After a longer trip and almost 2 weeks of getting up at 6am, there's hardly anything more pleasurable than going back home and having a well deserved sleep off. However, barely had I finished working on photos from Peru, when a new opportunity for a little, nice trip appeared.
This is how last week I found myself leaving hot and airless Paris behind me and heading to Loire-Forez region at the kind invitation of the local Tourism Office. After no more than 4 hours of train, I arrived to the lovely town of Montbrison, far away from the hustle and bustle of the capital. After dropping off my luggage at the charming Le Rézinet guesthouse, I was ready to discover some of the best attractions and most beautiful places that this area has to offer.
Loire-Forez turned out to be full of picturesque ruins of castles and historic churches such as Château de Couzan or St Romain Le Puy monastery, to name only few of them. What's more, many of those sites are beautifully integrated into the surrounding landscape that happens to be absolutely breathtaking.
Among all of them, a Volerie du Forez is something that shouldn't be omitted whenever you're around. This gorgeously located place is a shelter for many bird species and the owner, Stephane, was kind enough to show me around his establishment which resulted in some pretty cool photos.
Taking pictures of nature appeared to be a very nice escape from photo shooting in Paris. The wild beauty of the Loire Valley and the gently curved, lush green hills were definitely one of the highlights of this journey. At the same time, I pretty much enjoyed wandering around little bucolic villages like Champdieu with its ancient Benedictine priory.
Some gems of Renaissance architecture were also to be found, like Château de la Bâtie d'Urfé full of unique and quite original decorations.
Luckily, my stay in Loire-Forez was not only about visiting gorgeous places, as meeting people turned out to be an important and very exciting part of the experience. I got the chance to spend some time and chat with local entrepreneurs producing Fourme de Montbrison - the original cheese traditionally made in the region :
And see the glass making work at Verrerie de Saint-Just which happened to be an extremely photogenic place to shoot.
I even had a nice occasion to practice a little bit of street photography and enjoy unique atmosphere of an outdoor market in Montbrison. Smiling people, warm, summer sun and very tasty-looking groceries made a perfect combo for colorful and varied photos.
The few days that I spent in Loire-Forez flew so fast that before I realized it was already time for me to go back to Paris. This time however with a solid resolution to travel more often in France and discover such incredible, yet not so far from home places.