This charming and quiet little hamlet is found on the edge of the Fontainebleau Forest in the Seine-et-Marne department, 30 miles away from Paris. It is renowned for having inspired many artists during the 19th Century. In 1815, the influence of English landscape painters Constable and Turner pushed artists to get out of their workshops to paint real life. Barbizon, located between plain and forest, offers the ideal environment to discover the technique of landscape painting, a discovery that was facilitated by the invention of coloured paint in 1834. Thus the hamlet became one of the mythical areas of the pre-impressionist period in France, called “Ecole de Barbizon”. For nearly 50 years between 1825 and 1875, a new vision of nature was born, which began under the brush bristles of Corot, Daubigny, Jean-François Millet and Théodore Rousseau, before a second generation, composed of Claude Monet, Auguste Renoir, and Alfred Sisley, took up the reins. It is at Chailly-en-Bière that Monet painted “Le déjeuner sur l’herbe”, the “Lunch on the Grass”, during the spring of 1863, which is now exposed at the Orsay Museum in Paris. The Ganne tavern, a landmark that existed at the time, can still be visited today; it is the departmental museum of the “Ecole de Barbizon”, the homes / workshops of painters Rousseau and Millet, and the Hotel of the Bas-Breau, created in 1867, which was long-time host to Scottish writer and traveller Robert Louis Stevenson, the famous author of “Treasure Island”. Visit Barbizon with an audioguide during the minibus excursion , which includes a visit to Barbizon, Fontainebleau and Vaux le Vicomte.

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