Is it possible to plan a work of photographic art in advance?
No. But if you use the beauty of the environment correctly, the masterpiece will appear by itself. The French Riviera. It is so photogenic that you expect perfection from every picture taken here by default. At this stage, the first mistake appears: an overly perfect photograph, without a soul, one of the thousands of very, very similar ones.
I photograph the French Riviera so that it has nothing to do with tourist guides and postcards. When working on your photoshoot, I make sure that the recognizable beauty of the Cote d’Azur frames your story, not overshadows it.
The Mediterranean coast of France is not only glamor and luxury in the modern sense. The Riviera is woven from unique styles of architecture, cultural influences, touches of art. The sea contains all twenty-four shades of blue available to the human eye. The sun, which shines here 300 days a year, bathes in light the colorful gardens, lush vineyards, and ancient mosaics.
Nice, Saint Tropez, Monaco, Cannes, and other cities and communes of the Riviera have never looked the same on the photos of my clients. I create atmospheric shots, where everything – from the play of shadows to the special charisma of the model – adds up to a story. Each person is unique, and each of us has our own Côte d’Azur, which I help to capture.
Of course, in photoshoots, I use pearls – Negresco and Martinez hotels, Croisette, Monte Carlo casino, Castle Hill, Cannes Festival Palace, and Phoenix parks. But I suggest not dwelling on the well-known facades and views. Each of the attractions of the Riviera is ready to reveal its secret – not so popular, but no less spectacular places.
You will learn how to make shooting fun. What is the best time to take pictures on Mount Tete de Chien or the Promenade des Anglais. What gardens hide something more than colorful flowers and plants. And most importantly, why do you need the photo tour.
Marvelous sea, sand, mountains, and architecture of Nice. The way to Castle Hill is from the Old Town (which in itself is a great location for filming). Those who want to capture a slightly less familiar Riviera can arrange a photo session on the border with winter, at the end of November. Then the first snow falls on the tops of the mountains, while the sea below glows with sapphire warmth.
Panorama of Nice
The castle itself lies in royal ruins. The hill looks at the current Nice and the port: the Promenade des Anglais, the Old Town, a scattering of boats and yachts. There are also mosaic steps dedicated to Homer’s Iliad, an old cemetery with monumental tombstones, a park, and a man-made waterfall.
You can take an elevator to the top or enjoy amazing views from the stairs of 213 steps.
Would you like to capture the whole of Monaco, a good portion of the Riviera, and a piece of Italy in the lens? Then you are on the observation deck, Tete de Chien. The mountain, whose name means “Dog’s Head”, is located in the village of La Turbie and rises directly above the Principality of Monaco. An altitude of 550 meters also allows you to see the Grand Corniche, the towns of Saint-Jean-Cap-Ferrat and Cap d’Antibes, and in good weather, Saint-Tropez and Corsica.
The best time for photoshoots is in the morning when the morning light outlines all the details of the views or 17:00-18:00 hours: sunsets on Tête de Chien are special magic.
Not even the highest-budget fantasy film can recreate the magic that lives in the thousand-year-old stone village of Eze. Rising above the sea, it consists almost entirely of buildings of medieval architecture and rises uphill in a labyrinth of narrow streets. There are no cars here at all, only stairs and sidewalks paved with red stone on the main paths. On the walls, between the pastel shutters and around the doorways, plants climb; overhanging balconies framed by flowers. Thanks to the abundance of plants, in Eze, despite the dullness of some stone buildings, it is sunny all 12 months: wildlife seems to attract ultraviolet. And in the evenings, forged lamps are lit in the town, flickering with a magical yellow light. You can take the perfect photo here at any time of the day.
Exotic garden among the ruins
The culmination of the city is the ruins of the castle of Eze on a hill, with a marvelous view of the green hills with a picturesque scattering of tiled roofs and the endless water surface merging with the sky. And above all this, an exotic botanical garden is laid out: epic cacti and succulents, practically hovering over the Mediterranean Sea!
From the Negresco Hotel to Beau Rivage Beach with its blue and white striped umbrellas; from a neat row of famous blue Chaises bleues by the surf to Cape Rauba, the Promenade des Anglais does not skimp on location. Main trick: catch them outside of the tourist hype. It is better to take pictures in the morning hours.
The link between the Old Town and Jean Medicin Avenue, where the statue of Apollo reigns, framed by grandiose fountains and a clear geometry of buildings. The sky here seems like a dome of lapis lazuli. As in the case of the Promenade des Anglais, Place Masséna is the best shot in the morning, before the ocean of people rushes in.
Here it is, that place on the Cote d’Azur, where the atmosphere is charged with luxury, and the sun and night lights are reflected exclusively in precious stones and the gloss of prestigious cars. The area itself is relatively small. But this only emphasizes the grandeur of the casino itself, built in the Beauzar style, surrounded by shaggy palm trees, with the Hotel Paris next door. It is more crowded here from three in the afternoon until eleven in the evening, although the photogenic location remains around the clock.
