Travel Photography Inspiration Project: France

Travel Photography Inspiration Project: France

France is more than just wine, the Eiffel Tower and more wine. As viewed through the lens of DPS readers and travelers, France has many other sides I have never seen, and I am thankful for those who wish to share not only a bit of the country, but also some tips on how to take your own shots on a trip to France.

Let’s wander around France in today’s installment of the DPS Travel Photography Inspiration Project.

And if you would like to be involved in the next country’s post, drop me a line here.


Eiffel Scope by Kelly Irving

The Eiffel Tower has many Machine Age details. The brass telescopes mounted on its rails are beautiful objects. Their colour, plus the colour of the night lighting speak of that age. I darkened the image slightly to make the night sky black and bring out the city lights and reflections on the telescope.

Untitled by Nathalie Daguet

Visiting the ancient perched village of Saint-Saturnin-les-Apt in Provence at sunset was a real treat. This particular bell tower is special in that it is octagonal with eight faces and eight bells.

Tip : there are myriads of lovely church spikes and bell towers throughout French villages so it’s always a good idea to look up  but to take this particular photo I moved off the beaten track to find this branch that would frame my subject. The light contrast works well too : branch in the shade, bell tower lit sideways by the setting sun.


A land of ancient myths and white horses – Le Camargue, southwestern France by Julie H. Ferguson

Shooting wildlife in the salt marshes dictates you have a telephoto lens. Motion blur is a constant concern on horseback or in a jeep, so I was usually on shutter priority unless I was on foot. Try to squeeze in a minimum of three days in the Camargue, preferably avoiding July and August. Mosquito repellent and sunscreen are essential.  f/10, 1/400 sec at 29mm (kit telephoto 18-55mm)

A Marcella - American Cemetery at Normandy France

American Cemetery at Normandy, France (Infrared) by A. J. Marcella

A field of Heroes, a final resting place, the American Cemetery in Normandy, France lives on as an eternal reminder of the sacrifices made in the defense of freedom, liberty and justice.

Reville and the Normandy coast are wonderful during the early weeks of June. Warm days, cool evenings, wonderful cloud patterns, sea breezes, delicious cheeses, breads, and expertly aged grapes. An ideal travel destination, culturally, gastronomically, visually and photographically. 2012-3-30 233525.png

The annunciation by Lila Barger Check

Do not forget to include a bit of Paris architectural beauty in your shots….try to capture the Parisian attention to details and love of beauty. Beauty is everywhere and in every single place you visit. This is why the world loves Paris, for its beauty and romantic atmosphere, for its attention to details and love of Art.


Keys Of Love by Danielle L Goldstein

Take a stroll across the Pont des Arts, the first metal bridge built in Paris. Its busy with musicians, artists and street performers, but is most well know for its multitude of padlocks. Lovers attach a padlock to the railing and throw the key into the Seine below. I used an aperture of f/22 in order to capture both the locks and Il de la Cite in the background.


Paris Through the Eyes of a Small Child by Luke A. Bunker

This photo was taken on one of the observation decks of the Eiffel Tower in Paris. To take this photo in a less conspicuous manner, I faked that I was taking a panoramic shot, while capturing this child as the last shot (didn’t want any “Why are you taking pictures of my child?!” moments!). Putting focus on people while traveling, particularly kids where you can see a place through their eyes, has always been one of my favorite things to do while traveling.

dusk in Honfluer

Dusk in Honfleur by Linda Olsen

This photo was taken at dusk when the light is changing and incandescent light appears warm against the cool blues of the twilight sky.
We fell in love with this little seaside town and took pictures at different times of the day. During the Impressionist era, many painters came here to paint because of the light and inspired architecture. Artist still flock here to paint.


Eiffel Light  by Kelly Irving

Probably one of the most photographed structures in the world the Eiffel Tower poses a challenge to the photographer to find something different. Getting an interesting angle helps. Taking the photo on a misty night to create a glow and bring out the searchlight beam adds something else. The handheld camera with a 1/30 second exposure is just fast enough to retain the sharpness of the tower to contrast with the softness of the misty sky.


