David Noton Photo-Explorer Adventure: Franche-Comte 2017

Friday 20th - Monday 23rd October 2017

The Source du la Loue, Massif du Jura, Doubs, Franche-Comté, France.

The Course

Join us for a long weekend of photographic indulgence on our new Photo-Explorer Adventures this autumn in the Franche-Comté region of eastern France, October 20-23, 2017. We’ll be exploring this beautifully rural yet little visited region of rolling fields, wooded valleys, deep limestone gorges, waterfalls, chateaux, vineyards, villages and the mountains of Haut Jura just when the fall colours should be at their prime. Lying between Burgundy and Alsace, and between Champagne and Switzerland, Franche-Comté is easily accessible from the Low Countries, Germany, the Channel Tunnel or various regional airports. It is possibly the most underrated of all French regions.

Cascade de la Billaude, Franche-Comté, France.  

Our group of a maximum of 9 photographers plus partners will be led and tutored by myself and fellow professional photographer Nicolas Logerot. Wendy Noton will be on hand to support us all and in particular assist partners who, as always, are very welcome. We will be exploring the area over 4 days/3nights from our base; the Hôtel le Bois Dormant with its peaceful woodland setting and spa facilities near Champagnole. Nicolas, our man with the local knowledge, is a native of the region. I have visited the area a couple of times now and know well just how beautiful it is in autumn. 













Vineyards near Château-Chalon.

The course will comprise a 3-night stay at Hôtel le Bois Dormant at Champagnole, with 4 days (from early afternoon on the Friday until late morning on the Monday) of chasing the light, shoots and exploring as we delve into the full photographic potential of the region. The size of the course will consist of a maximum of 9 photographic guests, guided by David Noton and Nicolas Logerot. The framework of this course mirrors how David works when on his own photography trips. Dawn and dusk patrols, photo-shoots and location searching will fill the day, interspersed with the inevitable banter and informal interaction. Our guests will receive guidance and tutoring from David and Nicolas in a small group in-the field environment. These Photo Explorer Adventures are orientated to the needs of guests confident in their basic skills and techniques who would like to experience an adventure and indulge their photographic passion whilst chasing the light.

Photo: Nicolas Logerot

Lods in the Valle de la Loue at dawn.

With our two vehicles we will transport you to locations with strong photographic potential when the light is best. The days will be full, starting with an early breakfast followed by a dawn photographic shoot and ending with dinner back at the hotel. Additionally we’ll ask you to bring examples of your own work for the group to discuss and enjoy and to enable us to advise on how best you can continue to develop your photography. Should the weather be unfavourable we’ll have the facility to demonstrate post-production techniques and show inspirational slide shows from all over the world.















The Region

Between France and Switzerland, between plains and mountains, Franche-Comté has interesting towns and villages and impressive scenery with vineyards and lakes, forests and mountains as the scenic backdrop. Much of the countryside is an unspoiled mix of forests and open country, interspersed with lakes and rivers, which is why it is for the great outdoors that most visitors come to the region. Particular natural highlights include the Parc Regional du Haut-Jura and the valley of the Loue River which passes through the Doubs and Jura departments.

Photo: Nicolas Logerot

This region borders Switzerland with which it shares much of its architecture, cuisine, and culture. Franche-Comté consists of four departments; in the north lies the Haute Saone, mostly a deeply agricultural area, with small towns and villages, low hills and valleys, but rising into the foothills of the Vosges mountains to the east. In the centre of the region, between the Haute-Saône and the Swiss border is the department of the Doubs, consisting of a series of plateaux and hilly ridges rising from 200 metres in the north to 1200 metres on the Swiss border. In the south of the region, the department of the Jura covers part of the Saône valley, plus the central part of the Jura mountains, peaking at over 1500 metres on the Swiss border. Finally, in the north of the region lies the smallest of all French departments, the territoire de Belfort, an area that was for centuries the French-speaking part of Alsace. We will be concentrating our explorations predominantly within the Doubs and Jura departments.

Vineyards near Château-Chalon.

Source du Lison, Nans-Sous-Sainte-Anne, Franche-Comté, France.

The capital of Franche-Comté is Besançon, a historic city nestling beneath its ancient citadel in a loop formed by the river Doubs. In terms of townscapes, Besançon is one of the hidden jewels of France. The city centre is composed mainly of old stone-built houses and boasts the oldest, and one of the finest, public art galleries in France, with an impressive collection of old masters and 19th century French art, including works by Cranach, Titian, Bellini, Rembrandt, Rubens, Zurbaran, Goya, Fragonard, Courbet, Bonnard, Renoir, Matisse and many more. It has been nicknamed the "petit Louvre", on account of the richness of its collections. The imposing Citadel itself is a stronghold fortified by the great military architect Vauban in the 17th century, and classed as a UNESCO world heritage site in 2008. There is also a fine cathedral, the birthplace of Victor Hugo, and river cruises.









