June 11th - 23rd, 2017

Travel with Dan and Tanya to beautiful southern France. The Provence region is alive with colors and medieval architecture. From the iconic white Camargue horses, to pink greater flamingos, to red-ocher houses, to fields of lavender row after row, this trip will be filled with images begging to be captured.

With Dan’s personal photography guidance you’ll create images you’ll love. We’ll photograph some of the same scenes that Vincent van Gogh painted, explore the picturesque villages and countrysides of southern France, sample local wines and food, and explore cobblestone alleys lined with shops and restaurants in quaint hillside villages. Smell the lavender everywhere in Provence!

Tour Gothic cathedrals and wander around natural areas—the schedule allows for time to explore on your own with optional wine tours and culinary classes. We will experience luxury while staying at some spectacular four and five star chateaus… OK, we even included one night at a castle 🙂  This is a true photographic vacation. Non-photographing spouses are definitely welcome!

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Travel Plan
Accommodations
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  • 2017 Camargue and Provence France Photography Tour I Travel Plans

    Sunday, June 11

    Depart US/Canada

    Monday, June 12 (D)

    Arrive at Marseille Provence airport or by train from Paris any time of day. We suggest a local taxi to transfer to the hotel; it is the most efficient and easy. Spend the day at leisure to recover from jet lag or explore Marseille on your own. Welcome dinner at a nearby restaurant this evening. Overnight Intercontinental Marseille – Hotel Dieu

    Tuesday, June 13  (B, D)

    After breakfast, we’ll visit the nearby coastal village of Cassis and take an hour boat ride to photograph along the coast of Port Miou, Port Pin, and En Vau. You’ll have lunch on your own in the village with time to explore and then we’ll meet up to depart for the town of Les Saintes Maries de la Mer in the heart of the Camargue area, about a 1.5-hour trip.

    Saintes Maries de la Mer was a Roman era fishing village, built on an island, where the Petit Rhône joins the sea. It’s now a bustling seaside resort full of shops and activities. Vincent van Gogh painted several paintings here, including Street in Saintes-Maries in 1888.

    Late afternoon photo session at the 2000-year-old Roman aqueduct of Pont du Gard. We’ll picnic here for dinner while snapping photos of sunset over the aqueducts, a UNESCO World Heritage Site. Overnight at Chateaux & Hotels Collection’s Hotel Mangio Fango

    Wednesday, June 14 (B, D)

    We’ll start the day with a sunrise photo shoot of the famous Camargue horses. These white horses evolved and adapted to the wet environment of marshes and wetlands in the area and can run through water with the same gracefulness most horses exhibit on land. They are indigenous to the Camargue and generally considered one of the oldest breeds of horses in the world. Two models will ride horses in the sand dunes and along the Mediterranean Sea for our photographing pleasure.

    After a couple hours we’ll head back to the hotel for free time. We’ll have several bouts of on-your-own-time during this trip in an effort to avoid the heat of the day. But if you’d like to get out and explore Saintes Maries de la Mer, there is plenty to see!

    • Walk along the shore on the edge of town, or watch windsurfers in “The Canal,” AKA the “French Trench,” built especially for speed record-breaking sailing.
    • Explore the Notre-Dame-de-la-Mer church. Its location and fortress-architecture help defend the town from pirates during the 9th-12th centuries.
    • The Musée Baroncelli showcases the traditions of the Camargue. It has collections dedicated to the zoology in the Camargue, the archaeology in Saintes Maries de la Mer, and the regional folklore.
    • The museum is located in the former town hall and court of justice and peace, built in 1876 by Veran, an architect from Arles, which replaces the first town hall built in 1655.

    Since this is a seaside town, be sure to sample the wide variety of fish and shellfish dishes. “Terrines à la Provençale” is made with tiny clam-like shellfish. There’s a Spanish influence here, too, and good paellas are a specialty.

    We’ll have an early evening photo session at the Pont de Gau Bird Park, known for its greater flamingos and great diversity of birds. Each night the flamingos fly in to feed, making it the perfect time to capture them with our cameras.

    We’ll have dinner and a night on the town in Les Saintes Maries de la Mer. In addition to seafood, the Camargue is known for its black bulls (taureaux), so there are good steaks for the carnivores among us. Overnight Hotel Mangio Fango

    Thursday, June 15 (B, L, D)

    We’ll start the day with a thrilling photo shoot of sparring, young stallions just wanting to play. Have your cameras ready as the Camargue horses rear and clash! Another shoot following with the horses running through the water.