A town at the foot of the hills with marzipan-cream villas from the Belle Époque. Right on the main streets, near residential buildings and shops, “nobody’s” citrus trees grow, strewn with ripe fruits. During the Golden Age of Hollywood, local stars adored Beaulieu-sur-Mer, hosting Gatsby- parties and nude night swims.
Built into a beautiful back wall, this snow-white villa is an accurate reflection of the choice of residence of the ancient Athenian nobility. It stands on a rocky elevation by the Fourmi pool, surrounded by a fragrant garden with a terrace, and sea views splash through its panoramic windows. The ancient Greek details of the villa are meticulously reproduced, down to the last mosaic: its creator and first owner, Theodore Reinach, was an enthusiastic Grecophile. He also brought here a collection of real ancient statues to his taste, an open message. The villa itself can be rented for weddings and other events.
The multi-level walking trail that connects the towns of Beaulieu-sur-Mer and Saint-Jean-Cap-Ferrat is especially amazing in the morning because of the sunrise views. The boardwalk passes the famous Pink Cottage, a charming villa that once informed British actor David Niven, star of The Pink Panther.
Villa of Baroness Beatrice Ephrussi de Rothschild
Not a villa, but a giant box overlooking the sea, filled with luxury and eclectic art collections: Sevres porcelain, paintings by Fragonard, Carpaccio and Boucher, furniture that belonged to Marie Antoinette. All this, from the interior to art objects, was thought out and assembled by the Baroness herself.
The Nine Gardens of Villa Ephrussi de Rothschild
The park around the villa is divided into nine zones, each with its garden overlooking the Riviera, dedicated to a particular theme: French, Spanish, Japanese, Florentine, Provencal, Sevres, exotic, stone, and rose garden. Graceful statues hide in cool alcoves, brocade carp splash in the central fountains, classical music plays, which Baroness de Rothschild loved during her lifetime.
A place hidden like a pearl in the foothills between Nice and Monaco. The magical view of the bay of Villefranche-sur-Mer is not the only worthy location for a photo. Only on one 14-kilometer trail, which stretches along the entire resort, there are about a hundred colorful places. For example, pine and fig groves by the sea, between the beaches of Paloma and Le Faucette.
As for the beaches, then Passable is perfect for photoshoots – and not only because of the magnificent views. The fact is that the sunsets here a little later than on the rest of the coastal strip of Saint-Jean-Cap-Ferrat.
An ancient fishing village that has turned into a prestigious resort, but has retained its originality. Here you need to study the streets, alluring with multi-colored facades of the XII-XIII centuries, and the promenades between the beach area and the port. The photos taken here will become stories from another world.
On a hill near the port is a citadel of the 16th century. Previously, they looked out for pirates from here, so the view covers the entire bay. But not only the majesty of the ancient stone walls is good here, but also – unexpectedly! – Lush garden. It’s quiet and comfortable here. In addition to the kaleidoscope of flora, sculptures and art objects by local artists attract attention.
While other beaches in Nice fall into the list of stereotypical resorts, Le Cap de Nis offers more than a relaxing holiday. The paths lead to the water along with numerous ascents and descents. And if you find a certain angle, the rocks and the transparent sea beating against them create the effect of wild, almost impregnable, breathtaking lands. Relative sparseness at any time of the day only plays into the hands of this atmosphere.
I have listed in this article are just a few interesting favorites. A unique photo shoot can be arranged in any of the cities of the Cote d’Azur, from Antibes to Menton, near chapels, churches and palaces, parks and beaches, museums and hotels.
Car photo tour with a professional photographer in one day
It happens that from the whole trip, only attempts to take a more or less successful photo in a crowd of tourists or tedious posing in front of the lens are remembered – and all for the sake of a very mediocre result. But with a properly organized photo tour, you will not be distracted from the main thing – the living beauty of the real world. I coordinate the route with you in advance, taking into account your personal preferences and making my suggestions.
You can go to the Cote d’Azur with your family and children, friends, your loved one – for holidays, weddings, birthdays or the Cannes Film Festival. You can rent a villa, focus only on a couple of nearby attractions, or drive around as many cities as possible in one day. Whatever the plans, I, as an accompanying photographer, will be ready to capture your memories without taking your eyes off the main event. After all, a good photographer, like a good biographer, knows how to look for beauty in truth and truth in beauty.
The approval of the tour ahead of time allows you to avoid excesses. The quality of the roads and footpaths of the French Riviera insures against exhausting hours on the road.
Upon completion of the photo tour, you will receive a whole gallery of professional photographs – your personal story captured on the Cote d’Azur.
Book flights to the south of the country, write to me through the contacts on the site – the journey begins!