. More than 150 years later, the chief architect of historic monuments, Paul Barnoud, in turn marked the city’s history in golden letters by giving a new, contemporary youth to the priory’s site. This “heritage negotiator” reconciles the ages, retaining the quintessence of each, using the present to highlight the past. An architectural equation of which he is a “past” master.
First step in 2004: the Garden of the Benedictines, or how to restore its soul to a wasteland fenced around archaeological excavations? A triple urban, heritage and architectural objective that ultimately offers a place of relaxation, where people can contemplate the church, and a pedestrian passage throughout the site. Today’s metal awning protects the medieval remains of yesteryear: pillars of the ancient St Lawrence Church. Some years later, the renovation of the chapter house, the 18th-century halls, the cloister and the main gate once again interplayed harmoniously with metal and stone.
For the stained-glass windows of the chapter house, the chief architect of Historic Monuments called upon a virtuoso, the contemporary New York painter Christopher Wool. In order to create his five unique works, the American enlisted the services of Burgundy’s master glassmaker, Pierre-Alain Parot, whose workshop, located in Aiserey in the Côte d’Or, employs twelve craftsmen. In the end, the work is a link between 900 years of history and contemporary creation, a link between La Charité and New York.
The latest addition to this mix of old and new is the installation of a footbridge for the stone bridge. Attached in 2017 to a “brand new” work, this metal walkway fits nicely in with the decor, offering a stunning view of the Loire and its steeples in complete safety.
A renovated remnant of the industrial era of the 18th century, the Domaine des Forges de la Vache estate has a strong attachment for our times. The owners of the place have offered a world where stars collide, those of yesterday and today. A tribute to the classical score set to monthly virtuoso concerts (the 7 o’clock Impromptus) and a reverence for contemporary art with summer exhibitions that invite you to daydream, to stroll through the estate’s wonderful gardens.
A mixture of materials where vegetable responds to mineral, to metal, in perfect accord. Over the years and exhibitions, some works have found a permanent home in the garden. The “A” is provided through the works of Bahditplus, Peter Brauchle, Christian Bétrancourt, Anne Deval and Julie Karabégiuan, some of which, a permanent part of the decor, accept into their circle the legacy of a time both bygone and present. In this “maze of Pan”, these statues and objects seem to speak to the flowers, so take the time to listen to them…
The village of Arthel is particularly pleasant because of its two châteaux and its old dry-stone walls. This historical past also blends with the present era. Walking along its streets, you’ll discover some works of contemporary art scattered throughout the village. It also owes its dynamism to its artistic centre. Located between the town hall and the church, Annie Jeanneret, host and artist of the place, officiates in the former Sainte-Marie workhouse. Needlework has given way to a monthly literary fair, a weekly theatre workshop and an annual festival. These one-off events coexist with a permanent exhibition by Guidi and Annie.
Guidi’s palette (1933-2001) is very diverse and offers a journey between figurative and abstract through his sculptures, lithographic pencil drawings, still lifes and landscapes. You’ll especially appreciate his last period with its printing inks (a technique he invented himself).
The abstract world of Annie Jeanneret is expressed through bright colours that make us think of stained-glass windows, intertwined curves, a kind of dancing geometry, a clean style like that of the poems on display. So step inside and discover the artist’s “Inner Choreographies”.
Art Centre: 06.18.09.68.39; email@example.com
Nannay is without doubt a really unusual village. Since 2000, it has been growing in prominence thanks to its rural film festival: Les Conviviales, whose notoriety is well known. But eager to go beyond the screen, it’s added an episode to the script by inviting artists in residence to each edition, in order to recreate the scenery in their own way.
Contemporary works, short-lived or permanent, exist in perfect harmony with nature. In total, 42 multi-material creations have livened things up behind the scenes, playing around with the imagination of those who pass by. While some have disappeared, there are still 23 to be discovered, thanks in part to hiking trails, developed and marked by the intercommunity. Let yourself be lulled by this natural artistic music, so you can create your own story…