    As with yesterday’s schedule, you’ll have mid-morning to relax, swim, or edit photos before gathering for lunch in the medieval town of Aigues-Mortes.

    Aigues-Mortes sits on the flat marshes of the Petite Camargue and is considered the purest example of 13th-century military architecture. Today it looks much like it did in the Middle Ages. A crenelated wall with five towers and ten fortified doors surrounds the town of neatly rectilinear streets.

    One last photo session with the white horses running through water before dining in Les Saintes Maries de la Mer. Overnight Hotel Mangio Fango

    Friday, June 16 (B, D)

    We say goodbye to the Camargue region and head to the interior scenic part of Provence this morning.

    The Provence region was the first Roman province beyond the Alps. They called it Provincia Romana, which evolved into the present name. While it has been part of France for more than 500 years, it still retains a distinct cultural and linguistic identity, particularly in the interior of the region.

    First stop of the day is the Roman city of Arles! Roman treasures, sultry stone squares, and a festive atmosphere are all part of the backdrop to the amazing photos we will take. We’ll see the colorful houses that show up in some of van Gogh’s paintings. We will visit the Arenes D’Arles Amphitheatre dating back to 90 AD. This amphitheater was capable of seating over 20,000 spectators and was built to provide entertainment in the form of chariot races and bloody battles—very impressive! You will have some time to explore Arles on your own.

    Next, the medieval hilltop village of Les Baux de Provence for some spectacular views and time to have lunch, shop, or sit and have a nice glass of wine and enjoy the views.

    Les Baux de Provence is a UNESCO World Heritage Site that is one of the most beautiful villages in France. Especially photogenic, the town is filled with small squares, well-shaded terraces, narrow streets, and small shops. We’ll have views of Arles, the Camargue, and the low hills of the Alpilles mountains from lookout points in the stone fortress.

    We’ll then head north to Chateauneuf-du-Pape, the hub of the Rhones wine making region. Tonight we will enjoy the Cheateau Des Fines Roches, a castle built high on a hill surrounded by vineyards in the late 19th century. Enjoy the views, gourmet food and wine or maybe a swim in the pool, bike ride through the vineyard… OK, we will be a little spoiled on this tour!

    Saturday, June 17 (B, L, D)

    Today beautiful opportunities to photograph right outside your bedroom window! We will photograph around the castle’s vineyards and rolling hills before breakfast. OR maybe take a bike ride through the vineyards on your own. Late morning we will travel a little further down the road into the heart of the lavender fields, which should be in full bloom during our trip. Photo shoots and stops along the way. Dinner and overnight at the beautiful and historic La Bastide de Gordes, one of the “The Leading Hotels of the World,” set in the hillside village of Gordes.

    Sunday, June 18 (B, L)

    We’ll rise early for a morning photo session in the colorful hilltop village of Roussillon. Perched on the southern edge of the Plateau de Vaucluse, Roussillon is a beautiful village with red rocks, ochre-red stone buildings, and red tile roofs set in a deep green pine forest. Narrow, medieval streets wind through this small village.

    Lunch will be in the village of Fontaine de Vaucluse, “spring of Vaucluse.” The medieval village is built around a spring, the source of the River Sorgue. Thanks to the river, the climate is a little cooler here. The spring sits at the base of a 240-foot cliff, and it is here that the river gushes out of the ground. Dinner on your own in the village of Gordes. Overnight at La Bastide de Gordes

    Monday, June 19 (B, L, D)

    This morning we take in the sights and scents of the lavender fields surrounding Notre-Dame de Senanque Abbey. The Cistercian monks, who still occupy the abbey, welcome us to their home. The lavender fields backed by the 12th century abbey make for lovely photographs.

    We will enjoy the market and have lunch in the scenic hilltop village of Gordes. Standing on the edge of the Vaucluse Plateau, Gordes is home to movie stars and artists. Its tall houses of white and gray stone rise up in a spiral around the rock where the village is set, topping out at a church and castle. Overnight at La Bastide de Gordes

    Tuesday, June 20 (B, D)

    Free morning to explore on your own. We will meet for an afternoon and evening photo session in the lavender fields around the plateau of Sault. Situated on the border of a great wooded plateau, immense blue fields, alternating with golden wheat fields, stretch out as far as you can see.

