Have you ever dreamed of becoming a princess?…
In our early childhood, we are surrounded by the fairytale talk. Enchanted worlds, magical creatures, princes and princesses, beautiful castles. We dream of running bare feet in the ever green grass while the sun strokes gently our loose hair. We climb the stone-cold staircase that is spiralling up to the top of the tower, to our own royal suites. We get lost on our daily expeditions around the majestic chateau, always being faced with new enchantments, finding its billions of secrets one at a time.
Then one day, we grow out of it. We realise, it is all just a dream. It is an impossible dream. Surrounded by the city traffic noise, the tall grey buildings, the well structured and neatly placed offices; with a never ending list of tasks that never seems to be complete; with trivial fears such as getting blisters when wearing open shoes. Running bare feet could only mean catching a cold. Our homes are overflowing with material items we have at some point in our lives found needed. We play safe, and do not explore new spaces, we do not open doors that we have not been handed the keys to. We roll with the flow of life, following its rules and accepting to be happy with the arrangements that have been made for us. However, we always, always go to bed, and dream.
Now what if I tell you, that you can live that dream for yourself? You can run away from it all, from the trivia, from the noise of the daily routine, and hide in the shadows thrown by the ageless trees in the gardens of Le Domaine des Jasses.
The French Touch photography training in 2018 was my first experience of Carcassonne. Led by photography tutor John Denton and organised by the team of World Photo Adventure, we were provided with an opportunity to relive a fairytale… an opportunity of a lifetime, you might say.
Being a travel model, I get to see unique places and encounter cultures and sights that can change you forever. Carcassonne, in its raw and less modernised beauty, was a truly fascinating location to discover. We stayed in Le Domaine des Jasses, out of the city, in a rural area that provided us with endless supply of food for the soul. The domain is a French chateau, a historical building that has preserved the atmosphere of an ancient culture, and holds a sense of modesty and simplicity that enchant and inspire.
We spent two weeks in the chateau, two magical weeks of freeing our creativity, imagination and passion. Every day was a new discovery; every corner of the place whispered at us sweet nothings. The light streamed through the window frames and spread across the spacious rooms from as early as five in the morning, and the sunset’s rays caressed our buzzing with ideas heads in the evening. There is something absolutely mesmerizing about the stoned, spiralling staircases; they felt like a path to another universe, like a journey to self-discovery.
Our days were filled with activities aimed at promoting individuality, pushing everyone’s imagination’s boundaries, and discovering light. Light in all its forms and shapes; shadowed, concealed, bright, overpowering; John led the delegates through its ever-changing net, and showed them how to tame it again and again. How to see it when it’s not showing its face. How to understand it, and how to use it to create their own magical fairytale.
Returning back to civilisation felt unreal and awkward. After spending two weeks of walking bare feet on the soft grass, I felt uncomfortable putting on my own pair of shoes. After a blissful fortnight of swimming in the pool at evenings while the sun was still smiling bright above the surrounding forest, the dimmed light in the airport troubled my eyes. Nobody was ready to leave, and what begun as an adventure with strangers, ended with saying goodbyes to a new found family. Because being in Le Domaine Des Jasses was not just about living our own fairytale; it was not just about breaking away from the routine. It was much more about finding like-minded people, who share the same aspirations and dreams, and being able to feel as a part of something bigger and greater.
We are back next year for more. There is an empty seat next to me. I will save it for you…