Adventures in France: From Castles to Crepes

“Adventures in France: From Castles to Crepes” is a documentary travel film that invites you, the viewer, to join us on a whirlwind adventure around France as we scour the countryside for history, culture, food, & art.  Together we explore numerous monuments, castles, cathedrals, places of historic and cultural significance affording the widest possible vision of France.

The feature length (90-120 minute) film will be in English (some interviews will be in French with English subtitles). The final film will be screened locally, produced and distributed on Blu Ray & DVD, and available for streaming online.  We are looking for a 2014 festival release.

So has the filming already started?

In 2009, co-director Jared Bendis took a small crew to France to start the film (with airfare courtesy of the Maison Française de Cleveland fund). That expedition produced some great footage (and interviews).  We have decided to go back and cast a wider net that includes prehistory, the ancient world, the modern world, and all manner of art, culture, and cuisine.

Educator’s Resource Guide & Factbook

As a supplement to the film, we are producing an “Educator’s Resource Guide & Factbook”.  The Guide/Factbook is targeted at middle & high school students and offers additional insights on many subjects including: French Culture, French Cuisine, French Language (on a practical and introductory level), French & World History, & Art History.

We also include smart & economical travel tips to assist students (and adults) on their own adventures.  While the film is designed to be ‘edutainment’ (educational & entertaining) both of the filmmakers are educators and the Guide/Factbook will mirror much of the research that has gone into the planning of the film.  The final Guide/Factbook will be published in print and also made available as a free eBook.

We are also planning to cut the film as a series of shorter episodes that will work better classroom use.

Who are we?

The From Castle to Castle Films production team:
Jared Bendis – Co-Director, Executive Producer, Writer, Guide
Amanda Almon – Co-Director, Cinematographer, Editor

Fundraising & Budget

This is an independent film and we are currently ‘self funded’ which means that we are producing the film with our own personal savings (and credit).
To offset these costs we are looking for individual, organizational, and also corporate sponsorship.  We have been using the online fundraising platforms though we also work with sponsors directly.

For the project neither of the co-directors are taking any salary or artist fees (and that includes during post production and editing).

Our fundraising goal is $25,000.  This would cover our travel expenses, allow us to upgrade our camera & microphone, and help pay for the external production costs of transcribers & translators (for the French interviews).  Any funds raised above the $25,000 goal would go toward music & licensing fees, festival fees, and Blu ray mastering costs.  The travel costs alone are over $13,000 – for 2 people in France for 30 days.  As we are committed to this project any funds raised make a difference.

How can I get involved?

1) If you are interested in becoming a sponsor or making a contribution you can contact Jared Bendis directly at or via phone at 216-288-6349.

2) To subscribe to updates you can follow us on Facebook or email directly if you want to subscribe to a non-Facebook mailing list.

Previous Expeditions

In addition to the 2009 filming trip, Jared Bendis’ previous photograph expeditions around France in 2000, 2002, 2004, & 2010 and Amanda Almon’s 2010 Artist in Residency in St Erme Outre et Ramecourt inform the research for this expedition and film.


The following is a list of the current day to day itinerary – there may be some changes along the way – but it should be pretty accurate with things timed and dated very carefully.


All places were previously visited during the 2009 expedition except:
* indicates new destination
** indicates visited (photographed but not filmed) in either 2000, 2002, 2004, or 2010.

The itinerary is coded as follows:
Castle-icon Castle church-iconCathedral roman-iconAncient prehistPrehistoriccultureArt-History-Culture-Food

Part I: Northern France

Day 1 Castle-icon Chateau de Chantilly
Day 2 Castle-icon Gross Tour Du Roi
Castle-icon Chateau du Compiegne
Day 3 Castle-icon Chateau de Pierrefonds
Day 4 church-icon Amiens Cathedral
Castle-icon Château de Gisors
Castle-icon Chateau Gaillard
Day 5 culture Monet’s Home & Garden
Castle-icon Château de La Roche-Guyon
Day 6 Castle-icon Château de Caen
culture Normandy Cemetery & Memorial*
culture Omaha Beach*
Day 7 Castle-iconchurch-icon Mont Saint Michel
Day 8 Castle-icon Château de Fougères**
Castle-icon Château de Comper*
prehist Forêt de Paimpont*

Part II: The Loire & Western Central France

Day 9
Castle-icon Chateau d’Angers
prehist Dolmen de Bagneux
church-icon Fontevraud Abbey**
Day 10
Castle-icon Château de Saumur
Castle-icon Château de Rochecotte
Day 11
Castle-icon Château de Langeais
Castle-icon Chateau de Azay-le-Rideau
Castle-icon Château de Villandry
Day 12
Castle-icon Château d’Amboise*
Castle-icon Clos Lucé**
Castle-icon Château de Chenonceau
Day 13
church-icon Collegiale St-Pierre**
Castle-icon Château Baronnial**
Castle-icon Château d’Harcourt**
Castle-icon Château de Gouzon**
Day 14
prehist Gouffre de Padirac**
church-icon Notre-Dame de Rocamadour
Castle-icon Remparts de Rocamadour
Day 15
culture Roquefort-sur-Soulzon**
Castle-icon Château de Calmont d’Olt**

