Fondation Carmignac : An Art Collection on an Island in the South of France

A Trip to the south of France art collection Fondation CarmignacThe Art Museum You Visit With Bare Feet!An Art Collection you can visit on an Island in the South Of FranceWhat To Know Before Visiting The Fondation Carmignac, Ile de Porquerolles, FranceThe Coolest Private Art Collection in the South Of France

L’île de Porquerolles is the unlikely home of a French art foundation’s private art collection in the south of France. As part of the Îles d’Hyères group of islands in the Var department of Provence-Alpes-Côte d’Azur, Porquerolles is the home of just 200 people – yet it receives thousands of tourists each day during the height of the summer season!

The island is a fabulous place to explore as it remains relatively underdeveloped, due to being majority-owned by the French state. One of Jean-Luc Godard’s most famous films “Pierrot Le Fou” was partially filmed on Île de Porquerolles, too, which proves its timeless beauty.

For me, the main reason I wanted to visit the island was to see the Fondation Carmignac – a private art collection which just opened this past June!

Created in 2000 by art collector Édouard Carmignac, the Fondation Carmignac focuses on managing a private art collection of nearly 300 pieces, and a Photojournalism Award which it bestows annually. The Villa Carmignac displays the collection to the public and hosts various events. It manages works by famous artists such as Roy Lichtenstein, Gerhard Richter, and Jean-Michel Basquiat!

Incredibly, I visited the Villa Carmignac just ONE day after the French President and his wife.

Nevertheless, I had a fantastic time during the 6 or so hours I was there!

Here’s a couple tips if you’d like to visit the Fondation Carmignac, which is open every day through November 4th of this year!

How to Get to the Fondation Carmignac and Île de Porquerolles

I stayed in Toulon, and took a round trip ferry from the port directly to the island. The trip takes about 1 hour and 15 minutes, one way. There are two companies which go to Porquerolles from Toulon:

They both cost the same price (29 euros) for a round trip ticket, however Bateliers de la Côte d’Azur departs a half hour earlier in the morning! That company was sold out for the entire week when I went, so I ended up taking Bateliers de la Rade at 9:30am.

Definitely try to book as far in advance as possible during the high season!

Be sure to visit the Office of Tourism of Toulon (or wherever you are staying), as they sell a limited quantity of discounted tickets for these companies. You can save 3 euros per ticket. Unfortunately these sell out fast, and I wasn’t able to take advantage of this, but if you go a few days in advance, you might have better luck than me!

You can also reach Porquerolles from the following ports:

Once you get to the island, the foundation entrance is just a short, 15 minute walk from the harbor!

When to Visit the Fondation Carmignac

I recommend visiting the museum in the morning when there are fewer visitors. The foundation actually limits the number of people who enter to just 50 per half-hour.

This year, the Foundation is open until November 4th according to the following hours:

September : 10am – 7pm
October & November: 10am – 6pm

Be sure to arrive about 2 hours before closing time at the latest!

Next year, it will be open from the beginning of April through early November.

If you wish to visit in the afternoon, free guided tours are available from Tuesday to Sunday at 2pm.

Buying Tickets to the Fondation Carmignac

You should definitely reserve your tickets a few days ahead of time on the website!

Tickets are 15 euros for one adult, with reduced rates available.

The time you select entitles you to enter during the 30-minutes which follow it.

I selected 10:30 am (which allowed me to enter from 10:30-11am), but I actually arrived 5 minutes past 11 as my boat trip took a bit longer than expected, and thankfully the guy at the gate had no problem with my tardiness.

What to Bring to the Fondation Carmignac

Bags: The Villa has large lockers where you can store your bags if you need to, which is super handy. Be sure to bring a 1 euro coin with you to open/close the locker itself, but you will get this back at the end, so it’s free to store your stuff. The first locker I found had a bug inside it, so take a peek before locking your stuff especially if you’re storing food!

Shoes: I recommend wearing comfortable walking shoes as the grounds are quite expansive and unpaved!

Food: Generally speaking you should bring food with you to the island, as food there is quite expensive. The Foundation offers a “Buvette” where you can eat your lunch on-site!

Other than that, you don’t really need much except a camera and a bottle of water in case it’s very hot out!

“Sea of Desire” Exhibition at the Fondation Carmignac

The Foundation recommends you start viewing the exhibition from inside the building first and then explore the surrounding grounds.

The first exhibition that has been produced is called “Sea of Desire” and refers to a large scale outdoor artwork produced by Ed Ruscha.

At the entrance, you’ll find a gift shop, and when you walk inside there are bookcases to the left. This is where you’ll keep your shoes while you explore the indoor part of the exhibition. Yep, that’s right – you will explore the collection barefoot while you’re there! Only inside, of course. Outside, shoes are definitely necessary!

The building is really cool inside. You start out by walking downstairs to the first level, where you explore the different rooms filled with art. Certain windows have beautiful shapes and create a lovely view of the surrounding grounds. You’ll then walk back upstairs for the second part of the exhibition, and then make your way outdoors to see the outdoor art.

In total, I spent about 3 hours exploring the entire space! I think you could probably do everything in just 2 hours though if you move quickly.

