This magnificent medieval walled town is almost unknown to tourists visiting Paris yet it is only an hour and a half from Paris and can be comfortably visited in a day. It offers some wonderful landscape photography opportunities especially once the leaves are on the trees. Spring is just around the corner and a fantastic time to go.
I started offering photography tours to Provins last year having visited it so many times myself. Everyone without exception was blown away by it, and by the pictures they took. It is the perfect place if you are looking for a historical and lesser known touristy destination.
Provins was built in the middle ages and gained notoriety during the 11th to 13th century when it was famous in all of Europe for its Champagne fairs. Today, you can climb up the ramparts and take a pleasant walk on either side of the massive walls that remain. For photographs, the human element adds perspective and colour. There are joggers, people walking their dogs and families enjoying the splendour of a bygone era.
Anyone visiting Provins without a camera or at least a decent smartphone will be sorry! There are 2 wonderful old churches and the one in the old town is particularly photogenic. There are several places to visit such as the picturesque Tour Cesar where climbing up to the belfry offers marvellous views of the surrounding countryside and Provins itself as well as graphic photos of the rafters often frequented by birds. I include this visit in my tour but there are other visits available including a tour of the subterranean passages of the city, a museum and the Tithe Barn, an old building near the square that used to serve as a covered market and has been reconstructed to look as it did all those years ago.
The town has a main square with cafés and restaurants around it. We took photos of our food and drinks at the best restaurant in town and on a hot day I booked us all an outside table at a restaurant overlooking the main square and everyone was so busy taking photos that those who ordered hot food ate it cold!
It is a good place to practice different photography techniques as the pace is unhurried and the town full of photo opportunities. You need to wear comfortable shoes and clothes as there is quite a bit of walking involved if you want to see all it has to offer.
There are a number of folkloric shows they put on in summer months and in June each year there is a 2 day festival where everyone dresses up in medieval clothes and the whole town is decorated with flags. The dates for 2016 have not yet been established but as soon as they are I will post them on my website. Although for this event the town will be very crowded, the festival offers fantastic photography opportunities and it is well worth choosing one of those days to take a photo tour. Another event I intend to photograph this year is the live nativity at Sunday mass around Christmas time in the beautiful church of St. Quiriace that I believe is quite spectacular.
I take custom-made photography tours to Provins all year leaving Paris early in the morning and returning in the evening. It is possible to spend the night there and leave the following morning by train, which is a more leisurely way to do it. Depending on the number of people and their preference I usually go by car but there is a train every hour in both directions from Paris to Provins which takes around the same time as by car.
So, join me on a personalised photography tour to impressive Provins, and enjoy a fantastic day whilst improving your photography and discovering all this beautiful town has to offer.