French Alps: Photography Expedition
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Hike & Photograph the Alps
The ultimate inn-to-inn trek for passionate outdoor and adventure photographers
September 4 - 12, 2022
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9 Days, 8 Nights
Aussois, Briançon, St Véran, Barcelonnette, St Martin de Vésubie, Menton
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We will contact you if and as space becomes available
Drink it in: this is the Alps, and it’s a photographer’s dream come true. The flowing valley below holds wonder and intrigue. You’re standing where ibexes roam free, eagles soar, and Olympians have tested their meddle. Over dazzling jagged peaks, past shockingly blue lakes, through wildflower-pocked meadows and medieval stone villages. Every day—every hour—brings new adventures to capture.
Experience the Alps and enhance your photography techniques alongside Louisa Albanese, senior photo editor and staff photographer at Backpacker magazine. Each day in the field we’ll scout out the perfect spot for that perfect shot while working on our concepting and shooting techniques. Evening review sessions ensure that shooters of all levels will improve their photography fundamentals. Step by step, we’ll make our way up, down, and around, peak by peak, village by village, on an epic Alps journey all the way to the sun-kissed beaches of the Côte d’Azur.
If you’re ready to explore Europe’s premier hiking trails with a group of passionate photographers, this trip is for you. Six to eight hours of hiking per day, through Technicolor landscapes, every inch of it mesmerizing, eating well and sleeping in elegant hotels and mountain inns, shooting sweeping mountain peaks and remote Alpine valleys. Join us in the French Alps on a photography adventure like no other.
French Alps Highlights
Who It's For
Photographers with a passion for the outdoors! Our focus is on creating the best images we can, concepting out ideas and how to best execute them, with group review sessions most evenings. We hike through Alpine valleys, cross mountain passes, spend the night in medieval mountain villages, and finish with a swim in the Mediterranean Sea. It doesn’t get better than this.
Activity Level: Moderate
This is a fully supported hike led by experienced local guides. We carry lightweight day packs, while the rest of our gear is transferred daily between our hotels. We’ll have gourmet picnic lunches, with breakfast and dinner at village restaurants. Each day we walk 6 to 8 hours with daily elevation gains between 1,500 and 4,000 feet. We stick mostly to established trails, at times making use of off-piste routes.
We travel with Louisa Albanese, senior photography editor at Backpacker magazine and curator of its popular Instagram feed. She'll work on our concepting and shooting techniques, wildlife and nature set-ups, and social media tips and best practices. Group review sessions ensure that shooters of all levels will improve their outdoor photography fundamentals.
This exclusive French Alps adventure was developed in partnership with Backpacker magazine. True wilderness. Epic exploration. Deep backcountry. Cultural immersion. We’ve scoured the earth for hidden gems and we're inviting you to join us on one of these exclusive trips. Let’s explore the trails less traveled, together.
Hôtel du SoleilAussois
Our hotel in Aussois has rooms with unforgettable views—not to mention a hot tub and solarium that overlook the mountains, too. We'll dine on the panoramic outdoor terrace from a menu that takes 'local and seasonal' to new heights: everything served hails from within a 10-mile radius.
Hôtel de la ChausseeBriançon
Located in the center of Briançon since 1892, we’ll be welcomed by the fifth-generation Bonnaffoux family. Their mountain home lies between tradition and modernity all with the chalet spirit. Relax and take in the sights— Briançon's fortifications are recognized as World Heritage Sites by UNESCO.
Hôtel Les Chalets du VillardSt Véran
Relax fireside at one of St Véran's most-prized hotels. It's the views from the panoramic terrace and lounge that you'll treasure. A wood-fired grill at the hotel restaurant cooks up some of the region’s finest game dishes.
Artsy and hip, this design-forward hotel in Barcelonnette features a rotating exhibit of multimedia works by young international artists. The quirky library and bar wouldn’t feel out of place in New York or Berlin—but the views and mountain vibe are pure Alps.
Hôtel La Bonne AubergeSt Martin de Vésubie
This family hotel and restaurant resides in the beautiful village of St Martin de Vésubie. The rustic stone lodge has passed from father to son since 1945. With its individually decorated rooms and shaded terrace with views of the Mercantour National Park, it’s a perfect place to relax at the end of the day.
Hôtel Riva Art & SpaMenton
The moment you enter this light-filled hotel you know you couldn’t possibly be anywhere but the Côte d'Azur. It's located on Menton's aptly named Promenade du Soleil with seafront views. Enjoy a pastis on your balcony, take a dip in the rooftop pool, book at massage at the spa—and simply drink in the sun and sea at every turn.
People Love MO/AD's French Alps
Book French Alps: Photography Expedition
Number of Travelers
Reserve your spot today with a $1,000 per-person deposit plus room supplements (if relevant). Full payment is due 180 days prior to your trip departure date. We’ll email you a reminder. If your trip departs in less than 180 days, we’ll collect full payment either 30 days from when we receive your deposit, or 60 days prior to your trip departure date, whichever is sooner. For details read our Deposit FAQs
Per person based on double occupancy
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What does the price include?