Bare Feet Inside The Fondation Carmignac, Ile De Porquerolles

Bare feet time!

Fondation Carmignac Ile De Porquerolles

First art downstairs

Bruce Nauman, One Hundred Fish Fountain, 2005, Fondation Carmignac, France

Bruce Nauman, One Hundred Fish Fountain, 2005

Bruce Nauman, One Hundred Fish Fountain, 2005, Fondation Carmignac, France

Bruce Nauman, One Hundred Fish Fountain, 2005

Bruce Nauman, Bruce Nauman, One Hundred Fish Fountain, 2005, Fondation Carmignac, France

Bruce Nauman, Bruce Nauman, One Hundred Fish Fountain, 2005

Roy Lichtenstein, Fondation Carmignac

Roy Lichtenstein

Sandro Botticelli And Roy Lichtenstein Fondation Carmignac Ile De Porquerolles_20180816_DSC_0728

Sandro Botticelli and Roy Lichtenstein

Sandro Botticelli, Fondation Carmignac

Sandro Botticelli, Vénus, around 1487

Mark Rothko, Fondation Carmignac

Mark Rothko

Bernard Frize, Fondation Carmignac

Bernard Frize

Gerhard Richter And Willem De Kooning Fondation Carmignac

Gerhard Richter & Willem De Kooning

Jean-Michel Basquiat, Fondation Carmignac

Jean-Michel Basquiat

Martial Raysse, Fondation Carmignac

Martial Raysse

Miquel Barceló, Fondation Carmignac

Miquel Barceló

Jacob Hashimoto, Fondation Carmignac

Jacob Hashimoto

Beautiful Window View At The Fondation Carmignac, Ile De Porquerolles, France

Cool window

Richard Prince, Fondation Carmignac

I have doubts about this Richard Price work being created in 2004 as Instagram was not yet invented at that time. I think the Foundation made a date error!

Beautiful Window View At The Fondation Carmignac, Ile De Porquerolles, France

What a view!

Ed Ruscha, Fondation Carmignac, Ile De Porquerolles, France

Ed Ruscha

Ed Ruscha, The Study of Friction and Wear on Mating Surfaces, Fondation Carmignac

Ed Ruscha, The Study of Friction and Wear on Mating Surfaces

What was cool about the indoor part of the exhibition was there was quite a few ancient art pieces juxtaposed against really contemporary or modern art works!

After the indoor portion, it was time to head outside to explore the museum grounds!

Outside the Fondation Carmignac, Ile De Porquerolles, France

Outside the Fondation Carmignac

Jean Denant, La Traversée, Fondation Carmignac, France

Jean Denant, La Traversée

Looking Back At The Villa Fondation Carmignac, Ile De Porquerolles, France

Looking Back at the Villa Fondation Carmignac: You can see Jean Denant, La Traversée, on the wall.

Wang Keping LOLO Fondation Carmignac Ile De Porquerolles

Wang Keping, LOLO

Nils-Udo, Fondation Carmignac, Ile De Porquerolles, France

Nils-Udo, La couvée

Jaume Plensa, Les Trois Alchimistes, Fondation Carmignac Ile De Porquerolles, France

Jaume Plensa, Les Trois Alchimistes

Ugo Rondinone, Four Seasons, Fondation Carmignac, Ile De Porquerolles, France

Ugo Rondinone, Four Seasons

Ugo Rondinone, Four Seasons, Fondation Carmignac, Ile De Porquerolles, France

Ugo Rondinone, Four Seasons

Olaf Breuning, Mother Nature, Fondation Carmignac Ile De Porquerolles

Olaf Breuning, Mother Nature

Olaf Breuning, Mother Nature, Fondation Carmignac Ile De Porquerolles

Olaf Breuning, Mother Nature

Olaf Breuning, Mother Nature, Fondation Carmignac Ile De Porquerolles

Olaf Breuning, Mother Nature

Jeppe Hein, Path of Emotions, Fondation Carmignac, Ile De Porquerolles, France

Jeppe Hein, Path of Emotions

Jeppe Hein, Path of Emotions, Fondation Carmignac, Ile De Porquerolles, France

Jeppe Hein, Path of Emotions

Jeppe Hein, Path Of Emotions, Fondation Carmignac

Jeppe Hein, Path Of Emotions

Jeppe Hein, Path Of Emotions, Fondation Carmignac, France

Jeppe Hein, Path Of Emotions

Ed Ruscha, Sea of Desire, Fondation Carmignac, Ile De Porquerolles, France

Ed Ruscha, Sea of Desire

Ed Ruscha, Sea Of Desire, Fondation Carmignac

Ed Ruscha, Sea Of Desire

Ed Ruscha, Sea Of Desire, Fondation Carmignac

Ed Ruscha, Sea Of Desire

Plan your trip to the Fondation Carmignac today!

August 30, 2018
I’m an American photographer and writer based in Paris after living in New York for 7 years and then and spending a year and a half traveling. My work has been featured by the Paris and Nice Tourism Offices, Art Basel, and Refinery 29. Culture Passport is a place to share my travels and experiences in new places, with a focus on cultural attractions.

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