Impressionist Normandy


The winding blue waters of the Seine, sandy wave washed beaches, rolling farmlands and pretty provincial towns alive with the buzz of people; Normandy is an undeniably beautiful region of France. It’s a region which has captivated many artists, a fact that’s being celebrated this summer, writes Tomas Mowlam.

Art writer Jacques-Sylvain Klein called Normandy “the cradle of Impressionism” and the region captured the hearts of three of the most famous Impressionists; Claude Monet, Camille Pisarro and Auguste Renoir.

Monet painted a sunrise over Dieppe in 1872; calling it Impression – Sunrise he gave the name to the movement and started an art revolution.

We are too used to sharks in formaldehyde to realise the dramatic effect that this new style of painting had, giving emotion and expression and a shake-up of the staid and formal world of painting.

In 1883 Monet, his partner Alice Hoschede and their eight kids settled in the town of Giverny. He transformed the gardens into the world famous water-lily ponds of his paintings, and spent the next 43 years of his life painting the gardens and the Norman countryside.

The Normandy Impressionist Festival officially opens on 5th June and over 50 local towns and districts have joined in making this a Normandy wide event.

There are too many events to list all of them here, but one particular highlight is the huge program of exhibitions taking place in Rouen, including Une ville pour ’Impressionnisme: Monet, Pissarro, Gauguin à Rouen (“A City for Impressionism: Monet, Pissarro, Gauguin in Rouen”).

With P&O Ferries you can get crossing from Dover to Calais in a car with up to nine people starting from just £30 – Impressionist country is only a short drive away.

Check out the site at

Image: Monet’s Étretat, la Porte d’Aval Photo by Eusebius@Commons

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