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Lavender, Travel Photography & Local Lifestyle Tour

Secret Provence is here on this tour…your lens will tell the story

July 10 – 16, 2024
6 nights / 7 days

Limited to 7 guests
4,500€ EUROS per person
No single room supplement
*Prices converted to USD two months prior to tour date

More than a photography tour, this is a true Provençal lifestyle tour. Provence will be forever captured in your artistic eye as well as in your heart. The region explored on this tour is not one you find in many guide books on Provence…and that’s what makes it so special. It’s almost like going back in time…before all the tourist came. I won’t say much more so as not to have everybody flock to this hidden area of Provence. Just know that from the lodging, the local chef’s catering many of our meals, and the magical lavender spots next to charming villages unspoiled by mass tourism…your pictures will tell a magical story of the « other » Provence.

tour guide Emily Durand of Your Private Provence on her lavender and photography tour

Tour Notes

The tour has been designed to give rest time at the B&B every day. Summers in Provence can be quite hot. The advantage in High Provence is the cooler temperatures – but nevertheless, it can get hot. 

Outside of the photography and lavender elements, people enjoy this tour for its design of combining nature, off-the-beaten-track routes, R&R every day at the lovely accommodations, local food experiences and one of the best places in the world to contemplate the stars and moon.

This tour covers a part of Provence many tourist have yet to discover. A popular tour for those who have done « lower » Provence and want to come back to see the « other » Provence.  Also, a perfect tour for the traveler who loves to immerse into the local community, use photography to tell stories and resource their spirits in the beauty of nature.  

PHOTOGRAPHY INSPIRATION: Raina is an American international award winning portrait photographer and has been living in Provence for the past two years. She worked as a registered nurse for 34 hears and decided to take an early retirement to follow her dreams of living in France and pursuing her photography career full-time. Raina is a fun a social person and loves to meet new people from all over the world. She feels quite lucky to be able to live in France. Raina will be sharing her process of how to tell a unique and powerful story through your travel photography. She will teach you different ways of seeing and shaping light, composition, and how to connect to your environment so that you can create interesting travel images. Her instruction will deepen your visual awareness while imparting skills that will make your photography more satisfying and fun.  Learn more about Raina and see her gallery of Provencal images on her website.

Itinerary

NOTE: This is a working itinerary; the final itinerary will be posted and provided to guests closer to the tour date.

Day 1 (Wednesday, July 10)
Montbrun B&B pool with view

The pick-up place for the tour is at the train station in L’Isle sur la Sorgue (or your lodging in the town should you arrive the day before – recommended!). Pick-up time at 11 am. Our first stop, en route to our retreat location, is lunch at a rustic farm restaurant in the high hills of lavender country. After lunch, and some lavender photo shoots, we’ll settle into our accommodations. Free time to enjoy the amazing pool and quietness of the domain. Before our dinner outing at the nearby village Montbrun-les-Bains, we’ll have our first introduction to the photography element of the tour…opening your senses, vision, and inspiration for capturing your Provencal experience.

Lunch & dinner included

Day 2 (Thursday, July 11)
rows of lavender in bloom with stone hut

After breakfast at the farm house, the journey to wide open lavender fields and authentic Provencal villages begins. We will be capturing lavender fields, Medieval village (Simiane-le-Rotonde), ancient doors, colorful shutters, and so much more. Lunch today will be at small village café. At 2 pm we will step into a unique workshop and be guided by Theo to make our Provencal Gin infusing it with herbs from Provence (make your own creation!). Later afternoon, back at the B&B, refresh by the pool before a workshop with Raina to go over the editing of your pictures. We will not venture out again so you have plenty of time to unwind (rest, swim, nature walks). Optional trail hike leaving from the B&B to a chapel looking out over the valley. This evening you will enjoy a catered dinner at the B&B by local chef Alexandra.

Lunch & dinner included

Day 3 (Friday, July 12)
foraging in Provence

Our day will begin in a stunning mountain village, Brantes.  We will meet Laurie & Odile who will guide us on a foraging walk. We will need some flowers and herbs in order to make our farm-to-table lunch. The whole setting is one photographic moment after another. From the quaint village house where we make lunch to the table set out on the patio, not to mention all the food prepared with beautiful herbs and flowers. Back at the B&B for some relaxing/pool time until our dinner outing.  6:30 pm — departure for our restaurant outing in small village called Ferrassières.  The retro restaurant is casual but not lacking unique charm.  We want to finish dinner by 8:30 pm so we can make it to the nearby lavender fields for our sunset lavender prize photos! 

