The Famous Impressionists & Their Homes in France
Scattered throughout France are quite a few houses that belonged to the famous impressionists. It’s pretty amazing visiting these homes as they give you a more intimate glimpse into their lives.
The homes of the famous impressionists that are open to the public are all beautifully restored to how they looked when the artists lived there. In addition, they have become national museums. These homes provide the visitor with lots of information about the artist, his personal family life & his artistic career. These homes are gems & highly worth visiting.
Below is a comprehensive list of some of the homes of the famous impressionists & post-impressionists.
Monet’s House in Giverny (Fondation Claude Monet)
The house and gardens of Claude Monet are magnificent! Incredibly, over half a million tourist flock to this place every year. In fact, Monet’s house & gardens are the second most visited tourist site in Normandy after the Mont Saint-Michel.
Monet’s house & gardens in Giverny are officially recognized by the French Ministry of Culture as a national heritage site. This site has also been awarded with titles of Maisons des Illustres, and Jardin Remarquable. After visiting yourself, you will understand why this place is so worthy of all these official accolades.
Brief History About the House & Gardens
Claude Monet left Paris for Giverny in 1883 and lived there until his death in 1926. He renovated this beautiful house using the same palette of colors that he used in his own paintings. The house itself is a delight to visit. However the real attraction that draws the masses are the incredible gardens.
Monet in addition to being a talented artist, was an avid gardener. When he wasn’t painting, he spent a lot of time working in his large gardens. Monet loved his garden. The beauty and pleasure that he derived from his gardens inspired many of his most famous paintings.
All of his iconic water lilies paintings (and there are more than 250 of them) are inspired by Monet’s water-lily pond in his Giverny garden.
Claude Monet Quote:
“My garden is my most beautiful masterpiece”
While strolling around Monet’s gardens, you will feel like you are walking into a Monet painting. It is truly a magical experience!
Tips for your visit:
A visit to Monet’s House & Gardens in Giverny is an easy day trip from Paris. However, keep in mind that this site is closed between November and the end of March.
How to Get there using Public Transport from Paris:
The Fondation Claude Monet is located 88kms (56miles) from Paris. It can easily be reached by train and shuttle or by car.
If travelling by public transport from Paris, take any metro to the train station Gare St-Lazare train station (metro lines 3, 12, 13, 14). From Gare St-Lazare station, take the “SNCF” regional train to the Vernon station. From Vernon station, there is a regular shuttle to Giverny. Alternatively, you can take bus #240 to the house and gardens.
Tickets & Opening Times:
The Claude Monet Foundation opens from April 1st through to November 1st, including bank holidays. Opening hours are from 9:30 am until 6:00 pm (ticket office closes at 5:30pm).
For details of ticket prices, press here. Please note that Monet’s House & Gardens are always busy. I recommend that you book tickets online in order to avoid waiting in queues, especially in the summer months. Online tickets can bough bought here.
Gustave Caillebotte’s House in Yerres
Gustave Caillebotte, one of the famous impressionists, painted some of his most iconic paintings in Yerres. He captured the house, gardens, river, & the boaters sailing in the Yerres river. Today, you can visit Caillebotte’s neoclassical mansion and walk around the magnficent gardens. It is only a half an hour away from Paris.
The Ministry of Culture has listed this property as an official Historical Monument.
Visit the Caillebotte mansion & see how the 19th century aristocracy lived
Gustave Caillebotte and his brothers lived in this gorgeous mansion together with their wealthy parents. The house remains exactly how it was when the Caillebotte family lived there. It is a monument in time, showing how the upper-class French lived in the 19th century. It was here, in the Yerres house & gardens, that Gustave Caillebotte painted so many of his most famous paintings.
Walk around the magnificent gardens!
Every year during the spring/summer months, the Caillebotte property hosts a sculpture exhibition – the Biennale de Sculpture. The sculptures are on display in the beautiful park and in one of the property’s mansions, the Ferme Ornée.
If you just want to wonder around the gorgeous park and gardens and view the sculptures on display, there is no entrance fee. However if you want to go inside the Ferme Ornée, you will need to buy a ticket which costs around €5 ((£4 / $6).
Even if you cannot visit during the Sculpture Exhibition, it is worth visiting these gardens on a lovely sunny day.
Sail on the Yerres River
The lovely Yerres river, flows alongside the park. Gustave Caillebotte painted this river many times. On the weekends, you can hire a boat or a canoe and sail on the picturesque Yerres river. It is lots of fun!
Note that the estate and gardens are closed on Mondays but open all other days from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m.
How to get there using Public Transport:
Yerres is only 23 kms (14 miles) from Paris. Take the RER D train from Les Halles train station in Paris to Yerres. (It takes around half an hour). Buy the 24-hr Mobilis ticket that includes Zone 4 (as Yerres is in Zone 4). From the Yerres station it is but a short & pleasant walk to the Caillebotte Estate. There are lots of signboards directing you to the Estate.
For more details regarding exhibitions and information about the Caillebotte Estate and Park, press here.
The Summer House of Renoir- Essoyes, Champagne
In June 2017, the family home of the famous impressionist, Pierre-Auguste Renoir, opened its doors to the public. The house is now completely restored to provide the visitor with a glimpse into the intimate life of Renoir & his family.
Many of Renoir’s most famous paintings were painted here in Essoyes.
What to do and see in Essoyes in the Footsteps of Renoir:
Essoyes is a small and picturesque village, only 120 miles southeast of Paris. Today Renoir fans flock to this quiet village to see where Renoir lived and the landscapes he loved to paint.
