The Best of France and nearby!

Celebrate the first edition of the Festival AR(t]CHIPEL in the Loire Valley, supported by the Centre Pompidou

13 min read


..passing by the gothic Saint-Gratien cathedral, where many French kings were blessed, under its 69m high towers.
Our artistic tour starts from this Monstre statue, erected by Xavier Veilhan, in the streets of Tours.. 

The result of a partnership between the Centre Pompidou in Paris and the Centre-Val de Loire Region, and for its first edition, the Festival AR(t]CHIPEL aims to highlight the artistic scene of the famous Loire Valley. Thanks to a coordination with the Nouvelles Renaissances structure, this brilliant celebration of creativity and artistic diversity, this multidisciplinary event makes a point of honoring contemporary art, in all its forms. For instance, this Festival AR(t]CHIPEL was not born by chance since in fact, the Centre Pompidou will unfortunately close its doors, for 4 years of work between 2025 and 2030. In order to anticipate this period, the Parisian institution aims to form partnerships all over the world, in order to continue to disseminate its notable artworks and spirit. By AP

..underneath the kind vibes from the Saint-Martin Basilica.
Modern transports get through those narrow streets..

Indeed, on the occasion of this upcoming closure of the Centre Pompidou for major renovations, new perspectives are opening up for the numerous pieces of art that make up this prestigious Parisian museum. Namely, during this work of indefinite duration, a large part of the pieces will be preserved in a warehouse in Massy-Palaiseau, while others will be loaned here and there for various purposes. Recalling that it has always been a very lending museum with 6 to 7,000 artworks released from its collections per year, the Centre Pompidou is therefore disseminating the contents of its reserves even more (photo credits: AP). can testify those elegant red half-timbered houses, that adorn the walls.
The center of Tours keeps some original mood as in the Middle Ages..

Hence the interest of the Centre-Val de Loire region in exploiting this opportunity. Under the impetus of the president of the region, and at the same time art lover, François Bonneau, associated with the president of the Centre Pompidou, better known as François Le Bon, this collaboration around the Festival AR(t]CHIPEL saw the light of day this fall 2023.

In addition, although the Centre-Val de Loire region does not have any seafront, the name of this event also echoes the swarm of these dozens of artistic events, those are like small islands of art, emerged by the curatorship of Anne-Laure Chamboissier.


..nearby some of the most famous monuments of Tours!
Take some time to taste Loire Valley wines in the embassy..

Thus, the urban and rural worlds, spread in different places of creation in this Touraine area, as well as in neighboring departments, will be able to benefit from very exciting events, which lasted from October 20th to November 5th, 2023.

Indeed, the AR(t]CHIPEL notion somehow reflects the very essence of this plural manifestation, being able to mix Art and Archipel terms to evoke the idea of a sort of archipelago mixing diverse and varied arts. This real platform for emerging artists offers unique visiting opportunities, while showing a certain commitment to all kind of artistic expressions.


..also while entering the Fine Arts Museum with its majestic staircase.
Vestiges from old times punctuate the streets of Tours, better stay remain alert then..

Thus, the Festival AR(t]CHIPEL proposes a unique showcase for local and even international talents, by allowing them to present their universe to an audience, eager for artistic sensations.

A window is also open to young artists who have the opportunity to develop their careers and establish valuable connections within this rich artistic community around the Loire Valley. It can also be an opportunity to go beyond the borders of your departments, particularly by returning to Berry or Loir-et-Cher zones. In fact, there are many sites in the Centre-Val de Loire region to discover art, especially where you don’t really expect it.


..contemporary art, straight from Centre Pompidou, like this Julio Gonzalez statue.
In the middle of Renaissance and Classic masterpieces, be ready to contemplate..

This Festival AR(t]CHIPEL places a certain cultural diversity at the heart of its programming. De facto, the shows and exhibitions, which are presented, reflect the richness of the various cultures that coexist in our globalized world. It is a true invitation to explore new perspectives, but also to discover distant artistic traditions, and to celebrate what makes us different and unique. For information, this first edition of this new concept is considered a true “outside the walls” festival, which invites everyone to come and discover more than 40 contemporary artworks, coming from the Centre Pompidou but not only.


..hide different periods from unmissable French paintings to stop by.
Among those various treasures from Italian Renaissance and Primitifs..

Thus, these masterpieces are scattered throughout the region and exhibited in dialogue with other more classic works or with their hosting site. This is particularly the case of the Musée des Beaux-Arts (Museum of Fine Arts) in Tours, with the loan of some key pieces from the Centre Pompidou, stored in a context with a notable connection.

