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Visit outstanding cultural attractions or take a hike amongst the peaks? A romantic tour of the wine route or a family cruise? What will this year's
French holiday bring?

The new Fondation Carmignac in Porquerolles

20 years ago, Edouard Carmignac fell in love with La Courtade, a farmhouse in Porquerolles. On 2 June 2018, his eldest son Charles opened the doors to a new Carmignac Foundation to present his father’s collection to the public. To see it, visitors need to take a boat, cross the undergrowth, walk through vineyards and past ancient olive trees, with the heady scent of eucalyptus hanging in the air. A unique experience awaits – and in the meantime, here’s a preview from Charles himself.

The catalyst for this project was of course your father’s collection. How would you describe it?

CC: It’s a very personal collection, consisting mainly of post-war works, Pop Art pieces and personal favourites. There’s a lot of humour and mockery throughout. The works are characterised by a vital impulse and ability to catch the viewer’s eye and hold their gaze. The overriding message is: “Open your eyes to look inside and better connect with what’s around you.”

The visitor experience begins even before arriving on the island of Porquerolles: what can you tell us about this first leg of the trip?

CC: This is the score of the crossing, the ‘relief path’ of the visitor-traveller. The mental journey begins as soon as you takes to the water. When you arrive on the island, there’s an impression of extraordinary release, a dilation of time and space. You deviate a little from the usual environment to experience the inner island, coupled with the mysterious transformative power that contact with a work of art can have. Alone in front of a work at nightfall, things can happen…

How does the architectural project fit into its surroundings?

CC: The museum is hidden below the house. It’s deceptive but in fact boasts 1,500 m² of space across several levels, without ever feeling like it’s underground thanks to a clever play on light and volume. There are also two sculpture parks: to the north, a labyrinth of cabins with mysterious, introspective works; to the south, faces and busts bordering the visitor pathway, which invite you to question yourself.

What will visitors feel like by the time they arrive?

CC: Curious, and free from time constraints. Ready to indulge, to meditate in the garden, to converse with companion(s) and fellow visitors. The different spaces can contribute to this letting go.

How does the visit begin?

CC: We ask visitors to remove their shoes before giving them a welcome drink made from medicinal plants grown on site. This ritual sets the scene for something ‘happening’. This is the concept of the oceanic feeling: a moment of grace, an mystical experience, where the ego melts into something immense.

Porquerolles island 

Off the coast of Hyères, you can reach the island of Porquerolles within a 15-minute boat drive. The Fondation Carmignac is located on La Courtade domain which is only a 10-minute walk from the port.