Travelling to France (Provence and Cote d’Azur) with Fuji X-T1

On 10 June 2015, me and my friends, we decided to visit Provence and the Cote d’Azur in France. And I was looking for those beautiful photos that would be taken, especially in Provence. The plan was to visit following locations : Glanum, Pont du Gard, Tarascon, Les Baux de Provence, Avignon, Bories, Abbaye de Sénanque, Gordes, Verdon Gorge, etc.

We all packed a few important things for travel and, of course I packed my favorite camera, the Fujifilm X-T1, Fujifilm XF lens 16-55mm f/2.8 R LM WR and Fujifilm XF 55-200 mm f/3.5 -4.8 R LM OIS, three batteries NP-W126 with charger adapter and CPL + ND filter.

Éze – Fuji X-T1. Fuji XF16-55mmF2.8 @16mm . f/8 . 1/250″ . ISO 320
Peillon – Fuji X-T1. Fuji XF55-200mmF2.8 @55mm . f/10 . 1/160″ . ISO 200

We came to France by car, which at the beginning of the path had a fault and we had to go back to the Czech Republic to make it repair. We traveled to Provence from the Czech Republic trough Germany, where we spent the night at the parking lot and, as a starting point for our travel, we have chosen a village Paradou, located in the mountains of Les Alpilles under the beautiful ruins of the castle of Les Baux de Provence.

The first place, which we visited in France was the Glanum archaeological site, from the time of the Celts during the Hellenistic and Roman, located near the town of Saint-Remy-de-Provence. This city is especially known residence of the famous painter Vincent van Gogh, who spent time there in a mental institution in the former Augustinian convent of Saint-Paul-de-Mausole, where he painted 140 pictures and paintings, only 7 signed.

Avignon – Fuji X-T1. Fuji XF16-55mmF2.8 @16mm . f/10 . 1/125″ . ISO 200
Avignon – Fuji X-T1. Fuji XF16-55mmF2.8 @16mm . f/3.6 . 1/125″ . ISO 250

The next day, we headed to one of the most beautiful places in Provence, the Pont du Gard aqueduct, which was built in the days of ancient Rome and is 49m high and 275m long, and in its place is a very nice museum. This aqueduct was suppling water to the city of Nimes and standing under it is an unforgettable experience. On the way back to the village Paradou, we visited a very well preserved castle Tarascon. In the past, it was protecting the frontiers and later on served as a prison for prisoners of war. Well, the whole day on the end of Monday we were watching the beautiful sunset at Les Baux de Provence.

In the following days we visited the city of Avignon during the “Festival D’Avignon”, which is full of musicians everywhere in the streets, and they inviting people to various theatrical performances. The most famous monuments here, are: Pont Saint-Benezet, a Bridge standing only to half of the Rhone river, gothic Papal Palace and the Cathédrale Notre-Dame-des-Doms. In Avignon, we tasted our first french classic desserts such as crème brûlée, profitterol and tartare de fruits.

Fuji X-T1. Fuji XF55-200mmF2.8 @200mm . f/4.8 . 1/350″ . ISO 200
Pont du Gard
Pont du Gard – Fuji X-T1. Fuji XF16-55mmF2.8 @16mm . f/16 . 3.5″ . ISO 200
Les Baux de Provence - evening
Les Baux de Provence – evening – Fuji X-T1. Fuji XF16-55mmF2.8 @55mm . f/13 . 8″ . ISO 200

Next, we visited a very beautiful ancient village, with castle ruins and the rich history of Les Baux de Provence, as we observed two days before on the mentioned sunset from afar, where we also bought a lot of sweets and items made of lavender (soaps, creams, etc.) Typical France.

The next following was a cross of the Monts de Vaucluse interface Little and Big Luberon, where you can find Rocky town of Gordes, where is a beautiful view of the local vineyards and lavender fields. It is worth to be mentioned a visit Village des Bories, built of stones laminated together without any binder and next, the village of Roussillon, which stands on a headland ocher cliffs and walls of houses are made up of 17 shades of dye – mined ocher.

Sentier des Ocres
Sentier des Ocres – Fuji X-T1. Fuji XF16-55mmF2.8 @16mm . f/10 . 1/60″ . ISO 500
Fuji X-T1. Fuji XF16-55mmF2.8 @18,2mm . f/11 . 1/20″ . ISO 200
Tarascon – Fuji X-T1. Fuji XF16-55mmF2.8 @16mm . f/10 . 1/220″ . ISO 400

The most beautiful is in the Roussillon trail “Sentier des Ocres” leading directly from the village. No one cant miss that… In the walk around are well-known wineries, where you can try sample of vine directly from the producers of local wines. It was all very beautiful, but I was very exited to looking forward to the highlight of the evening in the form of visits to the Cistercian abbey “Abbaye de Sénanque” I have been told according to the local people to see it. It is a relly epic building in the Romanesque style, situated in a deep valley near the village of Gordes, whose foreground is lined with lavender fields and monks living in it, which operate the monastery from the sale of lavender products and honey.