Eight nights at unique mountain village accommodations; private minibus for luggage transfers between all hotels; certified trekking guides to accompany all day trips and excursions; group photography work sessions; departure airport transfer; entrance fees; all breakfasts, lunches and most dinners; local beverages with meals.
What does the price not include?
Roundtrip airfare to/from France; travel insurance; transportation to the trip’s meeting point; activities not included in the trip itinerary; lodge incidentals including room service, laundry, etc; personal gear; gratuity for tour leader.
How difficult is the hiking?
This is considered a moderately difficult hiking adventure. You will be carrying a day pack each day, with your own water and daily supplies including your camera gear, while the rest of your luggage is transferred by vehicle between our hotels and lodges. We’ll follow well-maintained paths but sometimes go off-trail, and sleep in hotels and lodges every night. Each day we’ll hike for 6 to 8 hours with significant elevation gains and losses (up to 900 feet of gain per hour). We strongly recommend that participants have a good level of fitness, and are prepared to maintain a pace of 1.5 to 2.5 miles per hour carrying a day pack over uneven mountainous terrain.
What photography gear should I bring?
This trip is open to all levels of photographers, whether you’re shooting for social media on a smart phone or carrying the latest high-resolution full frame DSLR camera. While there are no gear requirements, some items to consider include: lenses, filters, spare batteries and charger, memory cards and storage case, travel tripod, wireless remote/cable release, and a lightweight laptop or tablet.
How much photography instruction is there?
This trip is intended for photographers of all levels who want to experience hiking inn-to-inn through the Alps with a group of passionate, like-minded travelers and photography enthusiasts. We will meet each night as a group to discuss and review the images we capture each day, to concept out shooting ideas and set-ups and how to best execute them. Each day we make time to shoot specific aspects of the French Alps experience: mountains and valleys, sunrise and sunset, wildlife and nature, using a variety of lenses, capturing movement, creating depth, and sharing tips for composing the best images we can. While this is not a one-on-one photography workshop, you can expect plenty of feedback from Louisa and the group.
Is it OK for non-photographers to join this trip?
Yes, of course. This trip is not intended exclusively for photographers. It is a fully catered hiking experience in the French Alps designed with photographers in mind, but open to anybody who loves hiking and the outdoors. You will not feel out of place if you are accompanying a partner or friend who is passionate about photography.
What are the arrival and departure details?
There are several options for arrival airports including the Geneva Airport (GVA) in Switzerland, and Turin Airport (TRN) in Italy. In both cases you’ll need to transfer by bus or train to our starting point in Aussois, France. On our last day together, in Menton on the French Riviera, Modern Adventure will organize a complimentary group transfer to the Nice Côte d’Azur Airport (NCE) in Nice, France. Your flight from NCE should depart at 1pm or later.
What are the accommodations like?
We will be sleeping and dining at elegant mountain hotels and lodges each night. There is no overnight camping on this photography adventure.
Who is going on this adventure?
This adventure is recommended for travelers aged 18 and above who are in good health and have some experience with hiking. You will be expected to load and unload your own backpacks and manage your own physical comfort and well-being. This adventure will be limited to no more than 12 fellow adventurers and your Modern Adventure team. We will be joined for this adventure by expert expedition guides. Each guide is highly qualified in all necessary skills to safely travel through the French Alps. They will be with us for the entirety of the adventure helping us carry group supplies and helping us see the true Alps experience.
What if I am a solo traveler?
Prices are based on double occupancy. Ii you would like to be paired up with a roommate of the same gender to share lodge accommodations with, choose ‘Single – Willing to Share’ at checkout. If you are a solo traveler and want to have your own accommodations, a $1,000 supplement will apply at checkout – these spots are very limited due to the type of accommodations on our adventure and are available on a first-come, first-serve basis.
What travel documents are needed?
US citizens do not require a visa to visit France, however are required to show a valid US passport. It is recommended that your passport is valid for six months after your travels are over. For citizens of other countries, please check with the French Embassy or Consulate for information and requirements.
Do I need Travel Insurance?
We highly recommend purchasing travel insurance. Travel insurance allows you to seek reimbursement for your trip costs; if your trip plans change for unforeseeable reasons, or if you need to get medical help, emergency transport, and for theft, loss or damage of items while traveling. For best coverage, always insure the full trip cost within two weeks of your initial trip deposit and note that most ‘Cancel For Any Reason’ policies must be purchased on the date of your initial deposit.
What is the cancellation policy?
You may cancel on or before May 7, 2022 and receive a full refund minus a $500 per-person service fee. If you cancel on or after May 8, 2022 there is a 50% cancellation fee. On or after July 6, 2022 there is a 100% cancellation fee. We highly recommend purchasing travel insurance as we are not able to make exceptions to this policy in cases family/medical emergency or cases of the trip being canceled (see our Terms and Conditions for full details).