There are many reasons you should visit Normandy at least once in your lifetime: An incredibly rich history, a wonderful cuisine enhanced by some of the world’s most famous cheeses, beautiful villages and towns, lovely countryside, famed beaches and cliffs, and postcard-worthy photography of famed Mont St. Michel at high tide. Join me on this very special trip on the 75th anniversary of D-Day. This trip is designed for people who already know Paris or prefer to visit on their own, so we concentrate exclusively on Normandy.
An optional 4-day (4 nights) Paris extension is offered at Tour’s end if you wish to explore and photograph Paris with me. We stay at a wonderful 3-star hotel in the center of Paris and travel sagely and privately to all sites.
This Tour is led by me, Laurent Martrès. I am a native of Paris and I have personally designed the Tour's itinerary to provide a great photographic experience of Normandy and Paris.
If you don't already know me, I am a publisher, author, and photographer as well as a highly-experienced world-traveler, having visited 82 countries to this day, some repeatedly. Tens of thousands of people have my books, which have been in print since 1998. My company has sold over 100,000 books the "Photographing" series worldwide. I am very accessible, patient, and eager to share with you my knowledge and enthusiasm for France and photography.
Sunday Sept 1: Meet the group at our airport hotel (Holiday Inn Express). Official start of our Tour (check-in starts at 3pm), rest, meet & greet, Welcome dinner.
Monday Sept 2: We have a late start and spend the morning photographing Les Andelys Castle on the River Seine. After settling down in our hotel in Val de Reuil, we have an early dinner, then drive to Giverny for an after-hours shoot of the beautiful "Jardin de Monet". Overnight Hotel Mercure Rouen Val de Reuil.
Tuesday Sept 3: We begin the day at Lyons-la-Forêt, one of France's "Most beautiful village". Noon finds us exploring the landmarks of old Rouen, its famed Cathedral and clock tower, old Plaza, as well as the beautiful architecture around its marketplace. In mid-afternoon, we drive to the Channel to photograph Etretat, its white cliffs and famous arch. After settling down in our hotel in Honfleur, we shoot the impressionistic reflections in the harbor until dusk. Overnight at Hotel Campanile Honfleur.
Wednesday Sept 4: We rise early to catch the morning light in Honfleur Harbor, then explore the cobblestone streets in the old center. After breakfast, we make our way to Lisieux and its famed Basilica before returning to the coast to photograph the beautiful waterfront of Houlgate and Cabourg. Late afternoon sees us in Beuvron-en-Auge, a spectacular village with typical Norman architecture. Overnight at Hotel Campanile Est - Mondeville in Caen.
Thursday Sept 5: After photographing the old town and Abbaye aux Hommes in Caen, we drive to the Coast to visit D-Day's Omaha Beach in St. Laurent-sur-Mer and the American Cemetery and Memorial in Colleville-sur-Mer. We spend mid-day in Bayeux to admire its medieval center, cobbled streets, Norman-Gothic Cathedral and the 220-foot 11th Century tapestry of the Norman invasion of England. We then drive to Mt. St. Michel for an late afternoon and sunset shoot. Overnight at Mercure Mt. St. Michel.
Friday Sept 6: We shoot Mt. St. Michel again at sunrise, then drive to Brittany's Emerald Coast stopping in St. Malo, Dinard and Dinan, where we explore the medieval cobblestone streets and photograph the spectacular ramparts and half-timbered houses. Overnight at Ibis Styles Dinan Centre Ville.
Saturday Sept 7: We drive back toward Paris, stopping along the way to visit the beautiful village of Gerberoy, and Van Been Garden in St. Paul. Overnight in Beauvais.
Sunday Sept 8: After visiting Beauvais' spectacular Cathedral, we drive to Chantilly to photograph the spectacular Castle from three different angles. then drive you back to CDG airport, arriving before 3pm for evening flights. You may also continue to Paris on your own or join our Paris extension.
I reserve the right to make reasonable changes or substitutions to the above itinerary/visits as conditions dictate (weather, closures, ongoing construction, etc...)
All hotel nights are in 3-star hotels. You will be sharing your room with another participant, unless you request single occupancy. I have only optioned a couple of additional rooms each night, so single occupancy is limited. There is a single supplement of US$750 for a single room. Double rooms are not available. I have included the name of the properties we will stay at. I encourage you to peruse them online before booking your Tour.
The group will meet in the lobby of our hotel at 5pm, the very comfortable Holiday Inn Express, a short cab ride from the terminals, RER and TGV for a casual introduction, followed by a welcome dinner.
This Tour involves moderate city walking and is within the capabilities of most people in good physical condition. If you have concerns about your own capabilities and/or fitness as it relates to this trip, please check 'Health Considerations' in our Tour Policies and talk to us before reserving a space.
