Southern France 2012 Wrap Up [Monster Post!!!]

Posted by on Dec 21, 2012 in Behind The Scenes, Travel | No Comments

Southern France Wrap Up Banner

After tons of hard work wrapping up these videos, they’re finally all done, approved, and handed off to their respective ports!!! It was a long time coming, and it feels GREAT! Time to show you guys what I’ve been up to overseas. 🙂

Villefranche Views

Ralph Grizzle, (The Avid Cruiser of and I traveled for about a month and half producing 19 videos for the Southern France region. These videos included 2 port operations videos, 16 destination/tour videos, and 1 fun ‘fam trip’ video. I shot and edited every video myself, Ralph hosted. Below you will find links to all of these, as well as short descriptions and comments from me on each port. There’s a lot so I’ll keep them brief. 🙂

Nice Side Street

For every single video I had no more than a few hours to one day (at most) to get as much footage as possible. The tourism board dictated the locations and activities, and usually we had no idea where we were going until the morning of. It was crazy, fly by the seat of your pants, hard work. People generally associate travel video as super easy fun work. I can tell you I work my ASS OFF overseas, pulling 10-12 hour days every day, for weeks at a time. That being said, it’s ridiculously fun and rewarding to be able to see and experience all these fabulous destinations. Cameras will open SOO many doors for you. 🙂

Grab a coffee, tea, or bottle of rose and relax, it’s video time!

Les Embiez Vineyards

Fun Stuff First – Our ‘Fam Trip’

I won’t get into a lot of detail here as I’ve already written a full blog post with pictures here. This is a glimpse into 7 days of our adventure along the Cote D’Azur during an industry ‘Familiarization Trip”. (Fam Trip) We were wined and dined and probably saw more in one week than most people in a month. The pace was crazy, but oh so fun!

Nice / Eze / Villefranche / Monaco / St. Paul De Vence – Eastern French Riviera

  • Nice – This was one of my favourite destinations to shoot. Nice was just wonderful, with its beach promenade and endless flowing rose wine. We visited some of most charming cafes I’ve ever been to. If you want the French Riviera experience, Nice should be #1 for you.
  • Eze- The hilltop town of Eze was enjoyable and offered some great views, though I didn’t get to spend as much time there as I would have liked. Apparently, at the top there’s an amazing garden overlooking the entire French Riviera. You’ll notice in the video I shoot up at it… We never made it up due to time constraints! Damn! I’ll have to go back!
  • Monaco – Money, money, money! The richest place on Earth. Excessive, lavish, exuberant! Makes somewhere like Vegas look like a Chuck E Cheese. We got a special permit to shoot the royal palace, which is a big deal since they don’t normally allow any professional cameras at all in principality of Monaco. When I worked for Princess Cruise Lines, they tried to deport me for bringing in a pro camera! Not this time! Ha!
  • St. Paul De Vence – Touristy, charming, the France I imagine when I think of little hilltop medieval towns. Windy cobblestone streets meandering around a town filled with art galleries, fountains and hidden nooks. Always a pleasure visiting here.

Cannes / Grasse / Antibes – Western French Riviera

  • Cannes – Cannes has always been super interesting to me, mainly due to the film festival. (I visited and shot the festival several years ago when I worked for Princess) It’s got a real beachy Hollywood vibe going on. Oh, and all the beaches area all topless.
  • Grasse – Funny, we actually never visited Grasse due to time constraints. (though the video would make you think otherwise) We instead visited the Fragonard Perfumery at the base of Eze. (Grasse has a Fragonard as well; we’re so sneaky) I had a really great time there and the staff was amazingly friendly and welcoming. Making perfume is quite a process and it was interesting to shoot it and, of course, smell it. And yes, their favourite book and movie is ‘Perfume’.
  • Antibes – Ooh, I loved Antibes. This place was just amazing!!! We were soo strained for time that we only got a few hours to shoot here, which was a real shame. Antibes is a beautiful walled city full of cobblestoned streets, little markets and art galleries. (This is where Picasso spent a portion of his life) While there, we were randomly approached by a man who saw our cameras and invited us to his absinthe den full of crazy hats, as seen in the video. This was totally spontaneous and one of those unique travel moments I won’t forget. No, I didn’t see the green fairy this time, though my shots definitely got more creative after the fact.

Thoronet Abbey [Tour] – Var Department of Provence

  • Thoronet Abbey – This was my favourite tour of the entire trip! (We shot actual destinations AND individual tours as well, this was a tour) Thoronet Abbey is a Cistercian abbey located deep in the woods of the Var Department of Provence. The church is unique because of its incredible acoustics. It’s among the 10 best in the world. I’ve honestly never heard sound like it before– the video just doesn’t do it justice! You could literally hear a pin drop on the far side of the church. At the end of the video, a woman begins to sing… and it’s nothing short of haunting and magical. I will never forget this experience.

