The Academy France Recap | #BonJourBoxwood

Chateau Mondesir was the most special place to learn from stylist Heather Bullard at The Academy. A week full of learning, travel, and beauty! 

Chateau Mondesir |

I am home from France and feeling a little bittersweet - it's so wonderful to be home with my family, but France is such a special place. I wish Greg could pack up the cows, goats, and Cody and bring them all here. I am absolutely head over heels in love with France...

My time with Heather, Jill, Haley and the other ladies that attended The Academy France was absolutely incredible. Each day was filled with learning and exploring, and all I had to do was show up with my camera and a positive attitude. The trip was focused on creative growth and learning from Heather Bullard who is a stylist for magazines like Country Living, HGTV, and many more. She encouraged us to focus on our own personal taste and develop our own style rather than focusing on what others were doing. She was very inspiring and loved sharing her knowledge with us, see below for some of my favorite tips! 

Chateau Mondesir France |
Chateau Mondesir |

Lessons Learned: 

When styling objects, avoid tangent lines. For example: avoid a chair leg and a table leg being exactly in line with each other. Also avoid styling objects on the same plane - rather than placing 3 pitchers of the same height on a shelf, use multiple heights to create interest. 

Photographs should always have some sort of flow, movement, or life to them. This can be achieved with linens, florals, even steam coming out of a cooking pot. By doing so, life is added to the image and makes it more interesting and inviting to the viewer. 

Using multiples of three, you can create triangular patterns within an image to draw the eye in the direction you'd like it to go. For example; a green book, greenery, and green vase all within the photo can be strategically placed to give the viewer subconscious direction of how you'd like the photo to be viewed. 

When directing lifestyle images with a model - use a series of movements you'd like performed so that the images have natural and realistic movement to them. I loved this tip! 

Roses in France |
Chateau Mondesir France |

Favorite Places 

The market at Eymet: This market happens once per year and Heather scheduled the entire trip around it. Like I said in my post about the market, we had to do some sifting to find the treasures, but there were enough hidden gems to please everyone. I found 6 copper pots for 60 euros, and table linens for as little as 1 euro. It was fantastic, plus the town of Eymet was darling...I think my favorite part was when I walked into a local cafe and Sweet Home Alabama was playing on the radio. 

Heather took us to the historic town of Périgueux and we had so much fun exploring the winding streets of the city. We started at the open-air market and then spent the rest of the afternoon in small groups (I was with my friends Hannah & Nina). We walked and walked and walked, and I made Nina nervous by j-walking some more ;). I loved this city and would definitely recommend a visit if you have time; however, I preferred St-Émilion over Périgueux, so if you only have time for one stop, I'd go with St-Émilion. 

I already shared a bit about St-Émilion here, so I won't go into detail, but it was one of the highlights of the trip. I would absolutely recommend searching the area for an Air B&B or chateau to stay in for a few days, it was an incredible area.

Bordeaux: I would also suggest staying in Bordeaux for a few days. The actual city-center is quite small, and very easy to grasp your surroundings. I felt safe the entire time (even when alone), and really enjoyed the culture {neat restaurants, bars, and lots of young people}.

My friend Debbie and I stayed for a few days after the Academy at The Grand Hotel, and it was so fabulous. I loved their rooftop bar and enjoyed being in the heart of the city. There was something very special about Bordeaux - it was very Parisian feeling, but the massive amount of young people completely surprised me. Debbie and I ended up enjoying a late dinner at the same spot each night which was located at the entrance of the city - we loved sitting and watching the people walk by and wondered where they were going. There is a university there which contributes to the hip nightlife, bars, shops, and restaurants. I liked the city because I could explore it within a few days; whereas Paris, could take months and months. I began to really love Bordeaux and would like to go back and stay again to see more of the outlaying chateaus and vineyards. 

Chateau Mondesir |
Bordeaux, France |
Bordeaux, France |

Many people have asked me if I felt like the trip was "worth" the money. I have to say that any traveling is worth the money. Getting to experience different cultures and see different architecture, art, and landscapes is a true gift. While I went on this trip to learn from Heather, I also learned from the other ladies on the trip.

I will say this: group travel is really fun!! I love socializing and meeting new people, so it was really nice to have a built-in group of friends on the trip. I would absolutely recommend this trip to you if you are interested, and if you have been dreaming of France, I think a group trip is a great way to experience the country without any stress - all you have to do is show up! 

From my camera roll

I took so many photos on my phone, that I thought I would share some of them here because they show a little bit more of the relaxed parts of the trip - you can click to enlarge them, and if you have any questions about locations, just leave a comment. Hugs!

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