Thursday, 13 June 2013

Provence and Paris - A fantastic destination for any photography enthusiast

Greetings from Avignon, France...

For me there is no other region in the world that stirs my imagination and stimulates my senses as strongly as Provence. The soft light and its stunning landscape of pastel colours have inspired writers and artists from F. Scott Fitzgerald to Van Gogh and Picasso. The fragrant countryside with its wild herbs is scattered with historic fortified medieval towns, all Just waiting for you to explore.

The Luberon, a protected area in the south of France, ranks amongst the most beautiful areas of Provence. This is the Provence made famous by artists and Hollywood, the historic villages of the Luberon Valley (Menerbes, Roussillon, Gourdes, Bonnieux, Lacoste) are France’s answer to the Hamptons in the United States… and to the west, Avignon, a destination unique unto itself.

Framed by 4.3km of preserved stone ramparts, this graceful city is the belle of Provence’s ball.  After having its turn as the seat of Papal power bestowed upon it, Avignon with a bevy of magnificent art and architecture, none grander than the massive medieval fortress and papal palace, the Palais des Papes, has now turned into a must see location in the area.

Famed for its annual performing arts festival, these days Avignon is an ideal spot from which to step out into the surrounding region. But before you venture out of Avignon, just mere steps from the downtown lies the fabled bridge, the Pont St-Bénézet, aka the Pont d’Avignon.

And then there is Gordes, a town perched as if it was placed by some divine presence, equipped with stunning views, inspiring architecture, and the host of some of the most amazing lavender fields you will ever capture with your lens. But a must visit for any photographer is Notre-Dame de Senanque, a Cistercian abbey near the village of Gordes.

But what I found truly unique to the Luberon Valley near Gordes  were these small, dry-stone buildings called bories scattered throughout the countryside. There are several in the countryside in the immediate vicinity of the village, including the famous trois soldats.

If you want to visit this area I am leading a semi-private workshop for a maximum of 4 people starting July 15 of 2014. There are only two spots available and we already started to book hotels and creating the exact itinerary.

Our trip will see us spend a few days in Camargue to photograph along the seaside, have photographic sessions with the Camargue horses and experience the Mediterranean area before we head north into Provence.

In Provence we will visit Avignon, Arles, Gordes and the Luberon Valley to photograph the landscape, lavender and medieval structures. 

Halfway through our 8 days we will take a high speed train to Paris and spend the remainder of the workshop shooting the Parisian highlights during the day and night. I have been to Paris numerous times and we will be hitting the highlights at the right time of day to maximize the best light. We will also be bringing in two professional models with a goal of capturing the true spirit of the city of love through the eyes of young lovers.

Here is the itinerary as it exists right now…

Day One
July 13th
Arrive in Marseilles airport in the afternoon and meet at a predetermined location at or near the airport.
Drive rental van from Marseilles to Hôtel Les Rizières in Les Stes Maries de la Mer and check into hotel.
Spend balance of the day taking photos along Mediterranean seaside and of Flamingos in Parc that surrounds the hotel and area.
Visit local ranches where the horses will be in fields and the bulls will be in fields.
Day Two
Early morning photo shoot of Camargue horses in surf
Go and photograph horses and bulls in fields in the area.
Go through our photos from the morning session.
Photo shoot with Camargue horses later in the day seaside.
Day Three
City of Arles as it is market day and the artisans and farmers come into the city and sell their products. It is 35 minutes from the hotel.
Other things to photograph in Arles are the ancient Roman coliseum,  Abbey of Montmajour, and Theatre Antique.
Go through the photos over lunch.
Photograph the fields in Aux du Provence and go to Avignon later in the day. Check into hotel
Head to Pont du Gard and photograph the aqueduct before sunset and at sunset.
Day Four
Drive to the Senanque abbey surrounded by lavender fields, then go to village of Gordes, rest of day in the lavender fields. We will spend from before sunrise to after sunset in the countryside photographing Lavendar, mountain regions, Baux en Provence, herb fields, the city of Gordes.
Go through the photos over lunch.
We will look for numerous dry-stone buildings called bories scattered throughout the countryside. There are several in the countryside in the immediate vicinity of the village, including this famous trois soldats and drive to Luberon Regional Parc to photograph more mountainous regions of the south of France near Apt and Garges
Day Five
Sunrise shoot on the Rhone river at the castle with the infamous old bridge and then photograph some of the ramparts, towers, belfries and palaces. (if we want more lavender we will drive early to the lavender fields, possibly back to Senanque and be back by 11:30am.)
Drop off rental car and the train to Paris leaves at 12:30pm and arrives at 3:11 at Gare Lyon in Paris. – (Spend the time on the train to go through photos.)
Go to hotel, check-in and we will head to the Eiffel tower, along the Sienne River and over to the Louvre and surrounding area for a night shoot that extends after dark.
Day Six
An all-day city tour via the metro and walking… Sacre Coeur, Montmartre cemetery, Moulin Rouge, Musee d'Orsay, la Louvre, Notre Dame Cathedral, arc de triumph, French cityscape and intimate street settings, Latin quarter. – day will end in Montmarte for night photography of illuminated Sacre Coeur and Moulin Rouge.
Go through the photos over lunch to make sure we are taking the photos you want.
We will leave the hotel before sunrise and come back to hotel after sunset.
Day Seven
We will pick the spots we liked best from the 2 days before and bring models for a morning and an early evening shoot at these locations. We will have one female and one male model and photograph French lovers, unique poses of models in different outfits.
When shooting models we can have the photos sent to the laptop via eye-fi cards so we can look at the images as we go.
Between two model shoots we can either take model around the city or photograph the gardens throughout the city
Day Eight
One last time to go through the images that were taken during the previous seven days.
Depart for home as flights demand

Price: $5795 USD. A $750USD deposit is required for this workshop.

Single Accommodation
Breakfast each morning
Dinner Each night
Domestic travel, including van and high speed rail to Paris.
Models in Paris

Not Included:
Personal costs such as internet, phone
Travel Insurance
International Airfare
Anything not listed as included

If this workshop interests you, please contact me. This is a private workshop that was designed for a friend of mine. But if you want to come along, we are opening up a maximum of 2 more spots. If you book early you can have your input in the final itinerary for this workshop. My email address is