How about a one day photography tour in champagne? You’re in Paris, you fancy a day in the country, you love photography and you like champagne. Who doesn’t? I take tailor made photography tours to champagne. I meet you at Chateau Thierry which is only an hour from Paris on a local train, pick you up and take you on a fantastic photographic tour of the vineyards of the Marne Valley and beyond. There’s no need to go as far as Reims or Epernay although we can begin there too if you prefer.
This is how our day could evolve: I pick you up and we drive out following the river Marne which is covered in vineyards on both sides and is one of the most spectacular sites to see. We could even go immediately to Champagne Pannier and photograph their spectacular cellars followed by a tasting.
After a while, we will visit an independent champagne grower-producer, take pictures of the cellars and enjoy a glass of champagne (I’m driving so have to refrain!). The real story of champagne is not just the huge fancy champagne houses of Epernay and Reims but the thousands of independent champagne grower-producers that dot the countryside. The cellars you visit will be small, but you will have the time to take pictures of them properly. Some have attractive vaulted cellars and others not, the challenge is to come out and make good pictures
We stop off at various viewpoints I know and get a variety of different pictures as we get out and walk amongst the vines. There is a wonderful tree lined road (photos) that leads to a bridge over the river Marne. It is time to park the car and photograph the bridge that is always covered in flowers and offers lovely views of the river with its boats. Back in the car and we drive through many tiny villages full of champagne producers.
No photography tour in champagne could be complete without a walk around Hautvillers, the most picturesque and famous of all the villages and the birthplace of champagne. There are lots of photos to make here, the charming little signs on all the ancient buildings, the views in many directions, the old church where Dom Perignon is buried, the café, the vineyards all around and much more. I like to stop off at the ‘AU 36’, it’s actually a champagne bar that offers tastings which can be accompanied by a plate of local delicacies providing it has been ordered in advance. For a more substantial lunch there is the highly rated Rotisserie at Ay, a few kilometres away.
After a lunch break our photography tour continues and I would recommend a visit to Fleury la Rivière where we will visit the ‘Cave aux Coquillages’ which belongs to a champagne grower-producer fascinated by palaeontology. He has excavated the cellars under his house which is filled with the most extraordinary shells and fossils dating back hundreds of thousands of years that were found there. Whilst Patrick explains and shows us how this came about, we take photographs of these amazingly beautifiul and original cellars. At the end of the tour Patrick gives us a tasting and you will discover how good Patricks champagne is.
After this, depending on the time, we could go on and visit another independent champagne producer or we might spend the afternoon taking pictures of scenic places and walk amongst the vineyards.
Photographically it offers a great variety of images from landscapes to macro shots of champagne bottles in darkly lit cellars. A wide angle lens and a telephoto are the 2 lenses necessary to obtain a variety of shots. A tripod is also essential for good photographs of the cellars.
As I offer tailor made photography tours, the circuit and cellars we visit will be adapted to your interests and can begin anywhere in champagne. The circuit mentioned above is only a suggestion. Someone more familiar with the area may prefer to visit the Cote des Blanc, the villages of Cramant, Oger and Avize, where we can also visit local champagne cellars, and take scenic shots.
If you decide that you would like to visit a well known champagne house such as Castellane, Mercier or Moet et Chandon in Epernay or Pommery, Taitinger or Mumm in Reims I can also accompany you. These visits are not geared to photography but the cellars are spectacular and worth seeing.
A photography tour in Champagne is a unique experience. It is best to come between May and November. As well as visiting places that you would never find alone, I will be there to coach you in photography and help you return with an excellent set of pictures offering a variety that you would not have imagined.