What: A week with a small compatible group of photographers in a 15th Century castle in the lush countryside of southwest France in the springtime.
Where: Mas de Garrigue, a 15th century fortified farm near the Lot River: gardens, gourmet French home cooking, ancient medieval villages and castles, and a photographer’s and walker’s paradise.
When: Thursday April 21, 2016 (leave US April 20) to Friday April 29, 2016 (eight nights and nine days).
Group Size: This exclusive, small photo workshop tour is limited to six photographers (non-photographer significant others are also welcome).
Details: The group meets at a luxurious hotel in Toulouse in the southwest of France on the afternoon of Thursday April 21, 2016. Toulouse is the fourth largest city in France, and the capital of the modern French aerospace industry. It is easily accessible by plane or train from Paris and other points in Europe. There are many photographic opportunities in Toulouse itself, and we will visit some of these with a private guided tour, followed by an introductory group dinner (included in the cost).
On Friday April 22 we will transfer by private mini-bus to Mas de Garrigue in Calvignac on the banks of the beautiful Lot River. This is a region of beautiful rivers and valleys, stark cliffs with ancient clinging villages, sacred pilgrimage routes, stone bridges, churches that date from the era of the crusaders, beautiful flowering gardens, and much more.
The Mas de Garrigue will be our home away from home for the next seven nights, hosted by Sarah and Steven. Here’s a description: “Mas de Garrigue, a 15th century former hunting lodge and fortified farm is a stunning and important historic house retaining many original features within such as vast stone fireplaces, arrowslits, a 15th century window, stone sinks, magnificent oak beams and pigeon coops. Sarah and Steven have lovingly and respectfully restored the house, with elegant taste and sometimes a contemporary twist. The marriage of Irish antiques and art with French architecture is harmonious and charming.
“Sarah and Steven provide warm Irish hospitality in the beautiful Midi Pyrenees of South West France. Sarah studied cuisine in Paris and Steven hails from the well known Irish culinary and hospitible Allen clan. Passionate about food and wine, they offer sumptious dinners of homegrown and locally sourced produce. Steve rears two “Noir de Gascon” pigs every year which Sarah transforms into delicious terrines, pates, saucisse and hams. Steven keeps the kitchen stocked with vegetables, tomatos, herbs and even Saffron.”
While at the Mas de Garrigue Sarah and Steven will provide us with three wonderful dinners and a number of box lunches (these are included in the tour cost).
We could happily spend our time photographing right around the location of the Mas de Garrigue (and if you choose to do so, no one will think the less of you!), but three extensive professionally-guided excursions are included in the workshop.
Excursion destinations by private vehicle with guide will include:
- St Cirq-La-Popie, widely considered one of the most scenic villages in France, and the pre-historic caves of Pech Merle.
- Pont Valentre, famous from the 100 Years War, and the old town of Cahors, Chateau Biron, and the historic “bastide” town of Monpazier.
- The ancient pilgrimage citadel of Rocamandour, and (time permitting) the Dordogne Valley.
When (alas!) our time in the Lot River Valley draws to a close on Friday April 29, transfer by private mini-bus to Toulouse train station or airport for return to the United States or further adventures in Europe is included.
Cost: $4,695 per person (single supplement $675); $500 early-bird discount for completed registration by August 31, 2015.
Inclusions: Eight nights lodging (one night at a 4-star hotel in Toulouse, seven nights at Mas de Garrigue), all breakfasts (8), many meals (four dinners, four lunches), walking tour of Toulouse with licensed guide, transfers from Toulouse to Mas de Garrigue (Calvignac) on arrival, and from Calvignac to Toulouse returning, three extensive excursions including admissions and licensed guides, and service charges.
Exclusions: Airfare and transportation to Toulouse (Toulouse is easy to reach by plane or train from Paris and many other points in Europe), meals except as indicated, wine and spirits, and personal items such as souvenirs.
To Register: Please send us an email expressing interest right away; a completed registration requires a $1000 deposit.