This is the case for legendary places, such as the Maison Max Ernst in Huismes, not far from the house of the composer Dutillieux, or the CCC OD (for Center de Création Contemporaine Olivier Debré), based in the lovely city of Tours.


Musée des Beaux-Arts de Tours, 18 Place François Sicard, 37000 Tours (France) / Phone : 00 33 (0)2 42 88 05 90. More information on their official website. a sense, loyal to the essence of his abstract art.
This CCC OD center is a real tribute to Olivier Debré..

By the way, within this contemporary art center, you would be naturally able to contemplate certain paintings which are hung in the white gallery, notably coming from Paris and they can be seen until February 25th, 2024.

Indeed, inseparably linked to the Touraine region, Olivier Debré used to often get through the banks of the Loire river as much as he could, on the lookout for its innumerable facets which he recorded in large paintings in homage to this mysterious river. Focusing on the strong emotions felt in front of those endless landscapes, he paid many efforts to illustrate them into abstract art. ready for amazing pieces of modern art, from the former Bourbon Island.
The entrance of this exhibition is as turquoise as the Indian Ocean..

After the contribution of his family to create this nearly entirely dedicated art center, baptized CCCOD (for Center for Contemporary Creation Olivier Debré), whose minimalist architecture was entrusted to the Portuguese firm Aires Mateus. In this design of transparency and light, enjoy a subtle play of light, built on the site of the former School of Fine Arts. This is where you can as well admire temporary exhibitions, such as the Astèr Atèrla installation, devoted to Reunion Island artists. Unless you prefer the plastic art of the Iranian artists, proposed by the trio Ramin Haerizadeh, Ronni Haerizadeh and Hesam Rahmanian, proposed as Le Diwan Du Démon (pictured upon).


Centre de Création Contemporaine Olivier Debré (CCC OD), Jardin François 1er, 37000 Tours (France) / Phone : 00 33 (0)2 47 66 50 00. More information on their official website.

..before having more explanation from the region president.
The majestic wooden entrance of the wine cellar needs a stop..

In order to learn more about Olivier Debré‘s private life and connection to Loire Valley, the Festival AR(t]CHIPEL offered an exclusive visit of his family house. This huge habitat, which remained closed upon his death in 1999, also hosts a troglodyte workshop, still located in the Indre-et-Loire department, where the artist found inspiration for his various famous realizations.

Known as Les Madères estate, it opened therefore its doors exclusively on the occasion of this festival, don’t miss the opportunity very soon to discover this extraordinary place of creation.


..the stuff remains identical since he left this workshop.
This is where Olivier Debré used to compose his canvases..

Thus, Olivier Debré wanted this home as much exceptionally colorful as possible, by its volumes and its location, conveying the lair of his work and his artistic reflection. Les Madères property has belonged to the Debré family since the 1930s, and still perpetuates the artistic spirit all over the rooms. 

This property, consisting of a large residence built halfway up the hillside, is framed by terraces, offering magnificent viewpoints over the Cisse and the Loire Valley. These terraces border the dwellings and the troglodyte cellars of the property which pierce the entire tuffeau composed hillside.


..where this kind of habitat is common in the region.
The brut stones were digged to constitute a staircase..

On the program of its exceptional opening, the Festival AR(t]CHIPEL gave the opportunity, from October 27th to November 5th, 2023, to experiment free meetings and visits, upon reservation.

A good occasion for the visitors to immerse into the painter‘s past, and eventually better understand his universe. The Madères even hosted a conference with Jean-Pierre Changeux, a notorious neurobiologist, on November 1st, on the theme of recent discoveries of emotional feeling, in the notion of “Neuronal Man”.


Les Madères property, more information on the Festival AR(t]CHIPEL‘s official website.

..just beneath the freshly renovated Stravinsky Fountain.
The legendary colorful facade of the Centre Pompidou..

The Centre Pompidou in Paris may be considered as a model of what must be done to popularize contemporary art, within a vast and iconic site in the French capital. This emblematic place gathers a museum with a living space, including a splendid panorama above the City of Lights‘ rooftops, starring a library, among numerous activities for all ages.

In addition, the president of the Centre Pompidou, named Laurent Le Bon is also the president of the Calder Foundation, which makes him a choice interlocutor for this American artist who was a lover of this charming Loire Valley

Likewise, an additional step on this journey full of surprises, with the workshop where Calder had established himself for a few years.

