Paris Surroundings – A Day Trip to Yerres in the Footsteps of Gustave Caillebotte
Just half an hour from the city center of Paris is the commune Yerres. In Yerres, you can visit the beautiful neoclassical mansion and beautiful gardens in the Caillebotte Estate. It was here where the impressionism painter Gustave Caillebotte spent a lot of his time & painted so many of his most famous paintings.
The Impressionism Painter & Patron – Gustave Caillebotte
Caillebotte the Impressionism Painter
Gustave Caillebotte was one of the central figures of the French Impressionism art movement. He was both a talented impressionism artist and a patron of many his impressionism friends.
His debut with the impressionists occurred at the second impressionism exhibition in 1876. At this exhibition, Caillebotte, who was only 38 years old, displayed eight of his paintings. His paintings though, were more realistic than those of his impressionism contemporaries.
Caillebotte – the Patron of the Impressionists
Gustave Caillebotte grew up in a wealthy family. Unlike many of his contemporaries, he had no pressure to sell his paintings for a living. In the early years, the artworld scorned and ridiculed the paintings of the Impressionism painters. Most of them could barely make a living & were dead broke.
Caillebotte understood the financial difficulties of his Impressionism friends. He believed in their artworks and was a great financial supporter to many of his contemporaries. He helped his friends by financially backing exhibitions. Caillebotte also bought many paintings from his friends. He bought artworks from Monet, Pissarro and Renoir. He also paid for Monet’s studio in Paris!
Paris Surroundings: The Caillebotte Estate in Yerres
Gustave Caillebotte was 12 years old when his parents bought a summer holiday house in Yerres. It was in this picturesque setting, that Gustave Caillebotte discovered “plein-air painting & capturing the effects of light on his subjects.
Between the years 1875 to 1879, Caillebotte painted around 90 canvases from his family home. Some of these paintings are his most famous Impressionism masterpieces. They capture life in the Yerres family home and the surrounding gardens. He captured on his canvases the the park, the river, the gardens & the boaters sailing in the river.
Yerres acquires the Caillebotte Estate to preserve it!
Yerres town acquired the Caillebotte Estate in 1973 for a token amount of one Franc. This aquisition protected the property from getting divided up into separate lots. However, renovations took longer than expected!
When Nicolas Dupont-Aignan became the mayor of Yerres in 1995, the Caillebotte Estate was dormant for more than twenty years. He saw the potential and took on the project of renovating the estate. The renovation included converting the farmhouse and orangery into exhibition venues and the Swiss chalet into a restaurant. Some of the pavillions were restored and an artificial river created. They even replanted the vegetable garden that Caillebotte painted!
The Ministry of Culture has listed this property as an official Historical Monument. The Caillebotte Mansion is now a beautiful museum showing what life looked like for the upperclass in Caillebotte’s time.
What to do and see in the Caillebotte Estate
Visiting the Caillebotte Estate is a wonderful daytrip from paris. Pick a lovely sunny day for visiting this historical venue. You will find yourself going back in time to Belle Epoque Paris. You can stroll or picnic in the lovely English gardens.
The restaurant serves delicious food and offers outdoor seating on warm sunny days. The mansion itself provides a fantatic insight into the world of the upperclass French during this era. Information panels and photos provide details of the history of the Caillebotte family and the property itself. It is really very interesting.
How to Get to the Caillebotte Estate
Take the RER D from Les Halles (towards Melun). Disembark at the Yerres Station. The estate is a ten minute walk from the station.