Lunch & dinner included

Day 4 (Saturday, July 13)
Market in Montbrun-les-Bains

Today is market day in Montbrun-les-Bains.  You have time this morning to roam the market at your leisure and also with Raina for capturing compelling market images.  Lunch will be at the local gastronomic restaurant with a beautiful view of the village Montbrun in the distance.    The afternoon is set aside for relaxing by the pool, photography at the domain, and time for storytelling through our pictures.  At 6 pm, we take off for a truffle hunt with Tijs and Tagada.  From the B&B we make our way up the hill by foot to a truffle plantation (good shoes required).  Last year we got lucky to find 6 truffles!  This evening we go into the village Montbrun for a bistro dinner.  

It’s the village festival (pre-Bastille Day party).  Choose to stay around after dinner and partake in this Provencal small village festive atmosphere (you may want to wear your disco dancing dress 😉 …last few years we’ve had a few kick off the party on the dance floor!).  

Truffle lunch & dinner included

Day 5 (Sunday, July 14)
sunrise in village

An optional morning photography outing for those who wish to capture the magic of the rising sun as it comes up over the mountains and illuminates the village.  Free time back at the B&B after the morning shoot for breakfast and to catch a wink or two more.  Just before noon, we gather in the farmhouse kitchen for a little presentation/tasting of how to best savor a truffle.  Casual lunch follow the tasting.   Afternoon excursion to the lavender distillation plant: learn more about this aroma plant, how the oils are extracted, how it is harvested, and the uses. We will meet with a lavender grower to get all the answers and see first hand.

Free time back at the B&B. During this time, one-on-one appointments with Raina will be set up so you have an opportunity to dig into questions pertaining to your personal pictures.  This evening is Bastille day and we will liven things up with some French music, flag decoration and an amazing catered dinner by local chef, Manuel from Argentina.  

Lunch included & Dinner included

Day 6 (Monday, July 15)

This morning we’ll venture into the larger town in the area; Vaison-la-Romaine.  Here, our photography contemplation will take us back to the Roman era.  The town is known for one of the largest open air Roman archeological sites in France.  Lunch in the town together.  Later afternoon will be free time at the B&B to make the most of your contemplative time before the end of the tour.  A time for sharing our five favorite pictures from the week.  Dinner outing at nearby village with all the characteristic of authentic village life in Provence. 

Lunch & Dinner included

Day 7 (Tuesday, July 16)

Enjoy your last leisurely breakfast nestled in the mountains of High Provence.  Drop-off at Avignon TGV train station at 12 pm (departure around 10:30 am)

    • Transfers to Marseille airport can be arranged should you have a flight out later evening (price supplement).

Activities & Sites Included

  • Photography mentor & instructor for the full tour (workshop sessions at B&B and out in the field) 
  • Foraging & cooking lesson with local herbs and flowers 
  • Lavender distillery & farm tour 
  • Gin making workshop 
  • Truffle hunt with local and his dog (near the grounds of the B&B) 
  • Cultural and historical anecdotes in the villages by your local guide/chauffeur, Emily 
  • Provencal market in Montbrun-les-Bains 
  • Time to relax, unwind, enjoy the pool and Provencal summer life at the lovely B&B

Places Visited

  • Monbrun-les-Bains (classed as one of the most beautiful villages in France) 
  • Simiane-la-Rotonde 
  • Savoillans
  • Ferrassières
  • Aurel 
  • Sault 
  • Brantes 
  • Vaison-la-Romaine 
  • And many scenic routes passing through other High Provence villages

Great things are done by a series of small things brought together.

Vincent Van Gogh

(Photo: Between lavender rows by Emily Durand.)