..all settled in the Calder‘s workshop perspective.
A wide panorama over many zeros to count..

Located in Saché in Indre-et-Loire, this former workshop of the American sculptor is a place of residence and artistic creation. The artworks created by the different artists, who follow one another in residence, are presented to the public at the end of each residence during a studio visit. Which will be the case for the current Finnish artist Kristina Sedlerova Villanen, who will present her analysis around the number zero.

As the art world continues to evolve, the Festival AR(t]CHIPEL is therefore poised to continue to inspire and amaze creative minds for years to come. 


Atelier Calder, 12 Route du Carroi, 37190 Saché (France) / Phone: 00 33 (0)2 47 45 29 29. More information on their official website.

..don’t hesitate to visit one of them, for more appreciation of this glorious past.
The city of Richelieu is full of elegant mansions, that were modern for that time..

Not far from there, stands the famous city of Richelieu, a so-called ville nouvelle that was built between 1631 and 1642. Its particular configuration wears the imprint of its founder and sponsor, the legendary Cardinal Richelieu, and constitutes a remarkable testimony to 17th century urban structure.

Also surnamed as “Ideal city”, Richelieu was designed by the famous architect Jacques Lemercier, based on a checkerboard plan, that was modeled on Roman towns or medieval bastides. Thus, the city is structured around two main squares, those are Place Royale and Place du Cardinal, and is surrounded by ramparts and monumental gates. discover their approaches and their inspirations.
Directly standing upon the river, let’s meet various artists.. 

Nowadays, Richelieu represents a true leading heritage site, included in a protection perimeter and benefiting from a safeguarding and development plan since 1997. Inside this uncommon framework stands an alternative and collective workshop, called La Teinturerie. This cultural center, inspired by the builders of the “ideal city”, is impulsed by various inspired artists and also participates to this Festival AR(t]CHIPEL. On the menu of this first edition, admire and even taste the culinary art of Jonathan Bablon, exhibited on original pieces of wood. Thus, La Teinturerie regularly organize encounters, focused on different themes, offering a safe and warm space to discuss, share and learn. 


..without forgetting that you may organize a cocktail time upon those structures.
The creations of Jonathan Bablon smell the spirit of the forest..

Therefore, those convivial moments allow everyone to express themselves, while connecting with individuals from all backgrounds.

Apart from this, Art constitutes the common thread of this local cultural commitment, essentially by holding artistic exhibitions. Whether it is photography, illustration or painting, each art installation is an invitation to travel through his artworks. These events allow to discover new talents, but also to interact directly with the artists, such as Julien Des Monstiers, whose workshop is also possible to visit, upon rendez-vous


La Teinturerie – Richelieu, 19 Rue des Écluses, 37120 Richelieu (France) / Phone : 00 33 (0)6 60 05 30 31. More information on their official website.

..but once inside, plenty of classical sheet music and instruments.
From outside, a classical mansion, with a bright view over Loire river..

Adding to this, during the Festival AR(t]CHIPEL period, this concentration will be reinforced on the Loire Valley territory with this time more succinct presentations such as the Maison Dutilleux-Joy in Candes-Saint-Martin, at the confluence of the Loire and the Vienne rivers. In fact, the Maison Dutilleux-Joy used to be the house of the composer Henri Dutilleux and his wife Geneviève Joy.

Nowadays, this typical Loire mansion pursues its task of being a place of residence, since many composers stay there to work, for periods between 3 months and 1 year.



..such as this cello solo, at the occasion of the Festival AR(t]CHIPEL.
The Collégiale Saint-Martin often hosts indoor or outdoor concerts..

Thus, bordering the Loire river, from October 27th to November 5th, 2023, an exhibition, vibing between video and violin, was presented by Manon de Boer and George van Dam.

Without forgetting that regular musicians perform inside this memory house or in other major sites of this cultural village of Candes-Saint-Martin. This was the case during the Festival AR(t]CHIPEL, where various concerts were dotted inside the house, but also throughout the streets of the village, and even in the garden with the ancestral song band, called Ensemble Ptyx.



Maison Dutilleux-Joy, 10 Rue du Confluent, 37500 Candes-Saint-Martin (France). More information on their official website.

..where a major composition of Max Ernst stands on the walls.
Another classical Loire Valley so-called longère..