    In addition to dining in the fortified village of Sault, we can wander the village and taste local products including nougat, macaroons, and lavender honey.  Tonight we will stay just outside the mountainous village of Moustiers Saint-Maire at La Bastide De Moustiers and dine at their Michelin Star Restaurant.

    Wednesday, June 21 (B, L, D)

    We’ll spend the morning in the lavender fields around the plateau of Valensole. Lavender fields and lavender distilleries are scattered about an area of 800 km², filling the frame of any view.

    Lunch is in the village of Moustier Sainte Marie. The village is surrounded by the Gorges du Verdon – one of the deepest canyons in Europe, known for its natural beauty and green water– Sainte-Croix Lake, and the lavender fields of the Valensole plateau.

    Moustiers, as it’s known, has a rich history in ceramic craftsmanship. Brought to France by a monk in the Middle Ages, the faince (earthenware) is renowned for its fine decoration.

    The afternoon photo session takes us back into the lavender fields, this time around the Sault Plateau where we shot yesterday.

    Amidst the neatly restored homes in the village of Valensole is where we will have our farewell dinner. The houses are decorated in lovely Provençal colors and often outlined in a soft grey trim. We’ll see many picturesque old shutters, little wrought-iron balconies, and ancient doorways that make this bustling town so photo-worthy. Overnight at La Bastide De Moustiers

    Thursday, June 22 (B)

    We will have a free morning to explore and photograph the nearby village of Moustiers Saint Marie, maybe even a hike above this mountainous village. A culinary class option maybe an option. We will depart after lunch back to Marseille with a stop at the L’Occitane en Provence factory for last minute shopping and gifts.

    Tonight we stay at the Hotel Pullman Marseille Airport. Time to say goodbye to our new friends, repack, and early to bed!

    Friday, June 23 (B)

    Depart any time of day. Complimentary airport hotel shuttle.

    NOTE: Additional optional activities will be added to the itinerary including wine tasting and cellars, culinary class, shopping, etc. We did not want to over-schedule this trip  and have included free time to explore on your own or relax. You will have many opportunities for early AM and late PM shoots for the best light. All is optional and flexible!

    • Tour Extensions Available

    • Guest Limits

      15 Guests Maximum

    • Trip Cost

      EXPLORER RATE: 6770 per person, based on double occupancy

      NON-EXPLORER RATE: ADD 300

      Single Supplement: Please contact us for rate

      Pricing in US Dollars

    • Deposit

      $1500 Per Person Due at Time of Booking
      Visa, Master Card or Check Accepted

      Deposits are non-refundable. If cancellations are necessary, we require this request in writing. We will do our best to resell your space. Only if we can resell your space, we will refund (minus deposit and discounts given to sell your space). No partial refunds are possible for unused services.

    • Installments

      June 1, 2016: $2000 First Installment
      December 10, 2016: Final Payment

      Check only for first installment and final payment. Please make check payable to Natural Exposures and mail to:

      Natural Exposures
      810 N. Wallace, Suite E
      Bozeman, MT 59715

    • Included

      • Private small group travel with professional photographer Daniel J. Cox and local photography guide
      • Transfer by complimentary shuttle from hotel to airport on departure day only
      • Entrance fees for various locations included on itinerary
      • Meals where indicated (B=Breakfast, L=Lunch, D=Dinner)
      • Beverages with included meals, including house wine, beer, and non-alcoholic drinks. Additional specialty wines and spirits beyond those offered with meals may be purchased by guests at their own expense.
      • 11 night’s accommodations where indicated
      • Gratuities for meals
      • Water and snacks on bus
    • Not Included

      • International airfare
      • Laundry, miscellaneous expenses such as Internet
      • Any optional activities not on itinerary including some wine tastings, culinary classes
      • Travel insurance
      • Gratuities for bus driver and local guide
    • Flights to Book

      Sunday, June 11
      Depart USA

      Monday, June 12
      Arrive at Marseille Provence Airport (MRS) or by train any time of day. Upon arrival, the best transportation to the hotel is by local taxi.

      Friday, June 23
      Depart Marseille Provence Airport (MRS) any time of day. Complimentary shuttle provided by airport hotel.