The Franche-Comté region likes to promote itself as a haven for green tourism. Like many mountain regions, Franche-Comté boasts plenty of delicious regional specialities; notably the famous Comté cheese, and smoked sausages. Other cheeses include Mont d'Or - also called Vacherin – Morbier, and Bleu de Gex while the notable regional AOC wines are Arbois and Côtes du Jura. The Jura also produces a very special aperitif wine, called Vin Jaune, which comes from Chateau Chalon, a village that is one of the most attractive in eastern France.

Autumn in the Valle de la Loue.

Your Accommodation

We’ll be staying at the Hotel Bois Dormant in the charming village of Champagnole (the Pearl of the Jura) at the heart of Franche-Comté. In the comfortable and welcoming atmosphere of this hotel deep in the woods we will all congregate after our full days to wine and dine. The hotel has an indoor heated pool, steam bath, Jacuzzi, sauna, wooded grounds, lounge and bar. During the day we’ll grab lunches as we go, keeping our options flexible to make the most of the light.

Beneath the Pont du Diable, Canyon du Petit Lison, Franche-Comté, France

Your Tutors

The course will be led by me, David Noton. I’ve been running these kind of courses for ten years now, and as ever it will be my aim to impart to our guests as much of my experience gleaned from over 30 years of chasing the light all over the world as possible. But we’re determined also to show you the best this region has to offer, and to provide an exhilarating photographic adventure. To do that best we’ve learnt local knowledge is key, and so we’re delighted to welcome onboard Nicolas Logerot, a highly experienced professional photographer from Franche-Comté. Together we aim to ensure you will be in the right place at the right time to see and photograph Franche-Comté at its best.











David Noton & Nicolas Logerot


We positively encourage partners to come along. Wendy Noton will be on hand to accompany or assist partners in getting the very best out of the region. That could involve walks, wine tasting, visits to villages, a day in Besancon, accompanying us photographers on a shoot, or simply relaxing in the spa facilities and woodland setting of the Bois Dormant. Of course we will all dine together in the evenings.

Misty autumnal woods, Baume-les-Messieurs, Jura, Franche-Comté, France


The Cost:

Photographic Guest £1470.00

Non-Photographic Partner £315.00

What this includes:

  • all the photographic tuition, excursions and activities
  • 3 nights Dinner, B&B accommodation at Hôtel le Bois Dormant
  • breakfast and evening meals
  • all transport whilst on the course

What this doesn’t include:

  • travel to and from Hôtel le Bois Dormant Champagnole.
  • drinks from the bar
  • all lunches
  • insurance

Photo: Nicolas Logerot



Bring whatever gear you use. We only stipulate that you should be familiar with your own equipment. The only requirement is that you bring a tripod. Being November in the mountains Guests will need to be adequately equipped with suitable outdoor clothing and boots to cope with all the weather could and probably will throw at us.

Photo: Nicolas Logerot


All tuition will be in English, but with Nicolas on hand the option to improve your French will always be there!


The price for non-photographic partners is based on the sharing of a double room. If a partner is also a photographer the full price of £1470.00 for a Photographic Guest applies.


Although we will be using our vehicles to access remote locations a reasonable level of fitness is required. Typically, we may need to walk for 30 minutes or more over hilly terrain with our equipment to reach some locations.

Photo: Nicolas Logerot


Arrival Time

We kick off with a Meet and Greet at Hôtel le Bois Dormant on the Friday afternoon (October 20) at 1400 hrs. After introductions and a brief chat we’ll then be going out on location for a late afternoon shoot.

Departure Time

We finish the course at 1100 hrs on the Monday 23 October, 2017.

How to Get There

The regional capital of Franche-Comté, Besançon, is accessible by direct TGV train from Paris (2h 30) or from Strasbourg, Lyon or Zurich. The region is crossed by motorway routes to central and northern France, Switzerland and Germany and the Channel ports and tunnel. The distance by road from Calais to Champagnole is 663 km; about a 6 hour drive. The region has no airport, but three airports just outside Franche Comté are served by Easyjet from the UK, and flights from many other cities in Europe; Basel-Mulhouse Euroairport in the north, Geneva Cointrin in the south, and Lyon St. Exupéry in the south west.


We take all major credit cards.

A deposit of £500 (£150 for a non-photographic partner) will be required to secure your booking, with the balance due 2 months prior to the commencement of the course.


To enquire of availability and book a course, please click here…



le Bief Sarrazin, Source du Lison, Nans-sous-Sainte-Anne.

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