Exploring the homes of France’s great artists

Katherie Brault, current owner of the Château de By, where Rosa Bonheur once lived

The Connexion takes an historic tour of some of the houses and towns in all corners of France that famous artists from all over the world called home

France attracts artists from all over the world as well as producing a healthy home-grown crop, and has numerous world-class art museums and galleries.

Admiring the works in them is inspiring, but to get truly up close and personal there is nothing like visiting a painter’s house. Snooping around the dining table, the bed, the sofa, the studio and the easel really brings an artist’s personality to life.

Arguably the best known among a crop of artists’ houses in Paris is Rodin’s house and garden, but the Musée Gustave Moreau in the 9th is also remarkable. The interior walls are covered in his artwork.

There are other artists’ houses all over the Hexagon.

December 2019 will mark the centenary of Auguste Renoir’s death and to commemorate his life, the ‘Eau et Lumière Association’ has drawn up 12 “Impressionisms Routes”, one of which links the sites related to Renoir’s life.

These are the Museum of Montmartre and the Renoir Gardens in Paris, the Musée de la Grenouillère in Croissy-sur-Seine, where he painted river scenes, his summerhouse and garden in Essoyes (Champagne), which is now a museum, and the house in Cagnes-sur-Mer where he lived for the last 12 years of his life.

The latter feels like a shrine – from the splashes of paint on the studio floor to the fine fabric wall-coverings, it is as if Renoir just went out to post a letter.

The family’s possessions, furniture, the paintings ...

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