Between the extraordinary light, the winding rivers, and the simple bonheur de vivre, welcome to Normandy and île-de-France. Two neighboring regions with a shared history as the birthpaces of Impressionism, the famous French painting movement, the product of an artists' collaboration in the second half of the 19th century.
The regions of Normandy and Ile-de-France, the ultimate Impressionist destinations, will take you through tributaries of the Atlantic, bathed in the same uniquely beautiful light that inspired some of the greatest artists of modern times. Discover the #VoyagesImpressionistes (or #ImpressionistVoyages)!
Giverny by Boat
Imagine Monet, Courbet, or Eugène Boudin on the coast of Normandy, painting the little port town of Honfleur on the Seine Estuary. The magnificently changing light captivates their paintbrushes.
Located halfway between Paris and Honfleur, Giverny shines bright. As the former residence of Claude Monet and the site of some of his most famous works, the little village is a global Mecca of impressionism. The site is home to an exceptional collection of Japanese prints. Th gardens are primarily made up of the Clos Normand and flowerbeds in the Jardin d'Eau, where you can find vegetation transported from Asia, water lillies, and marvelous weeping willows.
Crossing the Seine, you'll find yourself at the Musée d'Art Moderne André Malraux (MuMa) in Le Havre, home to some of the biggest artists of that school.
Not far, on the Côte d'Albâtre, visitors can see the vertigo-inducing white chalk cliffs of Etretat. Inspired by the changing light of the seasons, Monet painted this famous "door" cliff in his masterpiece, Etretat, la Manneporte, Reflets sur l'Eau.
Île-de-France, the Heart of Impressionism
The Impressionist movement was also inspired by the natural marvels of the île-de-France region, which, since the 12th century, has born the name of the Atlantic tributaries that surround it: the Seine, the Oise, and the Marne. This triangle of rivers encompasses some the legendary sites that brought fame to Impressionist art.
Tracing the winding banks of the Seine, we have to give credit where credit is due: to the City of Light. Paris is full of museums and workshops highlighting the glory of various Impressionist masterpieces, including Eugène Delacroix's atelier in Saint-Germain-des-Près, the Orsay, the Marmottan, and the Orangerie.
Meet Up in Montmartre
Montmartre, a hotbed of forbidden pleasures, also left its mark on Impressionist artists. The famous Parisian neighborhood is haunted by the shadows of Bazille, Renoir, Pissaro, Monet, Cézanne, and Degas. At the foot of Sacré-Coeur, artists regularly gathered to paint their everyday impressions and moments of jubilation, as highlighted in Van Gogh's Terrasse de café à Montmartre (La Guinguette).
In the southwest of Paris, Impressionists also found their inspiration on the Ile de Chatou, nicknamed the Ile des Impressionistes. There, the famous La Maison Fournaise restaurant can be found, whose guignette decor is featured in two famous Renoir works: Le Canotiers a Chatou and Le Déjeuner des Rameurs.
The Château d’Auvers-sur-Oise, Impressionist Art de Vivre
Thirty minutes northwest of the French capital, visitors can explore a series of legendary Impressionist sites: the Auberge Ravoux, also known as "Van Gogh's House"; the Château d'Auvers, which perfectly incarnates Impressionist art de vivre; the Musée William Thornley in Osney; or Daubigny's atelier in Auvers-sur-Oise.