Weekend around an artist’s house: Gustave Caillebotte, Val d’Yerres and surrounding area
You’re sure to know the Impressionist painter Gustave Caillebotte and his famous painting The floor planers. But did you know that it is also in Yerres, in the family property, that the artist, a great nature lover, has for years drawn his inspiration? Like him, let’s leave the vibrant atmosphere of the major Parisian boulevards for the peace and serenity of a weekend in the countryside.
The times of Gustave Caillebotte
Let’s begin your stay with a visit to the Caillebotte estate in Yerres. It’s here, in the family holiday home, that the famous Impressionist artist spent almost 20 years. The Property and its superb 11-hectare park (accessible free of charge) bordered by the Yerres would inspire more than 80 paintings! And it’s easy to imagine yourself in the painter’s square, as the preservation of the estate is so exceptional. The landscapes seen by Caillebotte have not changed! To find out more, don’t hesitate to rent a touchscreen tablet and launch yourself into discovering the property via augmented reality. You can compare the paintings painted by the artist and the setting today. A dazzling experience!
The property is full of places to discover, including the aviary, installed by the artist’s father, who hosted the birds sought for their beautiful songs; the 7m deep cooler that allowed ice to be disposed of and food preserved… do not miss the visit to the vegetable garden immortalized in many paintings by Caillebotte, who was passionate about horticulture. With a surface area of 1,700 m2, the original greenhouse can be found there. It is now being maintained, just as it was in the time of the painter, by “Potager Caillebotte” volunteers’ association.
After this beautiful walk through a romantic 19th century landscape, a lunch break is welcome. You can opt for a lunchtime picnic in the park on the impressionist grass, or sit at the “L’Orée du Parc” tearoom-restaurant, located within the property.
Did you know that Caillebotte was also a canoe enthusiast? Head to the jetty of the property for a nice boat trip on the Yerres where the painter painted numerous bathing scenes. Don’t worry, your boat has nothing in common with the small boats immortalised by the painter and once called “canoes” as they capsized so easily!
After this walk along the water, you are now ready for the highlight of the show: a visit to the house! Fully restored and refurbished as at the time of the painter, you will discover the intimate universe where the artist lived. The dining room, lounge and billiard room have been completely renovated and the family bedroom has been fitted with its original empire furniture. Finally, the atmosphere of the workshop has been restored and the original paintings of Caillebotte are regularly exhibited.
After this trip through time, do you still have a bit of energy remaining? Let’s go for a walk along the green trail!
Nature walk, with flora and fauna
The green trail is 38 km of nature in Essonne and Val-de-Marne along several walking circuits in the communes crossed by Yerres and Réveillon. It allows you to discover a protected natural site while admiring archaeological and architectural treasures. As you are in Yerres, it’s an opportunity to travel along Route 2, a 3 km section that passes through the Caillebotte Property and crosses a genuine protected ecological corridor, which is home to specific plant and animal species from the wetlands as well as a fish spawning ground. You will also pass through Panchout Island, a place for walking and fishing where highland cows, which are chosen for their adaptation to the wet environment, roam the vast surrounding meadow in the summer! You could almost forget that Paris is less than an hour away…
A charming residence in a green setting
After this busy day, you will certainly want to relax, won’t you? Then head to the Demeure de Campagne Parc in Coudray Montceaux, located 30 minutes from Yerres! The scenery continues to be beautiful with this property located in a 20-hectare private park overlooked by all the rooms. You won’t have time to get bored, there are many activities on offer, from a walk along the path around the property, to swimming in the swimming pool (unless you prefer treetop adventure!) and a small game of table football or darts. Enough to satisfy young and old alike in all weather. Boots and oilskins are even available in case of rain!
Exploring the Marais and lower valleys of Essonne
After having had a good night’s sleep and enjoying your stay on site, you can continue on the road a few minutes to reach the Montauger departmental estate, the “entrance gate” to the marshes of the low valleys of Essonne and June. Its 15-hectare park is free of charge. Here you will find the Departmental Maison de l’Environnement, which offers numerous activities all year round on biodiversity, eco-citizenship, sustainable development and solidarity. Don’t hesitate to bring your picnic with you because everything is designed to welcome you!
The macaroon king
Our getaway is already almost at its end and it will soon be time to get back. To finish the weekend in style, how about taking a short detour to Seine-et-Marne for a well deserved gourmet break? Head to Réau and its macaroons of the same name. Made with true craftsmanship by the family company, without preservatives or gluten, these macaroons are the pride of the Paris Region. They can even be found in the prestigious Grande Epicerie du Bon Marché and the unmissable Lafayette Gourmet! In Réau, you can enjoy them on site, at the “Domaine”, the 300m2 tea shop dedicated to this small, soft round pastry. Food lovers can even attend a production demonstration (by reservation). You’ll find tips and tricks to succeed in making your own macarons once you get home! It’s an opportunity to extend the pleasure of this short stay that Gustave Caillebotte would have loved…
More famous artists' houses in Paris Region
- Copyright image: RMN - Photo Martine BECK COPPOLA (C) RMN-Grand Palais (musée d'Orsay) / Martine Beck-Coppola