Meet the women in the workshop
In my previous posts (Part One and Part Two) about Aran Goyoaga’s workshop in France I showed you all the beautiful foods we photographed, but now I want to tell you about the amazing women I met on this trip. The entire workshop experience was so wonderful because of their open attitudes and creative energy. Among the eight participants, we represented six countries: Canada, Italy, Jordan, Norway, Switzerland and the United States. And our professions varied, too, including photography, writing, cooking, food styling, magazine editing, web publishing and finance. Although I traveled to the Dordogne to learn about food photography from Aran, I came away having learned something new from each person. I feel lucky and blessed to count these women among my friends. In the group photo below (Thanks for sharing Tracey!), there’s Erin, Kathleen, Emanuela, Leen, Tracey, Aran (our talented teacher), Cecilie, Juliana, me and Stephanie (our extraordinary hostess). The only one missing is our fabulous stylist Nadia, who is pictured later cuddling a chicken. If you have time, take a look at all of their websites to see the workshop through their eyes.
Sightseeing in Beynac
The final day of the workshop was devoted to sightseeing, including a visit to Chåteau de Beynac, a Dordogne River boat ride and a picnic. The picture-perfect, medieval village of Beynac stretches up limestone cliffs from the Dordogne River to Chåteau de Beynac. In a region with more than 1,000 castles, this 12th century chåteau is one of the best preserved. It’s 500 feet above the river, so views from its towers are breathtaking. After our castle tour, we slowly wandered down Beynac’s steep and winding stone streets, including the one featured in the film “Chocolat,” to meet Stephanie at the river’s edge for a picnic. Here, we snacked on homemade quiche, yogurt, cheeses, baguettes, fruit and chocolate and relaxed knowing we had accomplished a lot together during the workshop. I never imagined that I would one day sit in the shadow of a French castle, along a peaceful river, enjoying wonderful companionship and food, but it’s an afternoon I will not forget.
La Roque-Gageac, “les plus beaux villages de France”
After the workshop, I spent one more night at Manoir de la Malartrie in La Roque-Gageac before taking the train back to Paris the following afternoon. My mom Irene, who had spent the past few days in nearby Sarlat, joined me. Kathleen and Tracey also stayed on, and the four of us enjoyed one of the best meals of our trip at La Belle Etoile that night. On my final morning in the Dordogne I woke up early, noticed the river valley blanketed in fog and decided to explore La Roque before breakfast. I spent a quiet hour on my own, photographing, walking and thinking back over the past two weeks in France. That afternoon Kathleen, my mom and I returned to La Roque for some shopping, a visit to the village’s simple church and tropical gardens and a light meal. (Thank you, Kathleen, for making such a wonderful photograph of me and my mom.) Then it was time to begin the long trip home.
Next I’ll post photographs from the week I spent in Paris with my mom before traveling to the countryside for Aran’s workshop.