French workshop – Photography in the Ariege

My next workshop in the Ariege, France will take place in October rather than May. Instead of wild spring flowers, we will focus on capturing the soft golden light of autumn and if we are lucky, the early morning mists. The Ariege district in South West France is like stepping back thirty years in time. At our base, Manzac D’en Bas, we have the run of three exquisitely renovated gites with stunning views of the Pyrenees. We shall have five full days of photography to explore this enchanting rural region with its mountain villages, medieval towns, ancient churches and cloisters. We will visit the local market town where there is a traditional working flourmill, go up into the mountains and spend a day at the annual Fête de la Pomme in Mirepoix. The place is full of interesting characters and we shall meet some of the local craftspeople, a basket weaver, a miller and a clog maker.

Location: The Ariege, South West France
Dates: Friday 18 to Thursday 24 October 2019
Cost: £1,093.00
Accommodation:  Manzac d’en Bas, Castex, France
Travel:  You will need to book your own flights to Toulouse Blagnac Airport.

Friday 18 October

Arrive at Toulouse Blagnac Airport where Giles and I will meet you and drive you to Manzac, which takes approximately an hour. There will be a short welcome by our hosts, Giles and Louise Nevill, followed by a brief discussion about the week’s photography.

Saturday 19 October

The morning will be spent at Montesquieu Volvestre taking pictures in the town centre and the local water-powered flourmill. After lunch there will be an opportunity to watch and photograph the locals playing petangue. Then, taking advantage of late afternoon light, we’ll head out to the hillside church of L’Eglise de Raynaude with its famous 14 Stations of the Cross and explore the nearby village of Mas d’Azil.

Sunday 20 October

A trip to the medieval town of Mirepoix to photograph the Fête de la Pomme that is held in the market square in front of the Saint-Maurice Cathedral. Timber framed houses on wooden pillars surround the square to create a covered arcade. We will return to Manzac d’en Bas mid to late afternoon to allow time to download and review everyone’s pictures.

Monday 21 October

We spend all morning at the Lac de Bethmale capturing the rich autumn colours. The lake is surrounded by a magnificent backdrop of trees that is reflected in the turquoise water. On the way back to Manzac we will call in on a sabotier, a traditional clog maker.

Tuesday 22 October

We will visit Les Granges de Cominac, a small hamlet with an impressive collection of traditional granite barns with steep pitched roofs that are dotted all around the hillside meadows. On our way back, we’ll spend some time photographing Erce, a local basket maker.

Wednesday 23 October

Our last full day has been set aside to photograph some of the local artisans in the region. We are not quite sure yet who we shall get, but on the list is a basket maker, potter and wood turner.

Thursday 24 October

In the morning, we will have a final review and show of your favourite images from the week before leaving to go back to Toulouse Blagnac Airport and home. The itinerary might alter due to the weather and availability of local artisans.