Les Pierres Bleues

It was just under an hour's walk from Tafraoute to the painted rocks. I knew I was off to see a bunch of blue rocks, but was still surprised when the first spot of bright color came into view on the horizon. The landscape was odd enough without the paint, a patchwork of savannah and giant sandstone boulders, piled in seemingly man-made clusters like the Devil's Marbles. Hampi came to mind, as well as the bright blue rock temples of Jabalpur. I hadn't seen another human since the last town a few kilometers back, the one below the Chapeau de Napoleon. The dirt road had petered off as well, somewhere in the tall grass behind.

But with 15 tons of bright paint doused over the rocks ahead, there was no chance of losing the target. Just over 25 years ago it had been the work of a Belgian artist, Jean Verane. Although simple, Verane's project managed to turn a few piles of rocks into a kind of fairyland, something completely foreign, the kind of place in which a traveler might feel they've traveled somewhere. If it weren't for the giant rip in my now-useless pants from losing my footing before launching over a blue crevice, I'd have liked to ask on the long walk back what the local Berbers, whose sheep still graze nearby, have to say about Les Pierres Bleues.


Valerie said...

looks like a Dr. Seuss book :)

Shery said...


ej510 said...

Those are so weird! I can hear you saying Les Pierres Bleues in French. Great pictures.