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In the footsteps of the "plein-airistes" around Paris

Attracted by the aquatic atmosphere in which the lights are reflected, the impressionist painters particularly liked to depict bucolic landscapes. Discover 5 places marked by this major artistic movement of the 19th century by following the steps of Renoir, Monet, Pissarro or Van Gogh in the Val d'Oise, Essonne and Yvelines.

Chatou Island

Chatou Island is the ideal place to enjoy the banks of the Seine in the Paris region. In the 19th century, many Parisians offered themselves short periods of countryside. Canoeing in a green setting, dancing with your feet in the water and babbling with herons or fishing martins: Île de Chatou is a great way to escape from urban life while staying there!

Among these lovers of a rural atmosphere, we find most of the impressionist artists of the region, such as Monet, Renoir, Sisley or Caillebotte, who all met at the Maison Fournaise. It was in this residence that Renoir painted his famous painting "Le Déjeuner des canotiers" (1880). Witness to the region's artistic past, the Maison Fournaise now houses a museum dedicated to its history and its illustrious occupants.

While walking or canoeing around the island you will also find the railway bridge that was painted by Renoir and Derain.

The island of Grande Jatte

The Île de la Grande Jatte, in the loop of the Seine that precedes that of Île de Chatou, is only two kilometres from Paris.

A long walk along the banks of the Seine in abundant vegetation.

Reproductions of famous impressionist paintings, placed at the very place where the artists have placed their easel, will punctuate your stroll during this 4 km tour.
We can only find Seurat's very famous work "Un dimanche après-midi à la Grande Jatte" (1886).

To continue this bucolic escape, you can go to the Temple of Love, which stands at the very end of the Island. 


In 1860 François Daubigny, a landscape gardener and precursor of the impressionist movement, settled in Auvers-sur-Oise in his workshop boat called "le Botin".

He received his illustrious friends such as Cézanne, Pissaro and Van Gogh, who painted several paintings, including Cézanne's "La Maison du handu", on display at the Musée d'Orsay.

From now on, the city of Auvers has a museum dedicated to Daubigny which is located in a 17th century manor house in the heart of the town. This building stands opposite the Ravoux Inn where Van Gogh stayed at the end of his days.

The Auvers cemetery houses the official tomb of the famous Dutch painter, where he rests alongside his brother and loyal supporter Theo.


Located 5 kilometres from Auvers, the city of Pontoise hosted Pissarro from 1866 to 1869 at 16 rue Mallebranche, then from 1872 to 1882 at 26 rue de l'Hermitage. Accompanied by his friends Cézanne and Gauguin, the three painters depict the city's lively alleys, passers-by, colourful markets, fields and the banks of the Oise.

Marked by this historical and artistic episode of impressionism, the city of Pontoise dedicated a museum to Pissarro.

10 kilometres away is Maurecourt where a tour of Berthe Morisot awaits you: the opportunity to see the works of this close friend of Daubigny's who was a pioneer of this rich artistic movement.


Another flagship place of the impressionist movement, Monet, Pissarro, Morisot and Sisley met in Bougival to paint the banks of the Seine at sunrise or sunset, in summer and winter. The reflections of the houses, the lock bridge or the barges in the river were the perfect playground for them! Monet lived there in the 1860s, as did Morisot, who painted about forty paintings there.

In summer, open-air exhibitions and guided tours are organized by the city to highlight this artistic movement that has marked the history of art in France and around the world.

And if you're in the mood for a stroll on the water, but are more interested in cinema, the Cap sur la Marne collective is offering a cruise around this other major art form born in the 19th century.