In Essoyes, you can follow Renoir’s footsteps by visiting the following places:
Renoir’s House in Essoyes:
The inside of Renoir’s family house, gardens and studio were restored according to Renoir’s paintings, letters and other documents. The aim of the renovation of this entire property was to restore it to how it looked when Renoir and his family lived there. An audiotour of the house in available in six languages, including English. It is highly worthwhile as it provides fascinating information about Renoir and his life here.
Renoir’s Painting Studio
At the bottom of the garden, Renoir built his own painting studio in order to have a large workspace to himself . Renoir painted many of his most iconic canvases here!
In the center of the room, is Renoir’s wheelchair. Because of severe rheumatism, Renoir was unable to walk in his later years. His arms and hands were also effected by severe rheumatism but Renoir refused to give up his art. In fact, Renoir created many of his most beautiful sculptures and paintings in his later years inspite of his physical disability.
The Renoir Cultural Center ( Espace des Renoir )
The Renoir Center is housed inside the former stables of the Heriot Castle. Here you can view a 15-minute film about the famous impressionist and see changing exhibitions about the life and artworks of Renoir.
Go on the Renoir Walking Trails
There are four different walking trails that you can take to explore the landscapes that inspired Renoir. Scattered along the trails are reproductions of Renoir paintings of the exact scenery where you are standing. You can almost imagine him setting up his easel and painting en-plein air.
Visit Renoir’s Grave in the Local Essoyes Cemetery
Afterwards, walk to the nearby cemetery and see where Renoir, his wife and three children are buried.
Renoir’s house, painting studio and gardens are open to the public until the end of November. For more details about opening times, ticket prices and current exhibitions, press here.
Pierre-Auguste Renoir’s Second House in Cagnes Sur Mer, French Riviera
In 1907, Renoir bought a stunning property in Cagnes-sur-Mer, called Les Collettes. The property comprised of a large, stone farmhouse in the middle of ancient-old olive groves . From his beautiful gardens, Renoir and his family could see the stunning French Riviera below and the glistening blue Mediterranean Seas beyond!
Renoir’s House and his Painting Studio
Renoir’s house is now a museum (Musee Renoir). It provides the visitor with a glimpse of Renoir’s life with his family during the final twelve years of his life. In this house, he lived with his wife Aline Charigot and their three children, Pierre, Jean and Claude.
Renoir’s Painting Studio (Atelier)
The most interesting room in the house is Renoir’s painting workshop on the first floor. In the center of the room stands Renoir’s painting easel with a wooden wheelchair in front of it and painting materials on both sides. In Renoir’s final years, he suffered with severe rheumatism. However remarkably, he continued to paint until his death on December 3rd, 1919.
The Beautiful Gardens
From the gardens, Renoir had beautiful views of the Haut-de Cagnes, a 14th century castle. He also had panoramic views of Cap d’Antibes. It was in these gardens that Renoir painted so many beautiful landscapes.
Today, plaques showing replicas of these paintings are scattered around the garden. The plaques are located in the exact locations where Renoir set up his easel and painted these views.
For more information regarding Musee Renoir in Cagnes Sur Mer, press here
The home Paul Cezanne in Aix-en-Provence
Cezanne’s Family Home – Bastide du Jas de Bouffan
Paul Cezanne created for himself a painting studio in the attic. He spent alot of his time in the beautiful gardens on the property painting en-plein air. In particular, he loved painting the stunning Montagne Sainte-Victoire, which he could see from the gardens.
Today Bastide du Jas de Bouffan and its beautiful gardens are open to the public. This property is listed as a national historical heritage site.
Tips for Visiting Cezanne’s Home
In order to visit Bastide du Jas de Bouffan, you need to book a guided tour in advance at the Aix-en-Provence Tourist Information Office. To book send an email to: reservation.aixenprovencetourism.com
The guide will take you around the house, sharing delightful stories about Cezanne and his family in Aix. You will be able to see the room that was Cézanne’s studio.
For more information about this estate, press here
The Historical Building at No. 12 Rue Cortot, Montmartre Paris
The historical building at No. 12 Rue Cortot is one of the oldest buildings in Montmartre. In the 19th and early 20th century, this building served as cheap living quarters & affordable painting studios for starting out & broke painters such as Pierre Auguste Renoir, Émile Bernard, Raoul Dufy, Suzanne Valadon & Maurice Utrillo.
The living conditions were horrendous but it was all they could afford in Paris. It was here where they shared new ideas & planned exhibitions together.
Musee de Montmartre
Today this building has been renovated and turned into a museum ‘Musée de Montmartre’. This museum is a gem. If you love the Impressionism era, then this museum is for you. The history of Montmartre is told through paintings, old posters, prints, ads, and maps. There is a fabulous collection of documents detailing the artistic cabarets that Montmartre was so famous for, such as Chat Noir, L’ane rouge, Divan Japonais, Lapin Agile, or Moulin Rouge, among many others.
Utrillo & Valadon’s Painting Studio
In a separate section of the museum, you can visit the apartment and studio of the post-impressionism artists Suzanne Valadon & her son Maurice Utrillo. They were both painters, & both lived most of their lives in Montmartre.
On the ground floor, pop into the Charpentier Room to watch the fantastic media presentation called: “The History of Montmartre through the Eyes of Suzanne Valadon,”. There are English subtitles. It is a great presentation both rich in its creativity and content.
Stroll around the beautiful Gardens
Another bonus of this museum are the gorgeous gardens and amazing panoramic views of the famous Montmartre vineyards “Vignes du Clos Montmartre”.
There is a rustic feel to this place, making this is a very special site to visit iin the heart of Paris.
Musée de Montmartre is open everyday. For more details of opening times, ticket prices and current exhibitions, press here.