#1317. Luberon reloaded

By philberphoto | Travel Photography

Oct 23

Two friends, a work meeting and the Luberon.

A church, with a vibe…
It’s hilly country, remember…


Luberon ticks all the boxes of overtourism, of being one of these exquisite locations blighted by hordes of visitors who think that tourism amounts to getting in position for quick Instagram-destined snaps. Point of entry is the legendary city of Avignon, once residence to popes, and today of a fantastic festival of theatre. It can easily be reached by TGV express train from Paris, and is close to other major tourist attractions (Nimes, Arles, Montpellier, Aix-en-Provence, Marseille). Moreover, it being located in Provence puts it on the world map for tourist attractions. Needless to say, with all the above, Avignon did not sit high on our list of to-shoot places, as Pascal and I sought a suitable meeting place.

Can’t remain long without short game…
More game than short…

The second attraction of Luberon is the swank villages and small towns that have long made it a summer residence of choice of the rich and ritzy, such as Lourmarin, Oppède, Apt. Very un-DearSusan.

Follow the Monet

The third reason is Gordes, a village recently named “world’s most beautiful village” by the US magazine Travel + Leisure. Enough to sound the death knell of any location, as it is the mating call of the frenzied Insta crowds.

No flower, no Philber…
More flower for Philber

So Pascal and I selected a location, which, while still in Luberon (technically in Vaucluse), kept us away from the saturation. Pascal, wise as ever, suggested L’isle-sur Sorgue. And, over the course of a 3-day shoot-and-work, we radiated from there thanks to his trusty Doudou car. Having eschewed the month of August as toxic, we went there early September, less crowded, less hot, but still lovely weather, and better light, too.

Even churches are bountiful…

And I am happy to report that not once did we have to wait in line, or forsake a shooting spot or an eatery due to over crowding. We even dared to go to Gordes, but chose to do so early in the day, and then ran away before the buses invaded.

It doesn’t get any more Provence than this…
In Provence, the sun rules… not the composition rules

The yield? A pot-pourri of church images, landscapes, but mostly a hodge-podge (some would say ragtag) collection of unspectacular-but-delightful small je-ne-sais-quois. And a lot of enjoyment, fun, good food and lovely memories while shooting. This earns the secondary locations of the Luberon a highly-recommended-un-destination rating.

M. PJ is not the only one having B&W fun
there’s the water wheel, but where’s the rat? What, me???

It is not only about old stones…

As for the rest, images speak louder than words. Especially those shot by DS-Master Pascal, whom I have the priviedge to call my friend. And what a friend!

Pascal’s former ride…
Ice cream, anyone?

Pascal adds

Working with Philippe is a rare piviledge. Some people offer shallow ideas throughout never-ending meetings that drain my will to live. Philippe provides the exact opposite experience. We are both consultants who happen to occasionally work for the same clients. When a new project emerges that requires intense neuron-firing, and this one is helping save 1200 jobs, we tend to meet up in somewhere where the scenery is as pleasant as the food, work in intense bursts of around 2 hours, then spend the rest of the day walking, shooting and eating the most delicious food available. While that doesn’t sound like much work, it produces a good plan without fail, after which, we each go home to work much more intensely on our respective part of the execution. It also typically leads to a treasure trove of photographs which we can later share with you 🙂 Here’s a sprinking of mine from this 3-day intensive 🙂

No, Italy ain’t the only country with lovely churches 😉
InstaWhammer’s paradise
Green is the warmest colour
Warm fuzzy
Muted pallet
Drawn to the light
Into the sunrise
Almost a bicycle
Chair meeting
Provence churchyard
Sun of Provence
Hiding in the shadows
Room with a view
First light
Move along
Full circle

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  • Jack says:

    For all the talk of tourists, only two people in the entire portfolio.

  • Jeff Kott says:

    Of all of the great sets of photos you have posted here, I think this is my favorite!

  • John Goddard says:

    The hallmark of great travel photos has to be whether they create not only the desire but even the need to visit the subject location. I’m ready to book a ticket to Marseilles and spend the next month in Provence! Despite your different perspectives, you’ve both managed to capture the essence of this unique place with images that are thoughtful, unhurried and brimming with soul.

