couple hold poppies and smile

Charming Springtime Engagement Photosession in Poppy Fields of Arles, France

Springtime in Provence, France is such a vibe, the sunny weather has returned and all of the flowers are in bloom. I love this season so much, so when I was contacted by a lovely couple for an engagement photoshoot in Arles, I was thrilled!

Arles is a beautiful town in southern France in the Provence region, which is a city on the UNESCO World Heritage site for its Roman ruins. Arles is also famous because the famous painter Vincent Van Gogh lived and painted here. Arles is the perfect location for any kind of photoshoot and as a professional photographer in this region, I adore photographing couples here.

Planning the Photoshoot

couple kiss in front of cafe van gogh arles

When I spoke to the couple about their trip to Provence, they indicated they’d love to have a couples photoshoot in a scenic location. Being that I live and work in Arles, naturally I recommended it as a great option. Arles is extremely charming, with cute cobblestone streets, a grand Roman amphitheater, great restaurants and lots to explore. We decided to meet in the early morning to have the town to ourselves.

Meeting in Arles

I met Emily and Nate, a beautiful newly engaged couple in Arles on a nice, sunny May morning. They live in Seattle, Washington in the United States and chose Provence for their vacation and to celebrate their engagement. I couldn’t wait to show them around this quaint town and all of my favorite spots for fantastic couples photos!

Photos with the Famous Arles Amphitheater

I begin all of my Arles photoshoots at the famous arenes of Arles, the amphitheater that has existed since Roman times. It’s in excellent condition and still hosts events all year long. It’s incredible to think that this structure still exists for us to enjoy, and a photo or two with this landmark is a must!

couple pose smiling on steps of roman amphitheatre in arles

A Walk Around Arles

Arles is a compact city, so walking is a breeze, and you pass so many interesting monuments along the way. After we stopped at the amphitheater for photos on the staircase, we meandered past the antique theater, another Roman relic, and then through the narrow streets to the main square in Arles, Place de la Republique. Flanked by two historic churches, Saint Trophime and Saint Anne, with the grand City Hall, and a stunning fountain in the center of the plaza, this is the main meeting point in Arles.

The fountain is decorated with an obelisk, which dates to Roman times and was once part of the Roman circus, where gladiators and their chariots competed. These days, the obelisk is the centerpiece of town and a beautiful place to stop, rest and then be photographed.

cute couple laugh near rose bush in arles
smiling engaged couple walk hand in hand through archway in arles
pear shaped engagement ring
woman smiles at fiance in arles
engaged couple walk hand in hand under arch in arles
couple run with arles amphitheater in background
engaged couple kiss next to rose bush in arles
man and woman walk down steps of st trophime church in arles
engaged couple relax in the center of arles provence

To the Van Gogh Garden

I like to call the Arles library, which has a garden in the center, the Van Gogh Garden. It’s not really called that, but it’s where Van Gogh painted one of this famous paintings. This repurposed building on courtyard was once a hospital where Van Gogh stayed, and he painted the garden. The garden still exists to this day, and is a wonderful place to relax and catch a snippet of what life looked like back in the 1880s. I love visiting this garden and I’m always sure to take my clients here and capture beautiful photographs in this special spot.

couple kiss in garden in arles

The Hip Neighborhood of La Roquette

No photoshoot in Arles would be complete without a visit to the hip and trendy neighborhood of La Roquette. Close to the Rhone River, it used to be frequented by fisherman, but now is filled with stately 17th century homes and narrow, winding streets. Many residents of this neighborhood have colorful homes and there are lots of plants and flowers everywhere. In May, you’ll find the gorgeous rose bushes blooming all over La Roquette and the sweet scent of jasmine. I found the prettiest rose trees for Emily and Nate to pose under, and it was so cute!

man and woman kiss in front of old door in arles
man dips woman in arles
engaged couple embrace near rose bush
cute couple sit in park in arles

I so enjoyed showing this engaged couple around the little corners of Arles, and I’m so happy that they had as much enthusiasm for the city as I have. It made it so incredibly fun to capture their love story, as they were up for anything and really allowed me to flex my creative muscle.

engaged couple throw rose petals in air
man twirls woman in arles next to rose bush
cute couple walk arm in arm in provence

A Walk to the Lion Bridge

engaged couple pose on lion bridge in arles
man in sunglasses kisses woman in sunglasses in arles
cute couple walk hand in hand with arles in background
man lifts woman in air with arles in background

Being that Emily and Nate were into nature, a walk along the Rhone River was in order! The view of Arles from the other side of the river is so charming, as you can see all the spires of the churches, a peek of the amphitheater, and the river itself. If you walk along a packed gravel travel you’ll come to the famous lion bridge. This bridge was destroyed by the Allies during World War II, so all that remains are the big lions that used to be on either side of the river. The lion is the symbol of Arles, and to see this bit of history is a real treat.

engaged couple embrace in poppy field in arles
man kisses woman's hand in poppy field
couple hold poppies and smile
woman with engagement ring and poppy
couple hold poppies and laugh

To walk a little farther takes you to the countryside, and on this day I was so excited to see the poppies blooming! Lucky for me, Nate and Emily like poppies too, so they were kind enough to pose with them and it was just beautiful!

Time To Say Goodbye

This is the part I hate, I love working with my couples so much, that I never want to say goodbye! I had so much fun chatting with them, learning about them, and I found out that Emily is a big Taylor Swift fan, so we talked about that too! All under a beautiful blue May sky in this beautiful city of Arles. I’m delighted to have met this incredible couple, capture their engagement memories in Provence, and wish them so much happiness!

engaged couple walk hand in hand on trail in arles
couple kiss in front of ancient roman column in arles

Karina Leigh Photography

I adore capturing the precious memories of wonderful people visiting Provence! If you think your travels may bring you to Arles, I’d love to work with you and show you the incredible charm, history and create a morning that will be a highlight of your trip!

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I adore capturing love stories in France! From the grandeur of the most romantic city on earth, Paris, to the colorful and lively seaside city of Nice, to the lavender fields and olive groves of charming Provence, France is filled with stunning beauty. To better understand my approach and my style, have a look at my work, by selecting a category below. Here, you'll get a better idea of how I can tell your love story, too!

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