Part III: Southern France

Day 16
Castle-iconchurch-icon Cité de Carcassonne
Castle-icon Chateau des Ducs de Joyeuse
church-icon Church of Saint Mary Magdalene*
Castle-icon Rennes-le-Chateau Castle*
Castle-icon Magdala Tower*
Castle-icon Chateau de Peyrepertuse
Castle-icon Chateau de Queribus
Day 17
Castle-icon Fort de Salses
roman-icon Les Arenes
roman-icon Maison Carré
roman-icon The Tour Magne*
roman-icon Pont du Gard
Day 18
Castle-icon The Palace of the Popes
culture Saint Bénezet Bridge
roman-icon Arles Roman Theater
roman-icon Arles Amphitheater
roman-icon Thermae of Constantine*
roman-icon Arles Cryptoportico*
Day 19
Castle-icon Chateau d’If
culture Swimming in the Mediterranean*

Part IV: Eastern Central France

Day 20
church-icon Cathédrale St-Lazare
roman-icon Autun Theater**
roman-icon Temple of Janus**
roman-icon Porte St.-André**
roman-icon Porte d’Arroux**
Castle-iconculture Château de Pommard*
Day 21 Castle-icon Palais des Ducs**
Castle-icon Tour Philippe le Bon*
culture Boutique Maille*
culture Amora Museum*
culture Well of Moses**
church-icon La chouette at Notre Dame**
Day 22
culture Moët & Chandon*
culture Mercier*
church-icon Reims Cathedral**
Castle-icon Vaux-le-Vicomte
Day 23
church-icon Chartres Cathedral
Castle-icon Chateau de Malmaison
Return Car

Part V: Paris

Day 24-30 (No set order yet) Castle-icon Château de Versailles
Castle-icon Bastille Foundations
Castle-icon Chateau d’Vincennes**
Castle-iconculture The Louvre
culture Cimetière du Père-Lachaise
culture Les Invalides & Musée de l’Armée**
culture Les Catacombes*
culture Rodin Museum*
culture Musée d’Orsay
culture Musée de l’Orangerie*
culture Eiffel Tower
culture Arc de Triomphe
culture Moulin Rouge
church-icon Sacré-Coeur
church-icon Sainte-Chapelle
church-icon Cathédrale Notre-Dame
Head Home!


About the Artists

Jared Bendis M.A. (Co-Director, Executive Producer, Writer, Guide): Jared is an artist, photographer, teacher, playwright and filmmaker. He is a specialist in photography, virtual reality, and computer graphics and serves as the Creative New Media Officer for Case Western Reserve University’s Kelvin Smith Library. Jared also holds adjunct appointments in the CWRU Art Studio, Music, and SAGES departments where he teaches courses on multimedia, instructional technology, and New Media Literacy.

As a photographer he prefers to view the world though a wide-angle lens and specializes in spherical panoramic and stereoscopic photography. On his first trip overseas, in March 2000, Jared visited the Chateau de Pierrefonds in France and became driven (if not obsessed) with capturing and sharing cultural and architectural experiences and has photographed over 400 architectural, archeological and cultural sites (primarily castles) in 14 countries.


Amanda S. Almon, M.F.A; C.M.I (Co-Director, Cinemetographer, Editor): Amanda Almon’s work spans from traditional scientific and medical illustration to new media in medicine and science through the use of animation and interactive application development. Almon graduated from the A.M.I (Association of Medical Illustrators CAAHEP) Accredited University of Michigan Biomedical Visualization Program with an M.F.A. in 2000. She received her Certification as a Medical Illustrator from the A.M.I. in 2005. Almon currently works as the Chair/Director and Associate Professor of the Biomedical Art major and Animation major at the Cleveland Institute of Art in Cleveland, Ohio.

Almon has created numerous published works for educational and commercial purposes for both natural science, and medical institutions. Her animations and illustrations through her employment at Visible Productions L.L.C. and her own BiomedVisuals company; have been seen on The Discovery Health Channel, National Geographic, Oprah Winfrey Show, Novartis Animal Health, Merck, Bayer Pharmaceutical companies and ThatsNice Productions. Almon’s medical and scientific illustration have been printed by Lippincott Williams & Wilkins, McGraw-Hill Companies Inc., University Readers, Pearson Education Inc, and Prentice Hall.