Paris,oh lalala! by Lila Braga Check

Taking great images from the tower is a piece of cake, specially in Spring/Summer time.Winter  can be a bit challenging for many  reasons,for me the flat white sky was a bit of a pain as I do not like to manipulate my images too much in Photoshop. The best time to visit the tower is around early morning or very late in the afternoon, get your ticket the day before or you will be facing the longest waiting line of your life to get up the tower and shoot fabulous images of Paris. Take a jacket as on the top is very, very cold. The wind is crazy up there too.


Coming alongside the seafaring town of St-Malo, Brittany by Julie H. Ferguson

This shot shows how St-Malo looked to the sailors returning home in the 1700s – it’s not changed much even though the town was destroyed in 1944. The Malouins rebuilt it just as it was. The narrow, pedestrian streets and the cathedral interior meant my 35mm lens was my only choice here. Deep shadows and brilliant sunlight can be challenging here. The circular rampart walk is a must-do for photographers and the sea breezes. Also eat a Breton crepe with seafood in one of the many bistros.   f/14, 1/800sec with 35mm lens.

The Cloisters of Mont Saint-Michel (bracketed, nine image HDR) by A. J. Marcella

Quiet and peaceful…radiating a calmness that relaxes. The cloisters were a refuge from the throngs of visitor touring the Abby.


Palais Royale at Night by Danielle L Goldstein

The Palais Royale in the 1st Arrondissement is a palace and gardens that are particularly great for photographers due to the symmetry and geometry of the architecture. This night shot was taken with a Canon 5DMKII,  hand held, with an iso of 6400 and the aperture wide open. Luckily, the resulting noise produced was pretty minimal, as the night shot was so much more interesting than the shots taken during the day.


Only in Paris by Luke A. Bunker

This photo was taken outside Notre Dame Cathedral in Paris. Because of all of the action in what was this purely right place, right time shot, I shot wide and cropped the shot when I got home so as to get the best clarity. You can really see some personality in this shot, particularly the woman with the pigeons resting on her shoulder and head!!

Monet's lilypads

Monet’s Lilypads by Linda Olsen

While strolling through Monet’s estate in Giverney, France, we were struck at how Monet must have had daily inspiration from his own gardens.
When I got home, I compared what I shot in Monet’s Gardens and pictures of his paintings. As an artist, I was equally inspired and actually did two paintings from my photographs.

Furrowed fields – Reville, France (bracketed, nine image HDR) by A. J. Marcella

Freshly furrowed fields waiting spring planning. Reville, France. The dirt around my ankles as I stood at the edge of this field setting up this shot was, rich, dark, and cool to the touch. Picking up a handful, the dirt had almost a silk-like texture to it, as I let it slip through my fingers. Each furrow was very deep almost .45 meters. I was struck by the visual effect of the converging rows and how the light played off the field in the distance.

Untitled by Nathalie Daguet

Street performance during the Avignon Theatre Festival in July. I switched the photo to black & white to make it more powerful and cropped it a little to centre my subject. I turned around the couple until I found a clean background with no distracting features (spectactors, lamp post, signs etc.)

Tip : Whilst in France I recommend you visit tourist offices to learn about market days and special events that are on during your stay. The Avignon Theatre Festival is on for three weeks every year in July and tradition has it that theatre companies advertise their plays by performing little teasers in the street or parading in their stage costumes. Just walking through the streets is a photographer’s dream. Festivals are numerous in France and provide fantastic photo opportunities.

Reflections on Bay

Reflections on the Bay by Linda Olson

This shot is a part of the sunset scene on the bay in Honfleur, France.
Take images of details as well as panorama images. It gives more of a complete picture of what you saw on a trip.

If you would like to see your images highlighted, follow this link to the Travel Photography Inspiration Project’s for more info and other countries already covered.

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Peter West Carey leads photo tours and workshops in Nepal, Bhutan, Seattle, Portland, Los Angeles and beyond. He is also the creator of Photography Basics - A 43 Day Adventure & 40 Photography Experiments, web-based tutorials taking curious photographers on a fun ride through the basics of learning photography.

Some Older Comments

  • Cam May 5, 2012 12:13 pm

    #6 reminds me of this lock I saw on the Brooklyn Bridge!

