Bicycle Gourmet’s Photo Workshop Lowdown.

The straight skinny on DA BG’s Photography Workshop Tours is headed your way because of, not suprisingly, this recurring question :

What can I expect on one of the Bicycle Gourmet’s Photography Workshops? Glad you asked. No, really. Because with everything in life that sounds too good to be true, there are some truths to be revealed. And with Photo Tours yuou’ve never been on before — in advance, being the best way.

Not to pour cold water on your French dreams, but having a more balanced view of the realities of this here land, will enable you to have a “mo beddah” experience.

Reality One : Strikes can, and do happen without much/any advance notice. Particularly with trains. Then there are the mini-strikes that we call “work stoppages” or “work to rule” (in the UK) Translation: The service you want and need is not available today.

Reality Two: While it cannot technically be considered a “strike” or “work stoppage”, just as irritatingly inconvenient is the “Fermenture Exceptionnell.” (translation: “exceptional closing”) You will find this sign on the window of whatever shop whose goods/services you absolutely, desperately want/need and will probably die without. But, sniff,sniff, they’ve decided , for whatever reason, or no reason at all, not to be open today.

Reality Three : Although there are approximately 30,000 words we have in common with those (usually)loveable latins, they ARE pronounced differently. For instance, our “fragile” is “Fraa- geeel.” so prepare your ears.

And also, prepare a few essential phrases. like “yes, no”, thank you” and the absolutely critical “where’s the toilet?” That said, you will find that most Frenchies do understand more “eengleesh” than they speak. But if you make the effort, they meet you more than halfway.

Reality Four : Da Wine! While French Wine is justly famed Worldwide, there is another(and for me) more interesting aspect of Froggie grapedom. That being the “cave co-operative.” A Wine Co-op offering a grog from growers in the local area. Sold “en vrac” (Translation: you bring an empty litre container (a “Bidon”) and “fill ‘er up.)

The advantages of buying from a local cave-co-operative are many. First of all: Convenience. Second: Quality/price ratio. Always under 2 euro@litre. Third: Because the caves are outside the government A.O.C. wine classification system, they can blend the best grapes they have available. With no worries about the “correct varieties.”

Reality Five : French Food. Is good and priced reasonably in the (non high traffic) countryside. Cities are just what you’d expect. (Cannes, more. and worse -trust me -” been there — done that”)

Reality Six: Impossible to get a bad cup of coffee in France. They know their joe!

Reality Seven: The French Countryside is MORE fantastic than any/all photos you’ve seen. That’s what makes it such a “must do” destination for Landscape Photography.

Reality Eight: After a million and a half years(and counting!) of an Endless Tour de France — I can (and will) Absolutely make sure you taste the land and the people as well as the food and wine — plus go home with some awesome images, great memories, and (more often than not) a few new friends.

Anything else you’d like to know?

Christopher Strong is The French Cycling Bicycle Gourmet — Film Maker,Photographer and Author. Your non-snobby Gourmet Guide to French food, wine and travel

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