Although your Tour leader is relatively knowledgeable with a variety of digital cameras, s/he cannot possibly know the specific features and options of every camera model. To fully benefit from your trip, it is essential that you know and understand how to operate your camera. Don’t buy one at the last minute, expecting to learn in the field. Also, be sure to bring the camera's user manual or have a PDF available on a portable device or on the cloud.
Although this Tour is not a workshop “per se” and we will be busy shooting many locations, there will be time each day for instruction on topics such as composition, blue hour, golden Hour, reflected light, nightime photography, light painting, perspective compression, focus stacking, post-processing, etc... Instruction may be dispensed on-demand in the field or during slack time.
I have a vast experience in constructive analysis of images. I have been on the jury of the #1-ranked La Quinta Art Festival for eight consecutive years, and I am regularly asked to jury other shows and photo club competitions. Should you be interested in my expertise and guidance in portfolio review, you can be assured of receiving a constructive and honest private critique.
Use of a laptop or tablet is totally optional and guests will be instructed on basic post-processing of their images only as time permits. This Tour’s emphasis is on shooting locations in the early morning or at opening time to avoid crowds. Some rest time will usually be allocated after a usually full morning shoot, before going out again in the afternoon.
it is essential that guests have a working cellular connection during the tour, either through their regular provider, or via a local Sim. We need to be able to communicate at all times during our outings, when in different taxis, and especially in the presence of crowds when it's quite easy to get separated. Be sure to do your research before the Tour.
No particular vaccinations are required for France, but I suggest that guests have their flu shots before leaving for the Tour assuming the new vaccines are already available. This is both as a courtesy to other participants, and to protect yourself from catching a bug during the Tour.
As in all large metropolis, pick-pocketing tourists is an issue near iconic locations and it's necessary to be vigilant, especially in Paris. While it also occurs outside of Paris, it's much less of a problem but it's important to be aware of your immediate surroundings at all times.
We will travel in a comfortable 9-passenger minibus while on the main Tour. During the optional Paris Extension, we will almost exclusively travel in taxis or Uber/Lyft.
Early Bird Tour fee for this Normandy Tour is an extremely attractive US$2,975 until May 15, 2019. The regular Tour fee of $3,350 kicks in after that, no exceptions. Again, you’ll be sharing twin rooms, but I have also optioned more rooms for additional single occupancy at a surcharge.
The Tour fee for the 4-day/4night extension is $2,450 and includes four nights in a classy hotel in the heart of Paris, all ground transportation from the airport to the end of the Tour, all entry fees to sites.
All tour planning and coordination.
All ground transportation during the Tour.
All breakfasts and dinners, with the exclusion of drinks.
Entrance fees to all sites requiring an entrance fee.
Professional photographic coaching during or after shoots as well as a constructive private critique (if you so desire).
Round-trip flight and land transportation from your home to our hotel and from drop off at CDG airport.
Lunches, drinks, snacks and/or beverages from minibar, room service, or hotel bar.
Telephone calls, laundry, in-room pay-per-view entertainment.
Sunday Sept 8: After checking in at our hotel, we go to the Louvre for a twilight evening shoot of the exterior.
Monday Sept 9 thru Wednesday Sept 11: During the course of these four days, we cover some of the following Paris icons: Towers of Notre-Dame, Sainte-Chapelle, Tour Eiffel (from Trocadero as well as from the top of the Montparnasse Tower), Arc de Triomphe, Opéra Garnier at opening time, Galeries Lafayette, Sacré Coeur (from Galeries Lafayette), Musée d'Orsay at opening time, as time permits.
Thursday Sept 12: After a last morning shoot, it's time to say good-bye. Tour ends around 1PM.
Meals are NOT included on this extension. There are just two many options, styles of cuisine, budgets to hold guests captive to a one size fits all.
Two guests per room at this price, but I have optioned two additional twin rooms. Single occupancy is an additional $750. You can join the group on this extension for $1,150 if you'd like to provide your own accommodation and meet us at the hotel or designated rendez-vous spot each day.
All tour planning and coordination
All ground transportation from CDG Airport and in Paris
Entrance fees to all visited sites charging a fee
Professional photographic coaching
Transportation to our Paris hotel if you are joining the group just for the Extension (based on availability).
Transportation back to CDG after our last morning shoot. We will be back at the hotel by 1pm.
All meals, drinks, snacks and/or beverages from minibar, room service, or hotel bar. There are a myriad local restaurants catering to all tastes and budgets in the vicinity of our hotel and too many attractions to hold guests captive to a single place for meals.
Telephone calls, laundry, in-room pay-per-view entertainment, luggage fees, and other incidentals of a personal nature.
If you are interested in joining us but need more information, please do not hesitate to contact us by eMail at [email protected] or by calling (909) 987-1921. Also, be sure to read the Tour Policies. We look forward to seeing you in France, for a great photography tour!