#891. Want to visit Arles? Why not try La Gacilly?

By pascaljappy | Travel Photography

Aug 16

Don’t get me wrong. Arles is lovely. Old stone, big river, huge history. And surprisingly tourist-free, thanks to the nearby beaches. Definitely go to Arles, it’s (almost) un-destination territory and fabulous for photography. But, if you’re in search of old stone, nice river and high photographic interest, Brittany has a lesser known proposition that’s deep into undestination territory. And it has pancakes. What’s not to like?


La Gacilly lies in the South Eastern corner of Brittany (therefore close to France, some locals might say πŸ˜‰ ) You can locate it on the un-destinations map for France.

On first inspection, it might look like just any other charming stone village of the area. And the area has many. A charming village like so many others, then. With the added bonus of a nice river.


A charming little stone village with a nice river. And this …


And if that’s not enough (where is your soul ;^) ?) there are two additional reasons to visit.

One I will mention in passing, but it does relate to this post and website: La Gacilly is the birthplace of Yves Rocher, the French affordable cosmetics superhero. The shop is lovely, the restaurant even better (yes, I know, I talk about food too much). But … wait.


The second, and most important reason for braving the local weather and unavoidable obesity (did I mention the food is glorious?), is that La Gacilly hosts what is a surprisingly amazing photographic exhibition all through summer.

When I say amazing …

Imagine my surprise turning a corner to find myself face to face with a wall size version of Danila Tkachecnko’s extraordinary photographs of ex USSR Restricted Areas. I regret that it’s so bad to be regretful, as otherwise I’d forever regret being blown out of the weeds at an auction when a triptych of his photographs was on offer. (whimper).


It gets better. A whole street was devoted to this young man who, to my eyes, is very talented and meaningful.

But that’s not all. The greatest aspect of this village-wide event is that it’s indoors, outdoors, on public walls, in the forest … everywhere. Did I mention … totally free?


Again, Arles is very nice. But this is better. More unexpected, more everywhere, more free. There, I said it.

You get from one exhibit area to the next via little lanes such as this :


And end up facing this.


Now, a disclaimer. And here, Yves Rocher comes back to the fore. Some of the show is sponsored. That might put some people off. YR sponsors a whoe section in the forest next to the factory shop. Meaning the topics are mostly environmental and mostly related to the YR foundation. Still, the photographs are good and interesting and all the sponsorship entails is a few lines on the explanatory panels to the side. No biggie for such a wonderful free show.

In other words, you come for this


And end up staying for this


Highly recommended!

(all pics on this page made with my Samsung Galaxy S9, ‘caus my camera was out of battery. What else is new ? πŸ˜‰ )


​Never miss a post

​Like what you are reading? Subscribe below and receive all posts in your inbox as they are published. Join the conversation with thousands of other creative photographers.

  • jean pierre (pete) guaron says:

    I’ve been trying to talk my wife into “doing” Brittany and venturing into Normandy – or maybe diverting to La Rochelle – but her mind is on other things & other places. Sigh!

    Britttany (and Normandy!) ain’t just about bad weather. There’s one of the ultimate tourist des-tin-a-shuns, at St Michelle. Dolmens all over the place. And as you so rightly suggest, great villages everywhere. I thought hiring a car would be essential, to get around and see any reasonable selection of stuff – but the older I get, the less I want to drive, so the less likely an excursion to Brittany becomes.

    In the meantime, I have to content myself with admiring the photos taken by other people. Such as you, Pascal. Thanks for sharing these photos with us – and the photos of photos, too – I’d never heard of this show – but I guess that’s hardly surprising, given the fact I’ve never been there. πŸ™‚

    PS – I did notice the bicycle πŸ™‚

    • pascaljappy says:

      There are quite a few trains and buses, if you want to travel there:) I’m not at home but will send pics dolmens soon. They have great sites. Mount St Michel is wonderful but very very touristy. You had better sleep in one of the hotels in the park and go early in the morning and late in the afternoon. Otherwise, it’s like Oxford Street on a sales day πŸ˜‰

      • jean pierre guaron says:

        Thanks – BTW, I checked your map to make sure you’d marked La Gacilly on it. πŸ™‚
        Trains & buses sounds like a good idea – SNCF gives great passes for tourists and french trains make ours look quaintly 19th century! – buses are also good – especially if the windows are clean enough to shoot through!
        Feel free to edit and/or censor the following drivel . . . . (You’ll undoubtedly find it ‘Interesting’, regardless of what your own views are – but you may feel it’s a bit much for our other readers).
        I listed the dolmens because I thought it would grab my wife’s attention – I have a very limited interest in burial as a human hobby – life is far more interesting. (I have no intention of allowing my corpse to be treated like that when I buzz off to the Rainbow Bridge, to rejoin all my dogs – πŸ™‚ ) Egyptian sarcophagi – tick. Ancient aboriginal burial sites – tick. The Taj Mahal – tick. Cemeteries – nah – forget it! Dolmens are in between – sufficiently ancient to at least spark some curiosity in me.
        I’m afraid I regard the whole process of funerals and burials as prehistoric, pagan, barbaric, outlived, unnecessary – and the land could be put to better use as playgrounds for children.

        • pascaljappy says:

          They sure are playgrounds for togs. Particularly in Paris and London. As for Brittany there seems to be a lot of uncertainty about what they were used for. But it must have been a lot of hard work, so it had to be important.

  • Thanks Pascal for bringing this little gem to light, your shots as always are excellent. Just one question what camera do you use that loves batteries???

  • Pascal Ravach says:

    Nice “mise en abyme” πŸ˜€
    And… you are the kind of man having a spare battery…. “acte manquΓ©” ??
    Very nice pics by the way ;D

  • Sean says:

    Pascal: This area, that you’ve showcased above, and what it has to offer makes for a nice place to visit and appreciate. It’s terrific to see displays of photographic work being displayed outside, taking advantage of the ‘studio being generally everywhere’ as an interactive part of this location. This is in contrast to a specific set of four walls and roof, which can both limit and confine, what can be made available to be exhibited. That’s not to say, an outdoor exhibit is not subject to any impediments of terrain and weather – but that’s where cake and coffee in a cafe act as antidote. Outdoor photographic exhibitions increasingly look lore like a ‘win-win’ in that they provide a good result for one and all involved; and hey, you also get to use a smartphone in meaningful and memorable ways, too. πŸ™‚

  • Job says:

    What a wonderful environment, and what a way to exhibit the images… Wished it were easier (and more affordable) for me to visit, but from Taipei it’s not exactly easy. Whenever I see anything like this, I deeply miss Europe. Where I live, photography hardly exists (comparatively), and I miss that too. Sometimes I dream of organizing some events around photography, but I know that few people care and the cost would definitely be prohibitive without any sponsoring. But I’m still dreaming it will happen one day.

    • pascaljappy says:

      Hi Job, first of all, thank you. Secondly, you never know what movement you might start without trying. Is there any way we (at DS) can help? I’m currently creating galleries to share/sell photographs. So, two ideas come to mind: (1) maybe you’d like to display your work there? (2) maybe you could make a selection from the photographs you like best there (yours, mine, other photographers exhibited) and we could send you the prints for you to display in Taipei? Never stop dreaming big πŸ™‚

  • >