Juliet & James | Celebrating 30 Years of Love in Provence
This will go down as one of my favorite photo sessions ever, one that I’ll look back on with happiness and fondness, for my good fortune to spend time with this beautiful couple from Northern California.
Juliet contacted me about arranging a photo session for she and her husband. They’d be traveling to Italy with family, but then breaking off and the two of them would be spending some time in Provence, France, in the southern part of the country. Originally, we discussed a tour around the lavender fields, but as they were coming to Provence in mid-June, I couldn’t be certain any lavender would be in full bloom. Usually, lavender in Provence peaks at the end of June and beginning of July. It really depends on the weather, and the winter we had the year before.
As luck would have it, we had bloom near to where we planned to travel, and it was glorious! Many people don’t realize that to get to the lavender fields in Provence takes a bit of time. Most people stay in the city of Avignon, or Aix-en-Provence, or in a village like Gordes. Gordes is closer, but to get to the lavender fields from many other places, you can plan on at least an hour to an hour and a half in the car to get to them. Lavender, of course, does not bloom in cities, but in rural areas.
I can’t think of anything less appealing than renting a car for a photo session and driving around haphazardly trying to find blooming lavender fields. Instead, I think it’s best left to the experts, those tour companies who go to the lavender fields frequently, know what is blooming where and when, and you have the added benefit of an air-conditioned, comfortable voyage, along with commentary on the things you’re seeing. One of my favorite tour companies, based in Avignon, is ProVans Tours. Veronica and her husband Nicolas run the company, and the tours. They are both wonderful, and I’ve done quite a few tours with Veronica. She has to be one of the nicest and most thoughtful and helpful people I’ve ever met. She goes way above and beyond for her clients, and every excursion with her is like a bit of magic.
I rode along with Veronica to meet Juliet and James, and I was so excited. I’d been emailing with Juliet for quite a while, and I got a terrific vibe from her. I was right. From the moment she and James stepped out of their rental car, when we met to get into the tour van, well, let’s just say the first impression was spectacular.
Friendly, fun and happy, Juliet and James were dressed in white, a classic color, tailor-made for a photo session Provence. Celebrating 30 years of married bliss, their love story was touching and inspiring. We began our time together in the village of Gordes. I’ve been to Gordes many, many times, and I never tire of it. A beautiful village perched on a hill, about a 45-minute drive from Avignon, it’s magnificent. I so enjoyed walking around the village with Juliet and James, and capturing them magnificently. Gordes is known as one of the most beautiful villages in France, and for me, it really lives up to that.
The next stop was to a beautiful lavender field that Veronica had found for us. The experience of being near a lavender field in Provence is one that’s difficult to describe. First, there’s this incredible feeling of peace and calm. Our time together was uncharacteristically cloudy, but even that didn’t stop this magical feeling of seeing these beautiful, colorful plants. Of course, the smell is intoxicating. I’m not even someone who really adores the scent of lavender, but in the fields, it’s another matter. Ethereal, and dream like. It stuns me every summer.
Nearby to the field, we explored what I think is one of the absolute cutest villages in Provence, Roussillon. With its nearby ocre mines, now now longer in service, but with a terrific trail open to the public, the buildings are so colorful and unique. It’s seriously a picture postcard. It’s another village I never, ever get tired of visiting.
I took Juliet and James to some of my favorite spots, and captured them on the charming little lanes. By this time, we’d worked up quite a thirst, so we sat down to a little café, where Juliet and James enjoyed some crepes and I had a salad. We each had a cool drink, and learned that we have so much in common. I felt so wonderful in their presence–so kind and charming and fun. We talked about everything under the sun!
Just before headed back, Veronica took us to another gorgeous field of lavender with a view of the village of Bonnieux in the backdrop. It was mostly cloudy, but a smidge of sun was setting and it was absolutely a perfect ending to a perfect afternoon.
I am incredibly grateful to Juliet and James for sharing these Provence moments with me, for being such great sports, so much fun to chat with and photograph. Also, my profound thanks to Veronica at ProVans Tours, for putting together such a wonderful itinerary for us.
Whether you’re celebrating an anniversary, birthday, engagement, job promotion, or simply the joy of being alive and in love, planning a trip to Provence should be very high on your list!
See you in Provence!