During the next three days, we visited places like Arles, Bonnieux, Colorado de Rustrel and we drove 60km of lavender fields. We ended up on lavender markets “Festival of lavender” in Valensole, which are held only one day of the year and the third Sunday in July. Arles is an ancient city with monuments mainly from Roman times, where I suggest you may visit these sites: Roman amphitheater, baths Konstantinov, St. Louis Cathedral Trophime d ‘Arles, Cloitre St-Trophime, underground spaces, the Roman Forum – “Cryptoporticos” Necropolis – Les Alyscamps.

Dessert – Fuji X-T1. Fuji XF16-55mmF2.8 @16mm . f/2.8 . 1/64″ . ISO 320
French car
French car – Fuji X-T1. Fuji XF16-55mmF2.8 @18,2mm . f/2.8 . 1/1250″ . ISO 200
Colorado de Rustrel
Colorado de Rustrel – Fuji X-T1. Fuji XF16-55mmF2.8 @16mm . f/10 . 1/220″ . ISO 250

After a day appreciating all the sights we jumped everyone into the car and went to Colorado de Rustrel, where are large deposits of colored sandstone, forming dunes and cliffs, reminiscent of true Colorado in the USA. It is best to visit this place at the early evening, when the sand dunes in September create different colors during the sunset. It is one of the deepest canyons in Europe and its length of 50 km stretches from Castellane to Lake Sainte-Croix is 700 meters deep. The river that flows through a impressive turquoise-green color. The Lake Sainte-Croix, with area of 2200ha is the third largest lake in France. In The Verdon Gorge we spent a whole day and overnight, we stayed in the local camp untill next morning.

Here ends Provence, and next following steps are wandering around the Cote d’Azur, where we going through and stop in cities which are Cannes, Nice and Antibes, where we spent two days, because there is a beautiful marine park Marineland, which is famous for a great show of dolphins, sea lions, walruses and has particularly memorable show of orcas, only one in Europe. I recommend going to the show at the evening. At the morning, as it is always a different atmosphere. And it is worth to buy a ticket for two days and visit the Aquasplash water park, which is next to Marineland. After this experience we continued to the city of Grasse – perfume town, where ladies can mix in one of the famous perfumeries in France (Galimard, Fragonard and Molinard) their own made perfume. We decided to visit the perfumery Molinard. After an overnight in one of our camps, we had only two beautiful places to see, Peillon and Éze.

Grand canyon du Verdon – Fuji X-T1. Fuji XF16-55mmF2.8 @16mm . f/11 . 1/75″ . ISO 200

Peillon is a village from 12th century, 20 km far away from the city of Nice. It is characterized by its remoteness from civilization and is located between the mountains high on a cliff. The village form the winding streets and terraced houses sandwiched wearing. Eze is ancient stone village perched on a narrow rocky peak towering over the Mediterranean Sea at a height of 427 meters above sea level. In the middle of peaks is possible to been seen afar from Church of Our Lady of the Assumption, which was completed in 1772. On the way back there, we were watching the city upstarts Monte Carlo from afar, and after, already passing through Italy, Switzerland, sleeping in the parking lot directly on the ground in cars and on June 26, 2015 to return back to the Czech Republic.

Avignon – Fuji X-T1. Fuji XF16-55mmF2.8 @30,2mm . f/5 . 1/125″ . ISO 200

To summarize our findings from France – where every other car has a scratched paint, the place have beautiful scenes, but also the smell. There is no problem at all, with communicate in English language, and food are much better than in the Czech Republic.

The whole time I had close to me, of course was the Fujifilm X-T1 camera, which I appreciated lightness, small size, the use of high ISO without increasing extreme noise in poorly lit areas and also the panorama function, which alleviated a lot of work to process photos on the PC.

Something about me and the technique of shooting during the traveling
I was born in a small village near Hronov (Town of Alois Jirasek), where I grew up until the 20 years, then I moved to the Liberec, where I completed the field of Materials Engineering at the University. I have quite a few hobbies (motorcycle, bicycle, hiking and traveling especially) where I can devote my other favorite activity, and that is photography.

Photography and everything around them became for me an escape from everyday life. Thanks to Photography that I could record the places I have visited and show you the beauty and the little bit you may need to encourage to visit.

Currently I own the Fujifilm X-T1 + Fujinon lenses 16-55mm f2.8, 56mm f1.2 and 55-200mm.

I began photographing with a Nikon D5100 DSLR and then I went to the Nikon D7100 with a set of lens: 18-105mm, Tokina 11-16 DX II wide-angle and some older lens (Helios, Trioplan). But I was still unable to like the DSLR system. JPG’s from Nikon didn’t please me, so I started to shoot in RAW format. But even so, somehow it didn’t work, I can not even explain why.

Until I stumbled on a site of photos from the Fuji system. It seemed to me that those pictures had a soul and beauty, and I decided to try. I do not regret the change, as I completely fell in love with photography and finally has me clearly given direction and meaning of each picture.

About the ISO, the camera handles very well until 3200. The colors also seem to me better. I started to shoot back into JPG format. I must say, Fuji’s JPG is really great and for a lot of photos don’t even needs the Raw file. And the camera’s retro look is very classy. I also bought the adapter for some old lenses, so I am not deprived of them. And finally I’m enjoying photography.

Valensole – Fuji X-T1. Fuji XF16-55mmF2.8 @38,8mm . f/5.6 . 1/145″ . ISO 800

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