2016 Photo Contest

Our sixth annual photo contest was held in January 2016. The contest was open to everyone who participated in our seven trips to the Luberon and the Périgord in 2015. The rules for this year’s contest stayed the same as previous years. Each person could enter one or two photos that best represented their personal experience during their week; they also provided a few sentences about each photo and why the experience was meaningful to them.

Every traveler experiences an Experience week in a unique way and brings home a personal set of memories. The collection of photos submitted in our annual contest represent the many aspects of a European Experience trip: beautiful surroundings, ancient villages, connections with local people, delicious meals, and special times with group members.

This year we received 60 entries from 30 people. Almost a third of the people on our 2015 trips participated in the contest. Every photo captures a special element of a European Experience week, and the captions enhance and explain the photo from the photographer’s perspective.

Our four judges made their assessments independently. They had an especially tough job this year, and they all told us how impressed they were with the quality of this year’s entries. Our judges were: Pauline Kenny, who runs the Slow Europe website and travel forum; Chris Coburn, the web designer for our websites; Bill Steiner, co-owner of Adventures in Italy and a fellow founder of the Slow Travel Tours group; and our daughter Kelly Wood, a graduate student in International and World History at Columbia University. Thanks to all of them for their thoughtful consideration of the entries!

Steve R. Congratulations to Steve Rapaport (left) of Stockton, California, our grand prize winner this year! His photo from The Périgord Experience captures a unique nighttime view in the village of Montignac and his caption shares a special experience while taking the photo.

This was the second Experience week for Steve and his wife Linda; they also joined us for The Luberon Experience in September 2014. As our grand prize winner, Steve wins a $500 credit on a future European Experience trip. He and Linda will be with us this summer for The Cotswolds Experience, so his prize can be put to immediate use!

We’re also delighted to recognize our runner-up Effie Best of Adelaide, South Australia, who receives a $250 credit on a future Experience trip. Effie was recognized for her photo of the village of La Roque-Gageac and the Dordogne River from The Périgord Experience. This was Effie’s third trip with European Experiences; she’s also joined us for The Luberon Experience and Return to the Luberon.

Eight other photographs were selected for special recognition in this year’s contest. These travelers each won a $50 Amazon gift certificate (or a $50 credit on a 2016 trip). See all 10 winning photos below, along with what each traveler had to say about the experience represented in their photo.

See an album of all the entries here. We appreciate all 30 travelers taking the time to share their memories and enter our contest, and everyone who entered will receive a special gift.

Grand Prize Winner

The Périgord Experience – July 2015

(Steve from California, USA)

Montignac at Night

Montignac is a beautiful small French village that Kathy and Charley encouraged us to explore during our free time. One night Linda and I went out to photograph a quiet Montignac street. A man stopped and asked in broken English why I was photographing an empty street and I told him to look at my camera. He was so amazed by the photo with the car streaks, signs, and the lights twinkling that he asked if he could tag along on our evening photo journey. I made a new friend that night and perhaps inspired a new night photographer.


The Périgord Experience – June 2015

(Effie from South Australia, Australia)

La Roque-Gageac

La Roque-Gageac has it all. Ancient cliffs, castles and houses with steep French roofs, all reflected in the waters of the Dordogne. And the reflection of densely wooded hillsides certainly deserves the appellation “Périgord Noir.”

Special Recognition

Return to the Luberon – May 2015

(Karla from California, USA)

Val Joanis

An unbelievable “jardin remarquable” (and luncheon) at Val Joanis on just another Thursday in Provence with Kathy and Charley….what memories….

Special Recognition

The Luberon Experience – May 2015

(Susan from New Hampshire, USA)

Marianne and goats

At La Cabriole we met Marianne. After explaining the process she uses to make cheese, she introduced us to her goats. Later she treated us to a wonderful array of great cheese samples. Fabulous!!

Special Recognition

The Périgord Experience – July 2015

(Rita from Illinois, USA)


In keeping with the “Foodie” theme, this is one of the incredibly fabulous
desserts we tasted at the Manoir d’Hautegente in Coly!

Special Recognition

The Luberon Experience – May 2015

(Carol from Maryland, USA)

Supersized lettuce

The L’Isle-sur-la-Sorgue Sunday market is the largest outdoor market in the idyllic Luberon area within the Provence region of France. When we visited, I asked a lovely French couple if they would pose with their oversized head of lettuce. They did!

Special Recognition

The Périgord Experience – July 2015

(Karen from Illinois, USA)

Lunch in St. Leon sur Vezere

After an interesting morning tour in the Vézère Valley, we stopped for lunch in St. Leon-sur-Vézère. The sunlight on the patio was absolutely magical and it made me feel like we were in an Impressionist painting.

Special Recognition

The Luberon Experience – May 2015

(Michell from Louisiana, USA)

Clos du Buis garden

The Luberon trip was our first trip to Provence. And while we were thrilled to discover the multitude of new sights and experiences provided by Kathy and Charley, we quickly realized that we didn’t have to travel far at all to appreciate the beauty and serenity of this special region. This photo taken from the back lawn of our home base of Le Clos du Buis in Bonnieux captured the essence of the peaceful beauty that is Provence!

Special Recognition

The Périgord Experience – July 2015

(Stacy from Iowa, USA)

Bienvenue in Montignac

Bienvenue (Welcome) sums up my week in Montignac, France. A home away from home, getting to meet friendly locals and fellow travelers alike. Ironically, this was one of the last photos taken before leaving. It’s a small plaque at the entrance of our hotel (La Roseraie), with a glimpse of the home Kathy and Charley stayed in and welcomed us into; kicking off a special week together.

Special Recognition

Return to the Luberon – June 2015

(Ann from Louisiana, USA)

Pont Julien bridge

Photo opportunities were abundant during my Return to the Luberon experience, but this picture taken by me on May 24, 2015 of the stone arch bridge, the Pont Julien, is one of my favorite photos. Located near our home base for the week, Bonnieux, I am in awe that the Pont Julien dates back to 3 BC and was used for car traffic until 2005. I can only wonder how the Romans acquired the skill and knowledge to build this enduring structure! The opportunity to visit the Pont Julien will always be a treasured memory.

See all the photos entered in this year’s contest here.