by Barry Harley on October 16, 2015


When I left for the Tour de France with my wife I expected to be treated to the race of a lifetime. What was completely unexpected however was the beauty of the landscape in which the Tour de France takes place in. After arriving in Honfleur on the first night I had to put together all of my camera gear and batteries. I brought along mostly lenses that would suit actions shots as my main focus was to take pictures of the racers. I had organized and packed my camera gear for the tip so I went about switching out some of the lenses that I had in my bag. After a bit of packing and organization I was set for a day of both landscape shooting and some fast-paced shots. If you have never explored this area I strongly urge you to head to northwestern France and gaze upon the beautiful cliffs of Etretat.

Some tips that I would recommend for anyone traveling to Etretat:


Throughout the Tour de France it can be difficult to get landscape shots or shots of any kind because of the large tourist crowds. Coming in after large events can help you to get pristine landscape shots. With a bit of Photoshop magic you can also take out some of the tourists that have a walk through your shots.


In some cases you need to hike to get a number of shots in Etreatat. Going mobile and having just a small camera bag can make the process of getting the shots easier. Large tripods and setups will slow you down and only ensure you can capture a small portion of this area.


Although the coastline is beautiful it's important to protect yourself and to protect your gear. The surf and the weather can change quickly and sand absolutely does not agree with lenses or camera equipment.

I was able to get some shots of the race but these may not do the atmosphere justice. We expected crowds but the bright and beautiful day coupled with thousands of smiling faces around us only helped to put it in a great mood. It is always tough to get clear action shots in the crowd but everyone was very polite and I managed to get this shot as a pleasant surprise. With no option for a tripod it's important to bring a camera that has lots of space and have a little bit of luck in the hopes that one of your action shots will turn out. Burst mode is definitely your friend at the Tour de France.

The above image was take by my wife Julie with a Canon Powershot G12. These cliffs where made famous by the painter Claude Monet, who spent most of February 1883 in Étretat. I packed along my wide-angle lens and decided to go on a hike up the cliffs after we had seen the race. The cliffs of the Etretat coast are perhaps one of its most defining features as is the rugged coastline beach landscape. Upon the cliffs you can see for miles and with the right filters you can capture the beautiful contrast of the blue ocean against the sand.


The following day after the race my wife and I were able to walk through some of the farm land that surrounds Honfleur and Eretat. This serene and peaceful land has allowed for an exciting race that travels through it but in moments like these you can really start to enjoy a vacation in this area.


Going castle hunting and soaking up the sun

The Kit

My kit for this trip included a Canon 5D MarkII, Sigma 85mm f/1.4, EX DG. Manfrotto tripod, a Canon EF 17-40mm f4L and a backup camera which was a Canon G12.