Last Sunday I was fortunate enough to be part of an InstaMeet in France at Saint-Germain-en-Laye. This was a great opportunity to meet people who have a passion for photography and to discover many interesting places in the town.
Our first InstaMeet in France
Saint-Germain-en-Laye is situated in the Île de France region, and more precisely in the département of Yvelines 20kms from the centre of Paris. The royal town is one of the most beautiful cities in the West of Paris with its historic castle, its elegant tree-lined streets and fantastic terrace by Le Nôtre.
InstaMeets are planned events where a group of people (known as ‘Instagrammers’) meet up in a pre-determined place and at a set time to take photos together.
The success of this gathering is due to the wildly popular app, Instagram (check our profile) as people part of the social network community are coming together to connect, explore, and share their passion for photography.
Events such like this InstaMeet in France are a great opportunity to share tips and tricks with other community members in the area. It’s more about the social experience than spending most of the time taking photos.
On Sunday 4 October 2015, an InstaMeet was organised by the Tourist Committee of the Yvelines département in the town of Saint-Germain-en-Laye.
When turning up to the meeting place at 10am in front of the castle’s entrance I simply looked out for a group of friendly people standing around armed with their cameras. By the time we waited for the last people to arrive, we had met each other with both our first names and ‘pseudos’ (the actual username of our Instagram profile). One of the best reasons to get involved in an InstaMeet is that you have the perfect opportunity to meet people behind the photo accounts you may be following.
Then the Instagrammer host lets the group know the plans for the day which included a visit to the castle, a degustation meal at a local restaurant, a guided tour of the old town followed by wine tasting at the Tourist Office.
The first part of the day took place in the gardens of the castle. For half an hour we all dispersed to set up our position for whatever was worth photographing in the grounds. It could have been the misty cloud formation rising above the park, the sun-drenched façade of the castle of Saint-Germain, someone running along the park or jumping randomly…
Then we regrouped for a visit of the castle where we had the fantastic opportunity to climb up to the roof.
We also went inside the castle which hosts the National Museum of Archaeology and visited the royal chapel.
Lunch at Cazaudehore La Forestière
Once the visit of the castle was finished, it was time for lunch and our group reached the restaurant in the middle of the forest of Saint Germain.
Cazaudehore La Forestière is a gastronomic restaurant and luxury hotel set in a luxurious and quiet environment just less than 30 minutes from Paris. A large table was set up inside the cosy and friendly room for us to all sit around. The owner was pleased to welcome us and delighted us with a three-course meal with matching wines:
Guided tour of the old town
In the afternoon the group went back into town and was joined by 10 other Instagrammers. A staff member from the Saint-Germain Tourist Office and a ‘Greeter’ led us from the park of the castle into the historic part of town.
This guided tour made the discovery very interesting with facts and figures about Saint-Germain-en-Laye.
We stood at the place where Louis XIV was born…
… admired the long terrace of Le Nôtre…
… walked through the peaceful English garden…
… looked up at the finest hôtels particuliers of the old town…
… entered in peaceful small courtyards, and…
… reached the Place du Marché-Neuf with its arcades:
The day ended with a reception at the Tourist Office centre, which also houses a small museum dedicated to the musician Claude Debussy who lived there.
There we tasted the exclusive wine of Saint-Germain: the ‘Vin des Grottes’.
The Pinot Noir comes from vineyards that grow just below the Le Nôtre terrace. Approximately 1,900 vines have been planted in 2000 and only a few bottles are produced each year. For this reason the wine of Saint-Germain-en-Laye cannot be found at the local wine merchant.
About this first Instameet!
Honestly you don’t need to be a professional photographer to be part of an InstaMeet. Obviously some come with good cameras but others are happy to come along with a smartphone. The super social and friendly members of the group greatly contributed in making this InstaMeet in Saint-Germain-en-Laye a real success. You can view all the photos posted by the Instagrammers on that day here.
We would like to thank the following profiles on Instagram for making this day in Saint-Germain-en-Laye great moments:
- archeonationale and
Useful Links about Saint-Germain-en-Laye
- Saint-Germain-en-Laye Tourist Office
- National Museum of Archeology
- Tourisme en Yvelines
- Where to stay in Saint-Germain-en-L.
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