Another lovely day trip from Paris, that can easily be combined with a visit to Fontainbleau or to Milly la Foret, home of Jean Cocteau, is Barbizon. Generally acknowledged to be amongst the prettiest villages in France, Baribizon is most well known for the pre-impressionist painters who lived and worked there from 1850 onwards.
These painters were both French and foreign, coming to Barbizon to paint the beautiful natural landscapes that surround the village. Corot, Millet and their contemporaries, later to be known as The Barbizon School, were followed by Monet, Renoir and Sisley and then writers and philosophers, actors and singers. Robert Louis Stevenson was another famous resident. The village opened inns and art galleries to welcome them, many still in existence today. You can visit the studio/houses of Theodore Rousseau and Jean-François Millet, and the Auberge Ganne, one of the original inns that was home to many of the painters, is now a small museum dedicated to the Barbizon school.
You can wander through the village, have lunch on the terrace of one of the lovely auberges, and enjoy perusing some beautiful artworks, all in the space of a very easily walkable area. You will need a car to get there though, but it’s well worth the effort, particularly if you take the opportunity for a stop in the gorgeous town of Fontainebleau nearby with its magnificent chateau, and why not a walk in the beautiful forest that so inspired these artists.
- 77630 Barbizon.