An old quarry served as an inspiration for one of the most important post-impressionist painters in Europe. In fact, many claim this quarry is the birthplace of an entire artistic movement: Cubism .
Paul Cezanne sat and painted the landscape of the ancient Bibémus quarries, carved into a hill near his home above the city of Aix-en-Provence. From the Roman era up to the 18th century, sandstone blocks were extracted, shaped and assembled by tradespeople to form a distinctive urban landscape. The characteristic pale stone has been used to construct numerous civic monuments that serve to showcase the area’s geological heritage.
It is no surprise that that Cezanne found this quarry landscape fascinating. Looking close at the surface of these human-made cliffs, we quickly recognize the landscape was formed by a seemingly infinite number of strokes and blows of pickaxes. Today, Bibémus Quarry  is an open-door museum where you can walk along Cezanne’s footsteps and find his inspiration for the colour, light and brushstrokes for many of his paintings. The quarry is an excellent example of how a site for the extraction of raw materials of historical structures can itself become a cultural monument. It is difficult to ignore the intimate connection between the quarry, nearby urban landscape and the people it has served throughout a millennium. Learn more about natural construction materials at EuroLithos.