Another celebrity has declared domicile in this lovely region… This is the case of the German painter and sculptor Max Ernst and his wife, the American artist Dorothea Tanning who both lived in Huismes from 1955 to 1968. Indeed, Max Ernst was a major figure in the Dada and Surrealist movements and in 20th century art, who fell in love with Loire Valley

Thus, after just receiving the Grand Prize at the Venice Biennale in 1954, the couple decided to move in this old Pin farm, in Huismes, which they named “the Pin Perdu”.



..but also you could admire the ceramics of Anne Martini.
Some temporary exhibitions sometimes appear..

A peaceful and quiet location for this artist, always in quest of inspiration, who adopted this Touraine region, in order to produce a substantial work in terms of painting and sculpture, until 1968. Nowadays, this intact so-called Max Ernst and Dorothea Tanning House offers a wide set of free-access exhibitions, concerts and even conferences. On top of that, an important documentary collection, dedicated to them but also some other surrealist artists, such as Soutine, Calder and Duchamp, are accessible to researchers and students. Icing on the cake, residences for artists and authors as well punctuate the life of this dynamic Max Ernst House.


Max Ernst and Dorothea Tanning House, Le Pin Perdu, 12 rue de la Chancellerie 37420 Huismes (France) / Phone: 00 33 (0)6 89 93 52 23. More information on their official website.

..divinely highlighted by these elegant lightings on this stoned facade.
From the porch of the ramparts, enter a true Wonderland..

Without forgetting the countless artworks skillfully stored around the Château du Rivau, built in 1442, under the leadership of the De Bauveau family (an old local family dating from the year 1000). Most of those vestiges or more recent pieces somehow recall the myth of the Merveilleux, dating from the early times of construction of the castle.

Indeed, built between the Middle Ages and the Renaissance, the Château du Rivau has as for its green setting a six-hectare park, classified as a Jardin Remarquable since 2003, where a real medieval spirit reigns around its fifteen thematic gardens.


..such as this uncommon wooden medieval tower.
Look around you and you would notice some artistic surprises..

Nearby Chinon, this gigantic park is a true open-air art museum, has been designed since 1995 by Patricia Laigneau, evokes medieval parks where surprising artworks, such as sculptures, harmoniously ally love and surprises. Nowadays, be ready for a set of contemporary art, prepared by a set of recognized contemporary artists at every turn.

Among them, we can count on Pierre Ardouvin, Fabien Verschaere, Lilian Bourgeat, Stephan Nikolaev, Julien Des Montiers… Don’t forget to have a look after visiting those medieval parks, and revisit numerous poetry symbols inside the castle.


..not far from the lovers‘ corner, full of romantic symbols to appropriate yourself.
Julien Des Montiers built this unpredictable hut, to admire from its peephole eye.. 

This is where you would face countless surprising art installations, made by Ange Leccia, Julien Salaud, Jan Fabre, Kim Kototamalune, Karine Bonneval, Nadia Sabourrin, Panamarenko, Olivier Masmonteil, Armelle Blary, Urs Luti, Vee Speers

Also remember that the Chateau Du Rivau, as being a member of the Festival AR(t]CHIPEL, proposes every year a new exhibition theme, developed in coordination with the Loire Valley region, and on this year 2023, the theme has been finally decided to be baptized Land Of Creation



..although it’s not obviously visible from outside, due to the well-preserved state.
This Castle succeeds to marry ancient decoration with a modern touch..

We can thus find a certain homage to Calder with a Contemplations series, produced here by Laurent Pernot, along various artworks from Max Ernst (in collaboration with his wife Dorothea Fanning), but also the Tempest creation (a bronze sculpture preserved under glass), imagined by Nicolas Darrot.  

For instance, spread between the different preserved rooms of the Castle, why don’t you set foot on these flint slabs, and admire these incredible period pieces? Each exhibition hall may hide another, for a succession of artistic surprises and emotions.


..surrounded by traditional outdoor devices, like this well.
A true exhibition space, adorned with giant fireplaces..

Thus, the forty artists, gathered at this eclectic Château du Rivau, have all forged artistic links with this bucolic Loire Valley framework but also with the couple of landlords.

Indeed, since the acquisition of this Castle, the couple Patricia and Éric Laigneau have paid many efforts to renovate it and transform this marvelous edifice into a true art center. Apart from this, don’t miss that a boutique hotel with luxury rooms also wait for your venue, along a gastronomic table, known under La Table Des Fées. Perfect to become a prince the time of a night.


Château du Rivau, 9 Rue du Château, 37120 Lémeré (France) / Phone : 00 33 (0)2 47 95 77 47. More information on their official website.

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