  • Kristian Wannebo says:

    Philippe & Pascal,
    Thank you for choosing such a nice place to work — and for sharing!
    I’m really enjoying your collection!

    My friend’s dictum for excursions
    “C, c, c!” — “Coffee, culture, coffee” — translates easily into your
    “Cw, cw, cw!” — “Camera-walk, consulting-work, camera-walk!” —
    and obviously inspired!

    ( Hopefully also for the middle cw!)

    As to bicycles, I prefer the last one.

    • philberphoto says:

      No doubt you know that, in languages like French or English, your first name is spelled Christian. That would put your initials as CW. So when you are touting CW in our post, you are actually plugging for yourself, Kristian!! But now you have been found out and exposed!! Many thanks nonetheless!

  • Michael Keppler says:

    Wonderfully atmospheric pictures that convey the beautiful light and the summery mood so much that you want to pack your bags immediately!

    • philberphoto says:

      You want us to arrange a meeting between you and John, Michael? That would let you discover that Pascal and I have barely scratched the surface. For example, Grasse, quite near by, is the world capital of lavender…. and many thanks!

  • Nancee Rostad says:

    What a wonderful collection of images, Philippe & Pascal! They make me yearn to be in the beautiful south of France again – it’s been way too long….and never with a camera. You both have captured not only charming and lovely subjects, but also the tone and emotion – kudos to both of you.

    • philberphoto says:

      Nancee, just set your terms for coming, and, sight unseen they are met! And we’ll throw in meeting John and Michael, to boot! Plus, we’ve not discussed food and drink in this post, but Provence is a cornucopia for more than just the eyes. And many thanks for the kind words!

      • Nancee Rostad says:

        What a fabulous idea! I fondly remember all the good times I had in France while enjoying the wonderful food and wine with friends – I so miss Provence and would love to experience it once again! It would be fantastic to meet up with my DearSusan friends for photography, food, wine, and fun.

  • Ian Varkevisser says:

    No need to work hard when you can work smart guys. Any vacancies opening up for assistants ? I am reasonably proficient with a camera – just saying. Probably not as proficient as you two. Thanks for sharing a soupçon of a day in your lives.

  • PaulB says:

    Phillippe, Pascal

    A lovely set of images. You have both presented your chosen location to show that there is beauty and wonder outside of the famous tourist locations. I have been to Tuscany three times, and would love to go back. But you have shown me that the South of France is just as worthy.

    You have also reenforced my desire to travel off peak tourist season. Alas, I have a major project beginning that will prevent me from visiting these lovely locations until next year.


  • Allan Dew says:

    My gosh, you guys really set the bar high! I’ve just finished looking at these images for the third time, they are outstanding.

  • John Wilson says:

    What Allan said. I wanted to look through the collection a few times before opening my big mouth. This collection is like a fine bottle of Burgandy; deep, rich, warm and you don’t want to put it down. More Please

  • jean pierre (pete) guaron says:

    There’s a reason for everything – so they say. The reason for my delay in getting off the starting blocks is that this post has swamped my computer. Each time I’ve tried opening it, it’s gone through to the end with half the images not opening.

    Well – happy days are here again, and FINALLY it’s managed it all. What an amazing collection of photos! A word to the rest of you – don’t ever pick a fight with this pair! – they mean business!

    Philippe – Pascal – it would be nuts to attempt to give you an appraisal – you’re too far ahead of me “in the game” and, anyway, it would take too long. Bit cheeky though, aren’t you? Picking some of the most photogenic places on the planet, to blast away at them? Quite a few times, I found myself staring at the image in front of me – thinking “this is so advanced – the ‘experts’ tell you blah blah blah about selecting the colours, mixing and matching them, to get the right colour balance in your composition” – but the colours THEY suggest are “fade” (blase?) compared to the ones you’ve found – in frame after frame!

    Imaginative – creative – I hope you have the wall space to hang them all – somehow I doubt it!

    Oh – and two and a half bicycles! That must just about set a new benchmark, Philippe!

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