Provence Photo Tour Details
• June 23 to July 2, 2018 (9 nights)
• $5,995, single supplement $745
• Group size: min 5, max 12
• Tour starts & ends at Marseille airport
Lavender and sunflowers in full bloom, white horses running through the surf, flamingos, charming French villages, and best of all, you are there to capture it all on our Provence Photo Tour.
This region of France offers so many photographic opportunities and versatility in such a small area that we could not pass up offering it as a Photo Tour.
The timing for our Provence Photo Tour is scheduled to coincide with the lavender and sunflower bloom. For 2018 we have extended the tour to 9 nights and have added two full days (4 sessions) to photograph the famous white horses of the Camargue. We will team with a local photographer Patrice Aguilar who has had years of experience working with the horses and their guardians/cowboys. It is so thrilling (and safe) to rapid-fire shoot when the horses come charging toward us and then pet them between runs when they peacefully rested and munched on marsh grasses. Click here for a more detailed blog post about our experience photographing the horses earlier this year.
In between the photo shoots with the horses, we have plenty of time to also visit the bird sanctuary to photograph storks, herons, ducks, beavers and flamingos and explore the interesting nearby town of Saintes-Maries-de-la-Mer.
After our photo sessions with the white horses we spend our days following the “Route de la Lavande” as well as exploring and photographing the many villages and sites along the way. The Luberon region alone has five villages ranked among “The Most Beautiful Villages in France.”
Join us for this nine-day Provence Photo Tour for an experience of a lifetime!
- The end of June to mid July is the best time to photograph the vast lavender fields of southern France.
- The white horses of the Camargue are a natural addition to this popular tour. Wow, lavender, sunflowers, white horses, flamingos and quaint villages!
- This tour is timed to coincide with the lavender bloom on the famous Valensole Plateau, the Sault Plateau and the Luberon Valley.
- Sunflower fields are often in bloom at this time of year as well and we find lavender and sunflowers in bloom side-by-side!
- We visit some of the most beautiful villages in southern France including Bonnieux, Lourmarin, Roussillon, Lacoste, Gordes, Saignon, Oppede le Vieux, L’Isle-sur-la-Sorgue, Saint-Saturnin-les-Apt, Viens, Forcalquier, Greoux-les-Bains and Moustiers-Ste-Marie.
- This region is known for its exquisite cuisine and wines.
- The outdoor weekly markets in the villages of Provence offer some great photo ops as well as fantastic shopping!
- We will also take time to share images and learn post processing and in-the-field techniques.
- In addition to great photography opportunities on this Provence Photo Tour we will have time for photo sharing and critiques. We will also be lecturing on photographic topics including:
- Digital Workflow
- Panoramic Photography
- Depth of Field calculation
- Focal Blending
- Blue Hour Photography
- Filters, Neutral Density and Neutral Density Grads
- Photoshop and Lightroom Tips and Tricks
- Nik software
Our Provence Photo Tour participants will meet at the Marseille Airport Best Western Hotel at 10:30 am. There are a handful of other hotels nearby if you don’t want to stay at the Best Western the night before. We then proceed southwest to the seaside village of Saintes-Maries-de-la-Mer, our home base for the next three evenings. After checking into our 4-star hotel we will have a group meeting and orientation. In the afternoon you will have the option of visiting and photographing herons, storks, flamingos, ducks and beavers in the nearby bird sanctuary Pont de Gau. Or you may wish to relax at the hotel by the pool to rest up for the early morning, pre-sunrise departure on June 24 for our first session with the white horses.
We will have four action-packed sessions with the white horses running through the surf and marshes. Two early morning and two sunset sessions. Our local photo guide, Patrice Aguilar, will be organizing the photo sessions with the horse guardians, guide us to the most advantageous and safe spots to shoot from and offer photographic support.
We say goodbye to the Camargue and leave Saintes-Maries-de-la-Mer at 10 am for Roussillon which is our home base for the next three nights. The drive will take about 2 hours and after checking into our hotel we have have a leisurely lunch and explore the village of Roussillon. In the afternoon we will drive 30 minutes south to the very photogenic village of Lourmarin. We will photograph its charming architecture and a beautiful winding staircase in a medieval fortress.
Today we head north to the very intriguing high-elevation landscape of the Sault Plateau, a vast area with fields of purple lavender and rich green grass that we can photograph from high vantage points. We will first visit the village of Sault to photograph its weekly farmer’s market. We will lunch in Sault before heading out to explore and photograph the wonderful surrounding countryside.
