Photography Tour Overview: Normandy, Brittany and the
Loire valley in northwest France are not particularly acknowledged as
photography destination 'icons' as it were, but join our trip and you'll be
pleasantly surprised. Whatever your favorite photography subjects may be, you'll find that this photography
trip contains a variety of captivating subject matter to suit all tastes. From Monet's
inspirational flowers in Giverny, to the historical WW2 beaches of Normandy,
coastal and Celtic Brittany, and on to the Loire Valley Châteaus [castles]. In-between you'll photograph quaint harbor scenes, lighthouses, medieval villages and walled towns, ancient standing stones and the entrancing island castle of Le
Mont Saint-Michel. In all, this is a photography tour awash with a potpourri of photographic opportunities.
As with all of our photography tours, early and late shooting is scheduled for each day.
itinerary . . .
But first things first! We suggest that you set your camera's clock to the local time, as your images will then synchronize with the times in our included photo tour
Day 1 | Auvers, Giverny,
and Les Andelys, Normandy
Our group will meet in the lobby of our gateway
hotel near the Paris airport [CDG] at 10:30 am, and we'll then head northwestwards to Auvers-sur-Oise where
Van Gogh painted several river scenes and the Auvers church. Lunch is included
today, and will include a digital presentation of the trip given by John. On to
Giverny via canola and poppy scenes to the gardens made famous by the
impressionist painter Claude Monet. Here you will photograph the artist's home,
garden and the bridge seen in so many of his paintings. We'll help you get some
'Monet effects' as I'll suggest you play with long exposures, intentional blur,
and perhaps some tinkling about with photo software later on. We then go via an
old mill house and bridge scene prior to heading for our hotel. Late light
photography nearby if the light cooperates.
Near Val de Reuil, 1 night
Days 2 + 3 | Honfleur
Early on day 2 we'll be in the proximity of a scenically situated château
complete with the backdrop of the River Seine and white cliffs. After breakfast
we will continue northwestwards and detour into the 'Parc Naturel Régional des
Boucles de la Seine Normande' . . . which roughly translates to 'The Seine river
loops of the Seine Regional Nature Park in Normandy'. You'll find that the
ruins of a 7th century abbey provides much in the way of photographic material. Onto Honfleur for our two night stay.
Honfleur's harbor has often been depicted in paintings by famous artists such as Gustave Courbet, Eugène Boudin, and Claude Monet, and the 'Honfleur artists
school' as it were, is considered as one of the origins of the impressionist
style. Honfleur is a quaint town of contrasts with half-timbered buildings, and
a picturesque harbor. We'll also make time to photograph the nearby Normandy
bridge in the Seine estuary, along with a side trip to Étretat for a uniquely
contemporary garden, and spectacular white cliff scenes.
Honfleur, 2 nights
Day 4 | The Normandy Coast and Le Mont
At first light we'll explore Honfleur harbor one last time, then head west
for a number of striking and poignant shots of a region that featured heavily
during the D-day invasions. Remnants of the temporary Mulberry harbors are still
visible offshore at Arromanches les Bains, and we shall also capture respectful
and 'symmetric' images of the American Cemetery near Colleville-sur-Mer where
9,386 young American soldiers lie having fallen here in June of 1944. We'll
shoot Point du Hoc above Omaha Beach then depart inland to pause and photograph the ancient town of Villedieu-les-Pôeles. We'll check into our hotel in the late afternoon, take dinner, and at late light we'll be in the southwest corner of Normandy shooting the French icon of Le
Mont Saint-Michel [St Michael's Mount]. This special Gothic 'pyramid' was originally a tidal island,
then connected to land by road, but now once again surrounded entirely by tidal
waters. Constructed in the 13th to 16th centuries, it is a spectacular sight and
sits just beyond the Normandy coastline.
Near Mont Saint-Michel, 1 night
Day 5 |
Mont Saint-Michel, and Brittany's 'granite coast'
At dawn we'll be situated at 'our own' remote Mont Saint-Michel viewpoint to capture the
first light magic of this spectacular island monastery. After breakfast we'll return one last time to
Mont Saint-Michel to explore the streets, and walls on foot. Then west into Brittany [Bretagne] for photography along the 'pink granite coast'.