    • Travel Insurance

      Though this trip does not require it, we highly suggest purchasing travel insurance. We recommend Global Rescue or InsureMyTrip.com depending on your specific needs.

    • Terms & Conditions

      Natural Exposures cannot control nor is responsible for abnormal weather, natural disasters, or any other disaster that might affect the trip. Travel insurance should be purchased to cover any missed flights or medical problems that may affect/delay your travel. National Parks have the right to change our itinerary.

      By booking a trip with Natural Exposures, you agree to the following CANCELLATION AND LIABILITY POLICY

  • Accommodations for 2017 Camargue and Provence France Photography Tour I

    June 12 (1 night)
    InterContinental Marseille – Hotel Dieu • Marseille • 5-star

    Hotel Dieu is perched atop Panier Hill in Marseille at the gateway to Provence. Next door is the world-famout Vieux-Port, the cultural and historic center of France’s second largest city.

    Hotel Dieu has two restaurants, a magnificent terrace for meals, and a large Spa by Clairns, complete with indoor swimming pool.

    White leather headboards, an embroidered Provencal throw, and the old-style bathtubs remind visitors that this is an old, venerable building that has been gently, but efficiently modernized. Before it was renovated into a great 5-star hotel, the building weathered centuries of history. The building served as a hospital from 1188-1993. Today the hotel’s facade and intricate wrought iron stairways are on the inventory of Listed Monuments.

    June 13-15 (3 nights)
    Mangio Fango • Les Saintes Maries de la mer • 4-star

    Set among the wild landscapes of the Camargue, the gentle charms of Hotel Mangio Fango will woo you. The traditional white farmhouse is outlined against blue Provence skies. Surrounded by unspoiled nature and greenery, we won’t want to leave this 4-star hotel.

    The refined rooms and suites with their natural colors and elegant furnishings provide a high level of comfort and serenity. Overlooking the garden, the pool, or the marsh, each room has its own private terrace or large balcony.

    The Mangio Fango restaurant draws inspiration from seasonal Mediterranean produce and traditional Camargue region meat and fish dishes.

    The hotel also has a Decléor spa, heated outdoor swimming pool, steam room, and sauna.

    June 16 (1 night)
    Chateau Des Fines Roches • Chateauneuf-du-Pape • 4-star

    This 11 guestroom castle is part of the “Chateaux & Hotels Collection” and located in the heart of the prestigious vineyards of Châteauneuf-du-Pape. Built in the late 19th century, it was inhabited by the Marquis de Baroncelli and frequented by many Provencal poets. Both fantasy and medieval neo-Provencal style, this castle was built high on a hill with a panoramic terrace surrounding the vineyards offering timeless moments to rest and relax. Indoor and outdoor pool for your enjoyment along with rentals available for bike and electric bikes.

    Chef Nicolas Jay, a disciple of Escoffier, and his team work for your culinary pleasure to showcase the products of the region and to create an inventive seasonal gourmet cuisine from local Provence Fine cuisine, accompanied with the gusto of a local wine (there are more than 50 vineyards of Châteauneuf-du-Pape represented in their wine selection including older vintages).  Châteauneuf-du-Pape, is in the middle of the famous vineyards of the Côtes du Rhône in Provence. Enjoy the France’s wine country!

    June 17-19 (3 nights)
    La Bastide de Gordes • Le Village Gordes • 5-star

    Set atop a rocky outcrop at the center of the village, La Bastide de Gordes offers all the splendor of a former stately home and is now part of  “The Leading Hotels of the World” Collection. Carved into the very rock face of the hill and built on 12th-century ramparts, the chateau is integrated into fortifications of the village. Combining charm, elegance, comfort, and luxury, the hotel features intimate, welcoming, and restful interiors.

    The hotel’s restaurant serves cuisine that showcases Provencal and Mediterranean produce. Sisley Spa is a natural environment dedicated to serenity and the well-being of the body and mind. Multiple pools, free WiFi, fitness center, and electric bike rentals.

    Handsomely appointed in a refined yet relaxed style, with appealingly rustic touches, the rooms provide unparalleled and memorable views over the fabled Luberon Valley and mountains.

