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.
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.
NOTE: This is a working itinerary; the final itinerary will be posted and provided to guests closer to the tour date.
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
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
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
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
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
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
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
- Monbrun-les-Bains (classed as one of the most beautiful villages in France)
- And many scenic routes passing through other High Provence villages
Great things are done by a series of small things brought together.
- 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)