Locations will include spots such as Fort la Latte that stands on a cliff edge, the Cap Frehel lighthouse
and more. On to our hotel for one night stay.
Treguier, 1 night
Days 6 + 7 | Western Brittany
As usual we'll do some early light photography, take breakfast, then head up to
the nearby coastline for a series of stops including the rocky coastline, and
the 'house sandwich' photographic oddity. We then head west and take in a coastline that offers Perros-Guirec, and the Ploumanac'h
lighthouse complete with some giant boulder formations. Then on south across the
Brittany peninsula to the region known as 'Finistère', 'the end of the
land'. Late light photography is included as always.
On day 7 we’ll explore the Crozon Peninsula with photography stops along the
way, plus Camaret-Sur-Mer, and Pointe de Penhir. On our return we'll spend time
in historic Locronan, one of the most quaint and authentic villages in all of Brittany. Point du Raz
will also be included during our stay in the region.
Audierne, 2 nights
Days 8 + 9 | Quimper, Concarneau, Quiberon and the Carnac Standing Stones
We'll early, then following breakfast we'll go west to the ancient town of Quimper which sits pictorially on the banks of the River Odet. It's a place to experience the Celtic side of Breton culture and find another potpourri of images including centuries old half-timbered buildings, and the twin-spired Saint Corentin cathedral. We’ll then head for Concarneau which is a walled fort in the middle of the harbor that contains the medieval Ville Close.
On to the charming Pont Aven for a water mill and 'le toilette', followed by the
late light near Carnac where we’ll make our home for two nights.
On day 9 we’ll be hoping for mist in the fields as we shoot the stunning collection
Carnac standing stones. This huge concentration of megalithic stones reputedly dates to between 2000 BC to 5000 BC, and some are believed to be older than Stonehenge and the Egyptian Pyramids. We’ll also spend part of the day exploring the rocky Quiberon peninsula, an oddly situated Dolmen,
and photogenic harbours.
Carnac, 2 nights
Days 10 + 11 | Auray and the Loire Valley Castles
Early light on the Carnac standing stones once more, back for breakfast then on to historic and picturesque Auray prior to taking the fast track eastwards into the Loire region for our two night home in
The Loire Valley nee 'Valle de la Loire' or 'Garden of France', is also considered to be the 'cradle of the French language.' We will photograph several significant chateaus [castles] while in the Loire, but will start today with Château Azay-le-Rideau. The Château dates from 1515 and is located adjacent to the River Indre. Historically, in 1418 Prince Charles [later King Charles VII] visited and was jeered by the guards upon his arrival. The Prince was so angry he had all 350 of the soldiers killed and burned the local village down to the ground. Also scheduled is Château Villandry, built in 1536 and complete with magnificent vegetable gardens, L’Islette Chateau, plus Château d'Ussé that sits above the village of Rigny-Ussé.
Azay-le-Rideau, 2 nights
Day 12 | Loire Valley Castles . . . and back to
Early light in the vicinity of accommodation this morning and following
breakfast we'll head for our 'private viewpoint' of Château de Chenonceaux
situated quite literally on the River Cher complete with drawbridge and moat. The original castle burnt to the ground in 1411, then the replacement was demolished too. Today's building was completed in 1521. Next will be Château Chaumont with an exploration of the grounds and château on foot including the contemporary and ever-changing Festival Gardens. Our last major stop of the trip will be the Château de Chambord, the largest of all the Loire valley castles and a magnificent example of French Renaissance architecture. It was built between 1519 and 1547 and has a roof-line like no other castle. The classic image includes the river foreground plus whatever flowers are in bloom on the day. And finally . . . we'll take a fast track to our hotel north of Paris to close the trip.
The included dinner on the last night of our photography tour will feature an 'It's You!' presentation of clients in action by John.
Near the Paris airport [CDG], 1 night
Day 13 | Departure day
As there isn't any photography scheduled for the day of departure, your flight home can be arranged for any time today.
Photo Tour Photographer/Leader: John Baker, Travel Images Photography Tours
The preceding itinerary is a copyrighted work by John Baker Photographer LLC, and Travel Images Photography Tours