  • Stephanie April 18, 2012 06:42 pm

    Im heading to Normandy in 2 weeks. I can't wait ! Hope I get some great ones!

  • Jackie April 15, 2012 10:15 pm

    Great photos, and great inspiration for me. I live in south west France and love to take photos in this superb light we have, but you have given me lots of new ideas, thank you.

  • Randy McKown April 15, 2012 01:17 pm

    A Photo Safari in France has been on my bucket list for awhile now

  • Chie Chie April 15, 2012 12:08 am

    Nice selection of pics.
    The keys of love are so cooL.

  • Allen Conway April 14, 2012 07:35 am

    Just 2 remarks that have nothing to do with the photos... It's La Camargue (and not Le) and Normandy is not really known for its grapes - cheeses, butter, cream, cider, apples, and rain, yes, but not grapes !

    I don't really understand the Burgundy/Bordeaux remark made by Jeff either - Burgundy is of course Bourgogne in French, and Bordeaux is, well, Bordeaux in English.

    As I said, nothing to do with the photos and not at all important.

  • Virginia April 14, 2012 12:24 am

    Excellent images. I was interested to see that Nathalie Daguet was a contributor. I've known Nathalie for many years and admire her wonderful work!

  • alvaro sanz April 13, 2012 10:38 pm

    Nice! Here you have a look at the lost France in the rural zones...

  • Riyazi April 12, 2012 08:13 pm

    Nice post and pics. We visited Paris last year and loved it though certain aspects were very different to what we expected.

    Here is a different viewpoint of the Eiffel Tower

  • Riyazi April 12, 2012 08:12 pm

    Nice post and pics. We visited Paris last year and loved it though certain aspects were very different to what we expected.

    Here is a different viewpoint of the Eiffel Tower

  • Seb F. April 12, 2012 05:36 pm

    Thank you for this post & images. They look great.
    Nevertheless, it is a pity there is not even a single pic of a mountain (Alps, Pyrénées, Massif central), as they are also a great part of France :wink:

  • MsKirpi April 11, 2012 09:37 am

    Very nice. I was born in France, so thanks for bringing back some memories.

  • Mei Teng April 10, 2012 10:54 am

    Dusk in Honfleur is beautiful.

  • Julie H. Ferguson April 10, 2012 03:11 am

    Thanks, Peter for including two of my images in this evocative collection. Love it!

  • Thibault Gomarin April 9, 2012 06:45 am

    Great images! Thanks for the post. :)

    I especially love "Dusk in Honfleur", "Eiffel Light" and "Furrowed Fields"!

    Also, as a frenchman, I would like to say that even though Paris is the capital and attracts millions of tourists, there is so much more than Paris in France. If you can, I would suggest you to visit other cities and regions! The south is pretty great. ;o)


  • David April 9, 2012 06:18 am

    I love Paris, took my X100 for a trip around and captured this photo of the love locks that was then accepted to Getty. Was surprised at the photo and quality of the X100.

  • Jeff April 9, 2012 04:18 am

    JAMES ANDERSON : you dont have to translate Bordeaux into Burgundy, cause its not a color, its a CITY !

    ... thats like if i translate your name when you go in a different country.

    if any reader of this blog come in South of France ( i live in Montpellier ) feel free to tell me i will show you the area.
    ( i from Paris , but im not going to make you visit this city, its ok to go alone, and i use to live in Troyes, if you want to discover east of France )

  • Jon Searle April 9, 2012 03:22 am

    These are wonderful - thank you for sharing. As a cautionary note, do be careful with images of the Eiffel Tower at night, as the lights are copyrighted, so any images cannot be used commercially.. :(

    A couple of images taken in Bordeaux and Brittany amongst this album:

  • James Anderson April 8, 2012 11:43 am

    One of my favorite photos from a trip to Burgundy.

  • Scottc April 8, 2012 10:16 am

    Great photos, Paris in particular was always one of my favorites.

  • steve slater April 8, 2012 04:46 am

    I found a lot of old ruined buildings that were full of character:

  • Alexx April 8, 2012 03:16 am

    I have a photograph similar to the first one here:

  • Seb April 8, 2012 02:35 am

    Nice pictures !! Furrowed fields is my favorite !