Contignac & The Troglodyte Caves [Tour] – Var Department of Provence

  • Contignac – This was one of the most unique shoots of my entire life. (and I’ve shot some crazy stuff!) Ralph and I ascended a dried up waterfall dotted with ancient troglodyte caves, overlooking the little French town of Contignac. Wow! I had to climb the waterfall with my full glidecam and vest! It was challenging and SUPER FUN! Utterly unique.

The Rayol Gardens [Tour] – Var Department of Provence

  • The Rayol Gardens – We spent a few hours exploring the beautiful Rayol Gardens, enjoying the scenery and the unbelievable crystal blue water. It was a really nice experience. The sea vista at the end literally took my breath away. It was one of the defining moments of my entire France trip.

 Saint Raphael & Frejus – Var Department of Provence

  • Saint Raphael – Classic Southern France beach resort town. Pretty, clean, lots of beaches, and some epic churches. This is where Napoleon Bonaparte disembarked after the campaign of Egypt. We came on a perfect clear day and the views from the top of the church tower were spectacular.
  • Frejus – Ancient Roman city. Got to visit an old cloister full of history and interesting imagery. I’m really happy with how this section turned out.

Bormes Les Mimosas – Var Department of Provence

  • Bormes les Mimosas – Touted as the prettiest town in all of France, Bormes Les Mimosas lives up to its name. It’s a windy, flower covered labyrinth full of humming birds and hidden nooks. Running through its streets was one of the most enjoyable glidecam experiences I’ve had. It’s one of those places you just want to get lost in.

Les Embiez – Var Department of Provence

  • Les Embiez – This was my favourite destination we visited in all of France. Les Embiez is a deserty, vineyard covered island, perfect for biking, or finding a private little grotto and swimming for the day. We did just that! (You can see a lot of that footage in the 7 Days on The Cote D’Azur video above) The island has a small stone fort high on a cliff dominating the island, visible no matter where you are. Funny enough, it’s been taken over by goats. Yes, you read that right. Free roaming goats currently control the island. This is one destination that I can’t wait to get back to.

Le Lavandou – Var Department of Provence

  • Le Lavandou – Cute little seaside town famous for its beaches. Within the region there are 12 different colours of sands to choose from!

Porquerolles – Var Department of Provence

  • Porquerolles – Cool little island, great for bike riding. Super scenic, almost Caribbean, views from the fort at the top of the island. Interesting Mexican themed square with great ice cream and a palm garden! 🙂

Port Grimauld – Var Department of Provence

  • Port Grimauld – Did you know France has its own version of Venice? Neither did I!  Venice with a French twist. Hyper touristy, definitely just a day trip. I ate lots of Italian gelato there.

Saint Cyr Sur Mer – Var Department of Provence

  • Saint Cyr Sur Mer –  Sleepy little seaside town. Only spent about an hour or so here. It has a mini Statue of Liberty in its main square! Weird right? The statue was made by the same architect that made the real Statue of Liberty. We caught a pretty amazing sunset on its bluffs.

Bandol – Var Department of Provence

  •  Bandol – Seaside town of Bandol. Beaches, casinos, little markets, and one of the most inviting swimming bays I’ve seen in Southern France. (viewable at the end of the video) Unfortunately, I didn’t have time swim in it though! What a tease!!!

Gorges Du Verdon [Tour] – Var Department of Provence

  • Gorges Du Verdon – The largest canyon in all of Europe, referred to by locals as the Grand Canyon. Insane winding roads with MASSIVE drops. Be careful driving here! Apparently in the summer the locals inner tube/float down the gorge. That sounds pretty amazing. When we visited the weather was REALLY nasty. I froze my butt off on this one! Who knew the French Riviera could be cold?!

 Cavalaire Sur Mer – Var Department of Provence

  • Cavalaire Sur Mer – Touristy little seaside town. Apparently a huge watersport destination. The day we arrived the ‘mistral’ was happening: that is, a strong, cold northwesterly wind that blows through the Rhône valley and southern France into the Mediterranean. Due to this, we couldn’t take any water toys out. Darn! On the bright side, the skies were PERFECTLY clear blue due to the winds.

Le Castellet – Var Department of Provence

  • Le Castellet – A pretty hilltop village in Southern France, boasting some great views of the surrounding valley and endless vineyards. Oozing charm. Tons of little cafes everywhere. We had a great lunch here with some of the best rose wine on the trip. Definitely a nice place to spend a day!



What an amazing trip! I’m a huge fan of France and the South has really grown on me. I sincerely hope you enjoyed watching all these videos! A lot of sweat has been put into these to make them possible.


Ralph and I have already begun planning destinations for 2013! It’s looking like an even more promising year, with plenty more cruise ship destinations around the world for us to check out! When I get some firm details I’ll make sure to keep you all updated! Thanks for watching!

If you’d like to connect with me further my Twitter is: ChrisStanleyHD

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Thanks! See ya soon! 🙂

– APS_Chris

Trog Village Climb