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.

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.”

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…

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.

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.

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.