When you come into Saint-Béat, you can find the “Brèche Romaine”, an old quarry that dates back to the time of the Romans. The story tells that in this quarry the “Monolith of Lez” has been carved out. A column of almost 30 meters that was meant to become the Column of Trajan. But the column never arrived in Rome and probably stayed in Lez, the nearest town.
But if you take a close look at the quarry you still can find the traces.
My sculpture “The Monolith” , made of marble of Saint-Béat, is placed next to the “Brèche Romaine”
the quarry of Rap
The village of Saint-Béat is situated in the south of France in a beautiful narrow valley of the Garonne and is surrounded by mountains rich of marble. At the time of the Romans the place was well-known as “Passus-Lupi” (Passage of the wolfs) and famous for its quarries.The marble was used to built Roman towns as Lugdunum Convenarum, which is called Saint-Bertrand-de-Comminges today.
Later on the marble was used for many monuments and palaces. During Louis ⅪⅤ it was used for the fountains and sculptures in Versailles.Today new quarries are used in Saint-Béat. The quarry of Rap ,in the mountain of Rie, is one of the biggest underground quarries . It is almost 40 kilometers long and divided into different floors.
Since the year 2000 the “Association Marbre & Arts” (www.marbre-et-arts.fr) organizes a festival of sculpture and marble (“Festival de la sculpture et du marbre”) in Saint-Béat. During three weeks every summer the village becomes again “the city of marble” and the marble of Saint-Béat has again all the attention, for its history and as material for contemporary sculpture. And every year a monumental sculpture is placed permanently in town and this year I had the honour to make a sculpture for Saint-Béat.