Although Ile de la Grande Jatte is a tiny island, it inspired the great impressionism painters. Some of their most famous landscape paintings are located here! The most well-known painting of them all is Georges Seurat‘s pointillism painting, entitled: A Sunday Afternoon on the Island of La Grande Jatte.

 A Sunday Afternoon on the Island of La Grande Jatte. - Georges Seurat Pointillism Art
One of the famous landscape paintings of the Island
A Sunday Afternoon on the Island of La Grande Jatte. – Georges Seurat Painting (Public Domain)

The Ile de la Jatte or Ile de la Grande Jatte is an island in the river Seine, located only a few kilometers from Paris. The Island is only 200 meters wide at its widest point and 2 kms long. Around 4000 people reside on this extremely expensive and sort-after piece of real estate!

History of Ile de la Grande Jatte 

In 1818, the Duke of Orleans, Louis-Philippe, bought the Château de Neuilly to accommodate his family of ten children. He also acquired land and created a park which included the island, only accessible by boat.

Louis-Philippe then moved the Temple of Mars, which his father commissioned, from Parc Monceau and relocated it to the northern tip of Ile de la Grande Jatte. In 1930, the Parisian municipality again moved the temple to the southern section of the island. The temple was renamed the Temple of Love (Temple de l’Amour) .

Temple of Love on Ile de la Jatte
Temple de l’Amour at the Jatte Island in Neuilly-sur-Seine, suburb of Paris, France
Photo by Moonik [CC BY-SA 3.0]

Between 1850 and 1870, Napoléon III and Baron Haussmann made more modifications to this island and it became accessible to the public.

Ile de la Grande Jatte & The Impressionists

Towards the end of the 19th century, France finally had a train transport system available for the public to use. This new mode of transport enabled the city people to enjoy their weekends and holidays outside of the city. In particular, they enjoyed spending time on the Seine and its banks outside of the city.

Ile de la Grande Jatte  by Claude Monet painting
Ile de la Grande Jatte by Claude Monet landscape

Because of its close proximity to Paris, the upper-class Parisians often came to Ile de la Grande Jatte. Here they enjoyed boating and having picnics in its beautiful parks with a view of the Seine. Seurat’s famous painting: A Sunday Afternoon on the Island of La Grande Jatte portrays this upper-class pastime exquisitely.  

The impressionism painters came to this island as well, including Claude Monet, Alfred Sisley and Vincent Van Gogh. They set up their easels in the park and painted en plein-air, capturing the ambiance and the beauty of the island.

The Impressionism Walking Trail on Ile de la Grande Jatte 

To celebrate its rich impressionism past, Ile de la Grande Jatte  is also nicknamed “the Impressionism Island” (Île des impressionnistes). A wonderful Impressionism trail was established.

The Impressionism trail is a 4 km walk (or jog!).  Scattered along the trail are plaques with reproductions of ten famous landscape paintings. The plaques are placed in the exact location where the artists set up their easels to paint.

You will see the iconic masterpieces of Alfred Sisley, Claude Monet, Vincent Van Gogh and Georges Seurat. These paintings capture Ile de la Grande Jatte  of the 19th century. It will immerse you into the romantic bygone era of Belle Époque Paris and Ile de la Grande Jatte.

Ile de la Grande Jatte  /  Vincent Van Gogh landscapes
Ile de la Grande Jatte  / Vincent Van Gogh painting (public domain)

Regardless of whether you are a lover of art or not, this island is a great place to visit on a beautiful sunny day. Although far more built up than in the 19th century, Ile de la Grande Jatte  is still a great place to get away from the hustle and bustle of the city. Here you can still enjoy the parks and the beautiful Seine, as the upper-class Parisians and Impressionists did in their heyday.

Public Transport to Ile de La Grande Jatte

The closest stations to Ile De La Jatte are:

  • Ile De La Jatte is 6 meters away, 1 min walk.
  • Pont De La Grande Jatte is 166 meters away, 3 min walk.
  • La Saussaye – Bineau is 256 meters away, 4 min walk.