Today we visit one of the highlights of this region of Provence, the Abbey of Senanque, a twelfth-century Cistercian abbey which is now inhabited by a group of monks who grow lavender and keep honey bees and sell their own and other local products in a lovely gift shop. The lavender field in full bloom leading up to this beautiful building is one of the most photographed scenes in all of Provence. We will first visit the interior of the abbey, arriving early at 8:30 am and will have time to photograph before the large tour groups arrive. We will delay our photography session of the famous exterior for later in the day (the light is better in the afternoon) and head northwest to enjoy another wonderful Provencal lunch and photo session in the charming village of Venasque. This medieval village features steep lanes, creamy stone houses and a magnificent baptistery from the 11th century (it looks very old, indeed).
Mid-afternoon will find us back at the Senanque Abbey to capture some amazing images of this famous scene. For an auditory treat, we can duck into the old church for a moment and listen to the beautiful chanting of the monks. Leaving the abbey, we will stop in Gordes for a coffee break and stroll around town. We then proceed to the nearby hill town of Roussillon. This town with its amazing ochre colored architecture never fails to reward us with memorable photographs. We will arrive in the late afternoon and have dinner and a blue hour photography session before heading back to our comfy hotel.
10 am departure heading east for the one-hour drive to Manosque, our home-base for the next three nights allowing us easy access to the lavender fields of the Valensole Plateau. Lunch at the hotel restaurant and then a visit to the delightful car-free center of Manosque with great photo ops of lovely squares and colorful building facades. We will grab some take-out food for dinner and make our way up to the famous Valensole Plateau for our first session with the amazing lavender fields at sunset.
After breakfast Jim will lecture on a few important photographic techniques. At 11:30 am we head northeast for the one-hour drive to the charming mountain village of Moustiers-Ste-Marie. After lunch, we’ll be roaming the village with our cameras. At 4 pm we make our way southwest to the village of Greoux-les-Bains, searching for lavender and sunflower fields along the way. Greoux-les-Bains is a very charming and colorful Provencal village with ample wonderful photo ops. Early dinner back in Manosque.
4:30 am (ouch!) departure for sunrise on the Valensole Plateau. This is an incredible experience, photographing the sun coming up over vast fields of lavender in full bloom. After sunrise, we return to the hotel for a well-deserved breakfast and nap. After lunch in Manosque, we will have time for post processing, image sharing and processing lessons by Jim. 4 pm departure for the Valensole Plateau for late afternoon and sunset photography. Dinner in the village of Valensole.
Our Provence, France Photo Tour ends after breakfast (sigh!) and you will be transported back to the Marseille airport, departing at 10am.
Dates: June 23 to July 2, 2018 (9 nights)
Cost: $5,995 | single supplement $745
A $500 deposit will secure your spot. Click here to make your deposit »
What is included in this Provence, France Photo Tour?
- 9 nights lodging
- 4 sessions with the white horses of the Camargue
- rubber waders for the Camargue photo sessions
- All breakfasts
- Daily van transportation to photo locations
- Round trip shuttle between Marseille airport and our hotels at the beginning and end of the tour.
- All entrance fees and tolls.
- Jim’s & Magrit’s expertise in guiding and photographic instruction
Provence, France Photo Tour Level of physical difficulty: 2 out of 5
Much of the photography out in the countryside will find us close to our van. The villages will be somewhat more challenging as sometimes we have to park outside and walk up to the villages.
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Provence, France Photo Tour Personal Items and Weather Conditions
Temperature range for this time of year: 70º to 85º F.
Average monthly rainfall for this time of year: 1″. We have experienced some torrential afternoon showers and thunderstorms.
Try to pack light, as we will not have room in the van for more than one piece of luggage plus camera bags for each of us. Most airlines are now charging for more than one piece of checked baggage. I love the Osprey Ozone series of lightweight wheeled luggage. Magrit used the Ozone 28 for 2.5 months on the road and found it perfect. You will appreciate the lighter load when you have to haul your luggage up steep streets or stairs.
Two pairs of shoes: One sturdy pair for in the field that you can get wet and muddy. One pair for evenings.
Small umbrella for rain and shade. I use an umbrella often to block the sun from hitting the front element of my lens. Black is best. I have recently begun using a handsfree telescopic umbrella which I love. You can watch a video of my review at PhotographyTravelTours.
Sweater or light jacket for possible chill on early morning shoots. A light layer underneath a rain jacket can be surprisingly warm.
Hat for sun and rain protection.
Sun screen and insect repellent.
Bathing suit for the pool in Bonnieux.
For equipment recommendations, please click here »