Photograph Southwestern France in April, 2018—Only a few spaces left!

Grab your camera and come with me on a photographic adventure to the “deep France” of the Lot River valley.  Starting Thursday, April 19, 2018 (leave the States on the April 18th) and ending 9 days later on Friday, April 27, our Destination Photography Workshop will take you to some of the most beautiful and exciting locations in romantic Southwest France. (Think: ancient villages rated the most beautiful in France, French dining, architecture, French countryside, French dining,  patisseries, food, wine, and great company.) 

We will be hosted once again at the wonderful Mas de Garrigue near Calvignac. The Mas de Garrigue will be our home away from home, where we will enjoy the hospitality and some family-style meals. It is great to have this entire historic fortified farm as the photographic playhouse exclusively reserved for our group. For more information, click here for the Prospectus, here for the detailed itinerary, and here for the Reservation Form.

The Southwest of France is an undiscovered romantic landscape, more visited by the French themselves than by foreign tourists. In my opinion, it is by far and away one of the most beautiful regions of France. 

We will be traveling as a very small group—the maximum number of participants is 10. Non-photographic partners are welcome! This Destination Photography Workshop is almost full, with only a few spaces left. If our past experience is a guide, the remaining workshop spaces won’t last long! 

What do we mean by “deep France”? Deep France or La France Profonde is both an idea and a geographic place. The idea involves the France that always was, and will always be—a deeply rural sense of tradition and bucolic happiness albeit with a agricultural and low-tech lifestyle (they do still have their iPhones!). You find “Deep France” dispersed geographically, but always rural and remote and away from major population centers. The Lot River Valley is the land that time forgot, and in some ways epitomizes Deep France.

My viewpoint is that even apart from photography it is an incredible privilege to get to explore the places we will visit on this trip—Saint-Cirq Lapopie, the Pont Valentre in Cahors, and Cordes-sur-Ciel to name a few—and to stay at the incredible Mas de Garrigue! (By the way, the photography is grand.)

Please note that an early-bird discount $500 off applies for registrations that are made by August 15, 2017.

Also, please let us know if you have any questions, and we hope to see you there! More information follows below; click here for the Prospectus, here for the detailed itinerary, and here for the Reservation Form.

What: More than a week with a small compatible group of photographers in a beautifully restored 15th century fortified farmhouse in the lush countryside of southwest France in the springtime. Click here for the detailed trip itinerary and day-by-day PDF!

Where: Mas de Garrigue, a 15th century fortified farm near the Lot River in the heart of romantic southwestern France. This is an area of gardens, gourmet French home cooking, ancient medieval villages and castles, and a photographer’s and walker’s paradise.

When: Thursday, April 19, 2017 (leave US Wednesday April 18) to Sunday, April 27, 2017 (eight nights and nine days).

Group Size: This is an exclusive, small photo workshop (non-photographer significant others are also welcome) with very limited space availability (the minimum group size is six and the maximum is ten). We expect this destination photo workshop to fill quickly.

How to Register: Please send us an email expressing interest right away; a completed registration requires a $1000 deposit, the trip reservation form, and a copy of your currently valid passport page.

Mas de Garrigue

Mas de Garrigue


Valentre Bridge © Harold Davis

Pont Valentre in Cahors © Harold Davis

Details: The group meets at a 4-star hotel in Toulouse in the southwest of France on the afternoon of Thursday April 19, 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 the area of 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.

Morning on the Lot River © Harold Davis

Morning on the Lot River © Harold Davis

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.


Noir de Gascon piglet

“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 lunches (these are included in the tour cost, please see the detailed itinerary for specifics).

Room at the Mas de Garrigue

Room at the Mas de Garrigue

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 an optional excursion to the pre-historic caves of Pech Merle.
  • Pont Valentre, famous from the 100 Years War, and the old town of Cahors.
  • Cordes-sur-Ciel and Najac, two of the most scenic and famous ancient fortified villages in the area, each in an iconic and unbelievably photographic location.

Cordes sur Ciel at Dawn © Harold Davis

When (alas!) our time in the Lot River Valley draws to a close on Friday April 27 2018, 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: $4,995 per person (single supplement $875); $500 early-bird discount for completed registration by August 15, 2018.

Inclusions: Eight nights lodging (one night at a 4-star hotel in Toulouse, seven nights at Mas de Garrigue), all breakfasts (8), many meals, walking tour of Toulouse with licensed guide, transfers from Toulouse to Mas de Garrigue (Calvignac) on arrival, and from the Mas de Garrigue to Toulouse returning, excursions as indicated, and service charges. See the full itinerary for details. Photographic guidance, discussions, and one-on-one tutorial sessions with master photographer Harold Davis are also included.

Exclusions: Airfare and transportation to Toulouse, France (Toulouse is easy to reach by plane or train from Paris and many other points in Europe), meals except as indicated, wine and spirits (complementary wine will be provided at included group dinners), admissions except as indicated, and personal items such as laundry and souvenirs.

Assisting with air travel arrangements: We’re happy to consult and advise regarding air travel arrangements to Toulouse on request. 

Travel Insurance: Very highly recommended. More info.

To Register: Please send us an email expressing interest right away; a completed registration requires a $1000 deposit, the trip reservation form, and a copy of your currently valid passport page.

Saint-Cirq-Lapopie © Harold Davis

Saint-Cirq-Lapopie © Harold Davis

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