Fontainebleau, famous not only for its palace and its rock-strewn forest, is at the centre of a circle of lovely towns and villages along the Seine and Loing rivers that attracted hordes of 19th and early 20th century artists eager to work outdoors and use that new invention: the tube of oil paint!
Today, you can walk (metaphorically!) in the footsteps of French-born artists Jean-Baptiste Camille Corot, Théodore Rousseau, Jean-François Millet, Rosa Bonheur and Alfred Sisley, amongst others, who settled in the region together with a number of foreign artists and authors including Robert Louis Stevenson, Kuroda Seiki, Carl Larsson, John Singer Sargent and Emma Chadwick.
These nine picturesque villages and small towns where the majority of them chose to live all have warm, greige exposed-stone-and-limewash houses lining narrow streets that cluster around a medieval church and village square with pollarded trees. There’s usually a café or two as well where you can get a coffee or hot chocolate if you’re visiting on a brisk autumn or winter day.
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