Weekend around an artist’s house: Rosa Bonheur and the Pays de Fontainebleau
A great lover of animals and nature, Rosa Bonheur made the right choice when she bought this 15th-century château, where she would spend the last forty years of her life. With a perfect blend of nature, forest, artistic heritage and sporting activities, you will be wowed by the charms of this delightfully authentic area.
We would like to inform our kind readers that a vehicle is required to follow this itinerary.
Rosa Bonheur, a liberated woman in the 19th century
An unfinished painting on its easel, awaiting its final brush strokes… an embroidered smock strewn nonchalantly over an armchair… a hat … Your journey begins at the Château de Rosa Bonheur in By-Thomery, in the artist’s studio where time appears to have stood still since her death in 1899. Follow the story of this grande dame of animal painting, whose talent was recognised as far afield as the United States and enabled her to purchase this magnificent property an hour’s drive south-east of Paris. You almost expect the trouser-wearing feminist-ahead-of-her-time to walk in at any moment! And to top off the experience, you can also sleep in Bonheur’s magnificently restored bedroom.
Lunch at the château
There’s no need to leave the site for lunch. The charming château tearoom will delight you with its sweet and savoury delicacies and its Sunday brunch. The recipes come straight out of the recipe book of Rosa Bonheur’s faithful housekeeper Céline.
Walls of wine
Don’t leave Thomery without strolling down the Chemin des Longs Sillons to admire the vine-covered walls. Now protected historical monuments, the first walls devoted to growing the Chasselas grape date back to the 16th century. An extraordinary piece of heritage!
Moret-sur-Loing, an artist's trail
Perhaps after making a stop at Saint-Mammès, a delightful village of bargemen, your route will take you to Moret-sur-Loing, just 6 kilometres away by car.
Savour the charms of this medieval city, immortalised by the Impressionist painter Alfred Sisley, who lived there for many years and is now buried there. Your perambulations will take you to the gates of the city, Notre-Dame church, the banks of the river Loing, the bridge and the tow paths that inspired the painter so magnificently. Follow the marked route and admire the paintings displayed along the way.
Moret-sur-Loing is also the birthplace of a legendary sweet: the barley sugar. The recipe for this local speciality, of which Napoleon is said to have been a great fan, has remained unchanged since the 17th century. Discover this culinary heritage at the little museum dedicated to it, and stop off at the delightfully old-fashioned Sucre d’Orge shop near the church to stock up.
To discover the beauty of the town and its surroundings from a different angle, why not get a bird’s-eye view from a hot-air balloon with Seine et Loing Montgolfière? Magical! If you prefer the water, Apikopa has the solution for you, with a range of 3 packages to canoe your way down the Loing at your own pace.
A night of folie
La Folie Barbizon offers guests a wonderful evening and night in the village of Barbizon, a 20km drive from Moret-sur-Loing.
Located on the edge of the Forest of Fontainebleau, this subtly decorated country house offers room and board in a carefully preserved environment. After tasting the seasonal cuisine of the resident chef, sit back and savour the tranquil surrounds in one of the 20 rooms decorated with unique vintage furniture. A friendly and welcoming guest house and eatery where you can simply take your time and enjoy the moment!
Barbizon, the village of painters
Wake up with an artist’s soul! Explore this picturesque village and step inside the little shops and art galleries that give it its charm.
World-famous for its school of painters, the village of Barbizon is steeped in artistic heritage.
The advent of paint in tubes in the 19th century prompted artists with Paris studios to head out into the Forest of Fontainebleau to work in the great outdoors. They stayed at an inn called the Auberge Ganne, now a museum. The most famous among them, Jean-François Millet, even set up home there in a house and studio, which you can also visit.
Seasonal homemade cuisine, a warm welcome, a terrace in the shade… La Bohème has all you could wish for for a reinvigorating lunch break.
The lure of the forest
The Forest of Fontainebleau is known for its vast green spaces, perfect for a picnic, its hiking trails, and its climbing hotspots. Whether you are a seasoned climber, an enthusiastic amateur, or a complete novice wanting to try out climbing for the very first time, you can count on Globe Climber to help you surpass yourself.
Want to release your inner “musher”? Try your hand at some summer or winter dog sledding with Evasion Canine. An out-of-the-ordinary activity to be relished alone or with the family.
More famous artists' houses in Paris Region
- Copyright image: Chateau rosa bonheur