Explore this Enchanting Impressionist House Just Outside Paris



Explore this Enchanting Impressionist House Just Outside Paris

This year marks 150 years since the birth of one of the world’s best-loved art movements – Impressionism. And where better to celebrate than this artist’s bolthole just outside of Paris?

Between 1860 and 1879, La Maison Caillebotte was home to the famous Impressionist painter Gustave Caillebotte and his family. Today, this peaceful oasis in Yerres, just 20km south of Paris, offers an enchanting escape for visitors where you can explore the artist’s world as it once was, meandering through the park along the river Yerres to the very heart of his inspiration and creativity.

The leading Impressionist site in the Île-de-France region, and the closest to Paris, it is also known as “the other Giverny”. And nothing here has changed since the 19th century. So little wonder that in 2021, it was voted France’s favourite site in the Île-de- France. It has also been recognised as being of national importance, with the Maison Caillebotte stamp being issued in 2023.


It was here in this pastoral idyll that Caillebotte welcomed friends such as Claude Monet, Pierre-Auguste Renoir and Alfred Sisley. Like Monet, who lived in Giverny, and Vincent Van Gogh, who lived in Auvers-sur- Oise at the end of his life, Gustave Caillebotte’s father chose this house as a holiday resort to get away from Parisian life.

The town of Yerres is close to Paris and Orly airport, and is on the way to the Château de Fontainebleau, the Château de Vaux-le-Vicomte, the village of Barbizon (the birthplace of plein-air painting) and the pretty village of Moret-sur-Loing, where Alfred Sisley lived.


Painter and collector

Gustave Caillebotte was an Impressionist painter who played a key role as a collector and patron of Impressionist art and provided financial support for his friends Monet, Manet, Renoir, Degas and Sisley. Tragically he died aged just 46, never having achieved the fame he deserved, but he bequeathed his collection to the French state, and it became a cornerstone of Impressionist art in French national museums. No doubt he would be delighted that his collection and some of his own paintings are now on display at the Musée d’Orsay in Paris. One of his paintings, ‘Partie de bateaux’, was recently bought by the Fondation Louis Vuitton for €43m, making it one of the finest Impressionist paintings in the Musée d’Orsay, and also the most expensive. It was painted on the river Yerres, next to the house’s grounds. As the home of a wealthy bourgeois family, the luxurious Maison Caillebotte bears witness to the French art de vivre of the 19th century. All of the rooms have been lovingly renovated thanks to a loan from the Mobilier National.

Meanwhile, the park is the perfect place for a relaxing stroll, with its ornamental follies dotting the grounds, its vegetable garden and the beautiful river flowing through it. Yerres, its park, its river and its holiday way of life were a great source of inspiration for Caillebotte, who painted more than 80 pictures here.

When you need to stop for refreshments, there’s a fantastic restaurant in the form of Café Gustave, which welcomes individuals and groups to enjoy French dishes and wines as well as fresh local produce. It can seat 60 people inside and up to 120 on the terrace in fine weather for lunch, dinner and tea time.
It is also an exceptional exhibition venue, with temporary exhibitions of Impressionist and contemporary art held in the ornate farmhouse and orangery. Stop by the shop to pick up gifts as well.


A special year to visit

A day trip can be combined with a visit in the morning to the Musée d’Orsay, which has its own excellent Impressionist collection, lunch at Café Gustave and a visit to Maison Caillebotte in the afternoon. There are also specially-adapted packages for guided tours and special offers for those looking for something a little different, such as Breathing and Relaxation in the Park, 19th-century Group Dance Class, and an Open-air Painting Workshop, to name but a few. And last but not least, this year, Maison Caillebotte is celebrating the 150th anniversary of Impressionism: paintings by Caillebotte will be exhibited in the painter’s studio, and there will be a series of conferences by art historians specialising in the period. A special Impressionist menu based on recipes by Gustave Caillebotte’s friend Claude Monet will be available at the restaurant in June 2024.

If you’re looking for accommodation near Yerres, the 4-star Les Demeures de Varennes Best Western hotel is just 15 minutes from Maison Caillebotte and offers a place of relaxation and luxury with a restaurant, spa and swimming pool.

From France Today magazine



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