Led by professional photographer Mike Read, this tour visits the stunning Vercors region of France to capture its superb flora.
Between Grenoble and Valence, the Vercors is an area of mountainous limestone, where deep gorges cut by rivers over millions of years are topped by a plateau rising to over 2,300 metres. The cliff scenery is dramatic, and provides a rich range of flowers, butterflies, mammals and birds, all adding their own magic to a stunningly beautiful part of France.
This tour will concentrate on flower, landscape and, if opportunities arise, insect photography. We will find different ways to capture the essence of our subjects whether it is a close-up portrait or a wide angle ‘in habitat’ view.
We will explore a range of habitats from high level ‘Alpine meadows’ stuffed full of a wide variety of blooming plants right down to valley beech woods. Wild orchids are abundant throughout the Vercors with masses of them growing on many of the roadside verges, and we could see 30 or more species depending on the timing of the season.
During the day we search for the special plants and insects of the region. We may also glimpse birds as varied as wallcreepers and dippers, goldcrests and griffon vultures; the latter being part of a re-introduction scheme.
Fly to Lyon and transfer to Chichilianne
Fly from London to Lyon from where we drive to Chichilianne, with Mont Aiguille as a lovely backdrop.
Accommodation: Chichilianne, 3-nights
Over the next couple of days we will explore a range of habitats from high level Alpine meadows, stuffed full of a wide variety of blooming plants right down to valley beech woods where tiny coralroot orchids grow in competition with large and showy lady’s slipper orchids which sometimes grow in large clumps.
The flora is superb with alpine meadows full of white, yellow, blue and pink blossoms. Greater yellow rattle is absolutely widespread and at times the meadows are coloured by this semi-parasitic plant which is becoming increasingly rare in the UK. Various species of cranesbill, saxifrage and narcissus are perhaps the first plants to be noticed when strolling through these meadows, but then the vivid deep blues of trumpet or spring gentian or the pinks of red clover catch the eye.
Today we take a two hour drive to La Chapelle-en-Vercors, close to the pinewoods of the Reserve Naturelle des Haut Plateaux. Wild orchids are abundant here and our picnic spots are often chosen with flowers or spectacular views in mind.
Accommodation: La Chapelle-en-Vercors, 4-nights
Drive to Lyon and fly back to the UK
You should note: You may opt to travel by train to Lyon (St Exupery) airport.