Includes

  • All transportation – pick-up at L’Isle Sur la Sorgue train station or hotel. Drop-off at Avignon TGV. 
    • Contact Emily for pre-tour arrangements (recommended to stay at hotel in L’Isle sur la Sorgue the night before) 
  • 6 nights lodging (Domaine de la Done
  • All breakfasts (6) 
  • All lunches (6) 
  • All dinners (6) 
  • Local wine provided with meals 
  • Emily as your private chauffeur & guide for the full tour 
  • Raina as your photography mentor & instructor for the full tour (workshop sessions at B&B and out in the field) 

Does Not Include

  • Transportation to/from Isle sur la Sorgue 
  • Before and/or after dinner drinks (wine is included during the meals)
five star review
  • June 2018 2-day custom tour

    ""It was our pleasure having you as our tour guide to discover part of Provence we haven’t been before. I definitely will recommend you to my friends who are interested in traveling to Provence.We wish you have a successful business and happy wonderful life in Provence."Wanvimon, Thailand"
  • June 2018 Lavender & Cultural Tour

    ""Thank you, Emily, for all your help in arranging my trip and transporting me before and after the tour.  Also, the tour was so special.  I enjoyed it all.  You are a great guide to all the special things, places, foods, and experiences in this area of Provence."Diane Logon, Florida"Our group consisted of six women and one very brave gentleman with of a wide range of ages, backgrounds, personalities, and abilities. We toured the historic Chateauneuf Du Pape. We visited a Winery, A..."
  • June 2018 3-day custom tour

    ""We had a great trip with Emily and highly recommend her. Before we arrived, she had designed a lovely tour of Provence villages just for us. Attentive to our interests and needs, she crafted an adventure that was a highlight of a trip to France and Italy.In several days, she introduced us to the history of these hill towns, the beauty of the rural landscape, and the feel of markets, twisty streets, churches, and Van Gogh’s world. Though we saw a good deal, she also made time for little m..."
  • July Lavender & Photography Tour 2021

    ""I have recently returned from the Provence Lavender Photography Tour with Emily Durand of Your Private Provence and Raina Stinson of Raina Stinson Photography.  I highly recommend this tour!  Simply put, Emily and Raina guided our small group on a remarkable journey of discovery.  We visited lavender fields, explored medieval villages, gazed at the moon and stars.  We feasted on fresh produce and French bread from the village markets as well as gourmet fare at restaurants with breathtaking v..."
  • 8-Day September Group Tour, 2019

    ""We thoroughly loved your tour! Every day was packed with fun things to see and do and we were also given free time to explore on our own or just relax a little. You did a fantastic job of driving  us everywhere, especially through tiny villages and narrow streets. Some of the highlights for us were getting to meet locales, a wonderful boat tour in Cassis, wonderful restaurants, and unique hotels. We couldn’t have asked for a better experience! Choose Emily as your guide and you won’t be sorr..."
  • June 2018 3-day private tour

    ""The beautiful, relaxed culture of Provence makes it an ideal vacation spot for first-time guests and return visitors alike.As a return visitor, I reached out to Emily to see some of the hidden treasures I was on unable to see during my first visit. She asked me what I enjoyed, what I wanted to see most, and how I’d like to spend my time. From there, she tailored an itinerary specific to me.She was able to encompass all I requested and made excellent suggestions! I had an incredible t..."
  • Wine Tour, September 2021

    ""What a beautiful day with Emily and Your Private Provence wine tour. Having been to the region before, two friends and I were interested in a deeper dive into what made this region so well suited for wine. She really listened to our interests and designed a really fun, insightful and rich day. We honestly expected a driver to just drop us off at several wineries and got so much more. Loved the cultural and geological history, the insights of a local to life in Provence, and a diverse samplin..."
  • May 2016 Private Garden Tour

    ""It was such a very special holiday for me. I just adored every moment and Emily made it so very special.Emily, thank you for being so accommodating with my challenging itinerary. Thank for being so knowledgeable and adding a layer of history and local insight that no guidebook could deliver. And finally, thank you for being so warm and engaging. It really felt like I was traveling with a dear friend. I could never have imagined it could be so good."Jane from Australia "
  • September 2023 – 10-day private tour

    "Emily was our guide and driver for 10 days during our private tour of Provence. There were 7 of us, all friends and we have traveled all over the world for the past 50 years. Our 10 days with Emily traveling all over Provence was perhaps the finest travel experience any of us have ever had. She completely embodies all of the qualities needed to take complete strangers and make them feel as if they are part of her family. She was so professional, knowledgeable, kind, caring and flexible as wel..."
  • June Private Week-long Tour

    ""We just returned from a fantastic week in Provence with Emily Durand. The entire 7 days exceeded our expectations. Emily wowed us each day with visits to interesting historic sights, unique villages, beautiful views, museums, outdoor markets, and also personal discussions with individual owners of winery’s, B&Bs, lavender growers and distillers. If you want a truly meaningful Provence experience, contact Emily for a personalized tour." Bob & Terrie, New Jersey"