Interested in Art?
Pressed between the rolling green hills of the French countryside and the white-capped waves of La Manche is the alluring region of Normandy. Long history has left the present landscape littered with ancient castles and cathedrals as quaint cobblestone streets provide access to endless restaurants, shops and galleries. And while the D-Day landings in 1944 helped seal its place in the history books, Normandy is also known as the heart of the Impressionist movement, a title that is still a source of immense pride. Everywhere you go in Normandy you will be reminded of the exquisite art that has been created there for generations.
Given the area’s long, artistic history it’s not surprising that there are a large number of art museums located throughout the region where one can explore and discover anew ancient masterpieces that have inspired and moved people for years.
- Giverny – (Musée des Impressionnismes Giverny) – Once the home of famed Impressionist painter Claude Monet, the collections found here include stunning works created by such renowned artists as Renoir, Monet, Bonnard, Matisse and Caillebotte. It has been remarkably preserved in its original state, as have the famous gardens, and is a fascinating place to visit to experience some of the most famous pieces of art in the world up close and personal.
- Bayeux Tapestry – This world-famous medieval masterpiece dates back as far as the year 1060. It presents one of the most intriguing and captivating artistic works in existence today, depicting the epic story of William the Conqueror’s infamous conquest of England.
- Honfleur – (Musée Eugène Boudin) The exhibits in this museum illustrate how painters such as Boudin and Johan Jongkind had a hand in inspiring other artists such as Monet, Seurat and Signac to take advantage of natural light and paint their landscapes outdoors, effectively capturing the beauty of their subjects in a different way.
- Rouen – (Musée des Beaux-Arts) Here visitors can see over 10 incredible collections including renaissance art, romanticism, impressionist, portraits, and sculpture. It’s a fantastic way to experience a variety of styles and mediums all in one place.
Be the Artist
One of the best things about Normandy is the fact that over the years its history and natural beauty have inspired countless people to express themselves artistically. With so many landscapes, buildings, cathedrals and interesting people to serve as subjects, it’s easy to get caught up in the atmosphere and let it arouse your inner artist.
A few places in Normandy that present excellent opportunities to get creative include:
- Roeun’s Gothic Cathedral (inspired Monet)
- Jumieges Abbey (one of the most impressive, yet little-known, sights in Normandy)
- Honfleur Harbor (lined with half-timbered houses)
- WWII Landing Beaches and Monuments