Normandy, birthplace of impressionism

Impressionism owes its name to “Impression: Sunrise “painted by Claude Monet, in Le Havre in 1872. 
This pictorial revolution, one of the most important in art history, emerged slowly, by successive transformations of a new pictorial genre: outdoor landscape painting which was already taking form in Normandy in the 1820’s.
Impressionism is the expression of clear light painting, the painting of fugitive moments. Normandy offered an infinite variety of subjects to paint: the capricious Norman skies, the coast of Normandy with sandy beaches or the cliff of Etretat, verdant valleys and the Seine Valley.


We suggest different tours on the footsteps of impressionists’ painters



Giverny Rouen


this picturesque village on the banks of the Seine was the home of french impressionist painter Claude Monet.  He lived in Giverny between 1883 and 1926 and he combined his passion for colour, flowers and gardening and created one of the now most famous gardens in the world. A garden represented in his painting.


Garden and house Open from April 1st to October 31 (entrance fees not included)


Rouen :This city which Pissarro claimed was “as beautiful as Venice” had  attracted many  artists and  became a subject of study.  The Seine, first of all, became the main subject of numerous pictures. Later Rouen Cathedral painted by Monet constitutes one of the highlights of Impressionism.


Honfleur Trouville

A charming fishing port with traditional Norman architecture, Honfleur looks much as it was when painters came in the XIXth century. Eugène Boudin, born in Honfleur,had a strong influence on Claude Monet. Monet first met Boudin in Honfleur, and would subsequently drag the whole band of renegade artists - Courbet, Corot, Sisley, Pissarro and Renoir - to the Saint Simeon farm. 


Deauville Trouville
Scenes from the seaside resorts of Deauville and Trouville were painted by a number of Impressionists, including the Plage à Trouville by Eugène Boudin (1893). Deauville's sandy beach dotted with brightly coloured beach umbrellas. Monet also painted the famous seaside resort of Trouville and its " Hotel des Roches noires", reflecting the varying moods of the sea and sky.



Le Havre Etretat

Le Havre
Claude Monet who spend its childhood in le Havre was, attracted by the unique, ever-changing light play in the estuary, attempted to capture its colours on canvas. 
Completely destroyed during the 1944 bombardments, the city was rebuilt in modernist style by famous architect Auguste Perret, and has now been recognised by Unesco as a World Heritage Site.
Optional visit of Malraux Museum  includes paintings by Boudin, Courbet, Corot, Sisley, Pissarro, Renoir, as well as some Post-Impressionist collections. (entrance fees not included)


Etretat with its stunning cliff formations, the famous chalk needle, is a charming seaside reasort often painted by Gustave Courbet or Claude Monet but also a place which inspired writers like Maupassant.



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© Visitez la Normandie. Anne-Marie JOUENNE ISABET guide conférencier