From the iconic monuments along the Seine to the sunny southern towns that inspired Vincent van Gogh, experience France from two perspectives during a workshop that combines Paris and Provence. In Paris, photograph vibrant street life against the backdrop of architecture both elegant and eclectic. Go on photo shoots in the narrow lanes of Le Marais and the ornate gardens of Versailles, and find a new angle on the Eiffel Tower. Then head south to the soft pastel landscapes of Provence. Set out to capture the colorful markets and Roman ruins of Arles and frame the view from the hilltop hamlet of Les Baux.
This workshop is led by a National Geographic photographer and a professional instructor and is designed for amateurs who are interested in improving their digital photography. All participants must bring a digital SLR or mirrorless camera, a laptop computer, and software for organizing and presenting images. The workshop is limited to 25 participants.
The following is our planned itinerary; however, our schedule is flexible to allow for spontaneous photographic opportunities.
Itinerary - 7 Days
Day 1 — Paris, France
Arrive in Paris and check into our hotel in the heart of town, just steps from the Opéra and the Madeleine. Gather for introductions and an image presentation by your National Geographic photographer, and then enjoy a reception and dinner with your instructors and fellow photographers. Hotel Bedford (D)
Day 2 — Jardin des Tuileries, the Louvre, and the Palais Royale
With your camera in hand, stroll the gardens of the tree-lined Tuileries this morning, capturing images of everyday life among its sculptures and fountains. The gardens lead straight to the Louvre, where we’ll photograph the elegant façades and the frame the famous Pyramide from above and below. Finish off the assignment at two historic buildings nearby: the Palais Royale and the light-filled, mosaic-clad Galerie Vivienne. After lunch on your own, head to the classroom to edit and critique images from the morning’s shoot. As sunset approaches we cap off the day photographing the monuments from a different perspective on a boat ride on the River Seine. Hotel Bedford (B)
Day 3 — Versailles
Travel by train to Versailles, a former royal hunting lodge transformed into an immense, sumptuous palace by Louis XIV. Photograph the château’s gilded apartments, the dazzling Hall of Mirrors, and its world-renowned gardens on a morning photo shoot. Share a leisurely late lunch together before returning to Paris for a late afternoon session in the classroom to edit and critique the day’s images. Hotel Bedford (B,L)
Day 4 — Le Marais/Arles
Stop at Bastille on our way to Le Marais, one of the city’s oldest quarters, once an aristocratic neighborhood, then a Jewish quarter, and now a thriving hub of artists and galleries. Our photo walk passes through the architecturally exquisite Place des Vosges, an important example of early European city planning, and ends at the whimsical Centre Pompidou. Return to the hotel to pack, grab a quick lunch, and depart mid-afternoon on the TGV, or high-speed train, for the south of France. Upon arrival in Arles, get settled into our charming hotel. (B)
Day 5 — Arles/Abbey de Montmajour
Arles is a delightful town of cobbled lanes built around spectacular Roman ruins that have been designated a World Heritage site by UNESCO. Delve into the heart of Arles at its liveliest--during the Saturday morning market—and photograph the bright colors of market stalls and the remarkable juxtaposition of medieval and ancient architecture here. This afternoon, go on assignment to the Abbaye de Montmajour, a fortified Benedictine monastery founded in the 10th century, and, more recently, the location for the Katherine Hepburn film, “The Lion in Winter.” Return our classroom for an edit-and-critique session this evening. (B)
Day 6 — Saint-Rémy-de-Provence/Les Baux
Today explore the stunning Provençal landscapes that once inspired Vincent Van Gogh. On the outskirts of Saint-Rémy-de-Provence, stroll through Saint Paul de Mausole, the asylum where Van Gogh spent some of his last months. Wander the gardens and nearby olive groves, framing scenes that he once immortalized in paint. Just a short walk from the clinic lies the fortified Gallo-Roman city of Glanum, where photographic opportunities abound among the well-preserved ruins. Venture into the pastel-hued center of St. Rémy for lunch and time to explore. Then travel across the rugged limestone bluffs of the Alpilles to Les Baux, a hamlet built into the mountain crags. Climb up the picturesque winding lanes, photographing age-old churches and cottages in this magnificent setting, and shooting the panoramic view of orchards and vineyards far below. Return to Arles for a final edit-and-critique session followed by a festive farewell dinner. (B,D)
Day 7 — Arles/Home
After breakfast, gather for an image presentation of the best photographs from the week followed by a final question-and-answer session with your instructors. The workshop concludes at noon. (B)