Every month, we introduce you to an interesting woman living in Languedoc. Curious as we are, we like to find out why she lives in this beautiful region, what she does for a living and some of her Languedoc favourites. This month we would like you to meet Cécile Domens, photographer and horse rider, as Ramoneta of the Month.
I am a photographer living in the natural region of the Camargue between the Mediterranean Sea and the Rhône delta. Horses and horse riding have been my passion since childhood. Or, from a larger perspective, I’ve always been attracted to nomadism, travelling by horse, and the relationship with nature, time and distances. My main activity is to organize photo courses in the Camargue for photo enthusiasts, both amateurs and professionals. Besides my workshops, I exhibit my photos, host conferences, and provide various photo services for companies. Also, I’m the author of several books, and I publish my images in the press.
Settling in Languedoc
Born in Senegal, where I lived for five years, my parents then returned to their home region in the South West of France. Here, in Basque Country, I did the rest of my growing up. When I was 18, I went to study in the Paris region. After working in Angoulême, Toulouse, and Paris, I took a little break in Buenos Aires.
I have lived in the Camargue for 15 years now, arriving in the region in 2006 when I created my business with two photography associates. We set up the first travel agency in France specializing in workshops and photo trips. For 12 years, I have organized photo workshops and trips all over the world, guided by professional photographers. Our clients were amateur photographers who wanted to learn photography while travelling. We chose to settle in the region for the quality of life and because of the local help in our business creation project.
In the Camargue, we are in the Rhône delta. It’s a territory marked by the presence of wetlands. When you look at a map, there are a lot of blue areas everywhere: water, swamps, and ponds. I think that is why the horse has remained so present in the local culture as a “working tool”: here, the ranchers cannot go to fetch their herd on foot or by vehicle like the farmers in other regions. To cross the marshes, you need a horse. It is also an area of great ornithological diversity. Many bird species come to nest in the Camargue or stopover during their migration journeys. In general, the link with nature has remained strong in this region due to the configuration of the territory. I think that you can feel this strong natural connection on a daily basis in the minds of the local people.
Cécile Domens Stage Photo
During my 3-day photo courses or my photo workshops that last a few hours, I welcome photo enthusiasts, amateurs or professionals, to the Camargue. I invite everyone to learn photography and practice their passion around the emblematic subjects of the Camargue. This includes horses in their natural habitat, of course, as well as birds, landscapes, bulls, and local festivals. The photo workshops are scheduled from March to November. Every year, I also organize a few dates in January and February to photograph the flamingo love parades.
Besides the Camargue photo workshops, I also organize photo trips abroad in territories I know well. Countries with great landscapes and a horse culture like Mongolia and Patagonia. In Iceland for example, we find a typical breed, the Icelandic pony and, of course, sublime landscapes and the Northern Lights.
Living in the South of France
Living in a small village, it’s easy to go out into nature. Also, I like the very easy to live with climate, as the weather is always nice! I love the village life where people meet outside a lot. For example, during one of the many markets with regional producers or traditional festivals. The Camargue is also a region where the horse has remained very present as a working horse. I completely find myself in the equestrian lifestyle while being in close relationship with horses.
La Table d’Amis chez Richard in Marsillargues, is a place that I really love going to. From time to time, I go there to treat myself to a good meal in a lovely setting. The chef’s cuisine combines local products with traditional Thai cooking. As a result, they serve excellent dishes with lots of flavours, colour, and creativity.
Perfect day out in Languedoc
My perfect day begins early, to watch the sunrise in nature, and I go back again at the end of the day for the sunset. I love those moments of transition between night and day while listening to the sounds of nature and seeing the colours of the landscape change with the tones of light. This is what I do as often as possible when organizing photo workshops. So, I can share these special moments with other lovers of beautiful images and nature. It’s a luxury to be able to make a living off your passion as I do.