    June 20 and 21 (2 nights)
    La Bastide De Moustiers • Le Village Moustiers-Saint-Marie • 4-star

    La Bastide de Moustiers is a house full of charm with this 12 guest rooms situated at the heart of the Alpes de Haute Provence region. Former property of an earthenware master, it offers a splendid view on Moustiers-Sainte-Marie “cliff.” The main building was restored by local artisans and is now branded under “The Chateaux & Hotels Collection.”

    This romantic hillside hideaway standing alongside lavender fields and olive trees has a renowned Michelin Star restaurant where the menu changes daily according to the vegetable garden and the local market. The surrounding area is spectacular—verdant fields, a dramatic gorge, limestone cliffs, and a turquoise thermal poo, and you could easily lose a day in the Bastide’s gardens. The elegant pool faces the vineyards, the hammock is waiting for you near the gardens…

    June 22 (1 night)
    Pullman Marseille Airport • Marseille • 4-star

    Located three minutes from the airport and ten minutes from Aix-en-Provence TGV train station, the Pullman Marseille Provence Airport hotel invites you to come and relax in its spacious, air-conditioned rooms. The 4-star hotel has a restaurant-lounge bar featuring a fireplace. Free WiFi is available throughout the hotel. For even greater comfort, you can use the 24-hour hotel-airport shuttle service.

  • Helpful Information for 2017 Camargue and Provence France Photography Tour I

    ACTIVITY LEVEL

    We will be traveling between villages on a 32-passenger bus but may switch to a smaller minibus depending on how the bigger bus works on the smaller roads. Each day there will be moderate walking which might include elevated areas in the villages or through the lavender fields. Remember this is Europe! To enjoy these medieval villages you’ll likely be doing a lot of walking, sometimes on cobblestone and up and down on uneven surfaces. Please be prepared.

    We have provided for a fair amount of free time to explore on your own. We’ll have snacks during some early AM shoots and  then go back for a late breakfast, so some lunches are not included. Some days we will have early dinners or late dinners, depending on location. We will mix dinners with French “picnic-style, in the field” to multiple course gourmet dinners. Non-photographing spouses are welcome on this tour. It will be a photographic vacation! Other “add on” optional activities can be organized and may include wine tasting and culinary for those interested; additional fees will apply.

    WEATHER and HOTELS

    Temperatures this time of year could be in the mid-70’s up to the 90’s. All of the 4- and 5-star hotels will have air-conditioning and WiFi; most will have pools too. This trip is not a standard photo tour; we have included some of the most beautiful accommodations to make this truly enjoyable! Not all accommodations will look like that of your fellow travelers. Since we are staying in smaller more boutique hotels, room sizes and views will vary.

    PASSPORT and VISAS

    Your passport must be valid for a minimum of six months at the time of entry and valid for an additional three months beyond your planned date of departure from  the Schengen area. Please note that “emergency passports” issued by U.S. Embassies and Consulates overseas may not be accepted for entry into France.  One empty page is required for the entry stamp. Visas are not required for stays of under 90 days.

    VACCINATIONS

    No vaccinations are required to enter France.

    CURRENCY

    France’s currency is the Euro.

    ELECTRICITY

    230-volt, Type C Europlug (CEE 7/16) – the plug used in most other European countries, or Schuko Type F (CEE 7/7). Plug adaptors will be sufficient for most laptops, cellphone chargers, and digital cameras. A voltage converter/transformer would be needed for appliances such as a hair dryer or electric shaver.

    Have a question?

    Have a quick question about this tour? We'd love to answer any queries you may have.
  • Testimonials from Natural Exposures' Explorers

    • "If you ever want to travel to another country and you want to go first class, travel with Natural Exposures. They are number one in showing their guests the best time ever in the classiest way. I would recommend Natural Exposures Tours to everyone. If you want to go in style, go with NE!"

      Michelle Duggan, Massachusetts

    • "Tanya and Dan’s logistic skills provide a seamless photo tour where one can truly enjoy the experience. With unlimited photographic opportunities Dan’s instruction has taken my photography to a higher level."

      Linda Henry, Oregon

    • "I just wanted to again thank you for a wonderful week of photography and relaxation away from the office. It was a really a good group."

      Sue Wolfe, Texas

    • "What a trip
      What a group
      What a fabulous everything
      To our next encounters with nature"

      Maud and Leon Soriano, Florida

For additional information please contact Tanya at photo@naturalexposures.com or by telephone at (406) 556-8212

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