Painting Along the Seine
(in the Footsteps of Monet)
by Kay Rebber Foote
Paris is the place to start. Lease a car from Auto France before you go, and pick it up at Charles de Gaulle airport and you're on your way.
Paris has many locations painted by Monet as well as the other Impressionists in the late l9th century. They still are beautiful and appealing to an artist. Paris has kept new buildings and high-rises out of the city center, so it looks much as it did then, with tree-lined streets and ornate architecture from an earlier era. The River Seine has always been the heart of the City.
Monet's Garden at Giverny
Kay Rebber Foote
Follow the Seine sixty miles west of Paris to see Monet's home at Giverny. You can visit his studio, his home and gardens, and the famous waterlily pond that he designed with Japanese bridges and overhanging willows. Best of all, one day a week, you can set up an easel and paint. I prefer to sketch in pen and ink and watercolor as it is the beat way for me to get a feel of the place, not just an image.
Continue west along the Seine until you come to Les Andelys. Go through the town and follow signs up the hill to Chateau Gaillard. The haunting ruins of the castle that Richard the Lionheart built in 1197 are a perfect frame for the view of the Seine and the river valley far below.
Further on, Rouen's Cathedrale Notre-Dame is famous as the subject of Monet's studies of it's Gothic facade. There are many other things to sketch in this town where Joan of Arc was burned at the stake. The Rue du Gros-Horloge has timber-framed houses of the 17th, 18th, and 19th centuries that an typical of the oak and plaster architecture of Normandy.
One of my favorite stops is Caudebec-en Caux, a small village where an outdoor market has been held every Saturday since 1390 A.D. in front of the church of Notre-Dame. Baskets of colorful fragrant blooms,tended by wrinkled old ladies with sweet smiling faces, tiny bouquets of basil, and tarragon, barrels of home cured olives, cheeses and hams, kitchen gadgets, and even clothing. People watching is as interesting as shopping. An artist will find much to paint. A grassy terrace bordering the Seine offers great views of the boats coming and going.
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