Chatou and Chaussy, paint and nature IDF

These are two jewels that is known one by its Impressionists legions and the other one ,well is hidden in the woods. Its a way to spread out from Paris ,and see France. I think I lost the pictures that I had on a CDRom but so what I will definitively come back for them in the walks and rides of Pedmar 10 ::)

The first is the little known Domaine de Villarceaux, this is in Chaussy the extremes of the Ile de France region almost in Normandy territory. It has 900 years of history so might as well tell you some. First it is best with a car, along the A15 autoroute to Rouen then the N14 same direction and get out at the sortie/exit Vernon/hodent, take the road D86 direction Chaussy. You can do it from the A13 autoroute de normandie taking sortie Mantes la Jolie, Mantes Est no 11 stay on the N183 road direction Limay, then just past Drocourt bear left on road D142 direction Villers-en-Arthies, and then Chaussy. It is deep in the woods so the trains are either to Mantes La Jolie and then hire a taxi or to Magny-en-Vexin and do the same.

You will come to an oasis in the forest, with a parterre sur l’eau (garden just by the big lake Le Grand Etang, there are other basins like Bassin des Huit Jets, you have an old tower, tour Saint-Nicolas, then the communs du manoir or the servants farmers quarters of old . You move on into more woods before before you like a cinderella castle you see the Castle of 18C architecture before it a hill of fine grass call Le Vertugadin, of 530 meters long (1749 ft)  and to the right of it the Orangerie.  All in 70 hectares of domaine land (173 acres).  And all classify as an historical monument in France.

Le manoir started small probably in the 12C or 13C where king Louis VII found a small prierie of benedictine woman.  A century later it is the lord of Villarceaux, and in the 15C a castle fortress. It is enlarge during the Renaissance with agricultural dependancies and servants quarters,and was inhabited by the mistress of the marquis de Villarceaux. The area of the tour Saint Nicolas is from the 16C. The Orangerie is from the 19C. The Chateau is magnificently decorated with period furniture and objects d’art as well as tapestries. In the le Grand Etang with an area of 3 hectares ( 7.4 acres) and deep of 8 meters ( 26.4 ft) is equipped with an intricate hydraulic system with many animals and fish in it. In the north wing of the Communs there is shops for artists of different sorts, and teaching shops whre one can discover painting, photo,video,dance, and writings.  The season is April to October, and all has been recently renovated completely !  The webpage in French of the regional council here http://www.iledefrance.fr/villarceaux/

Then we go over to Chatou, near Paris in my dept 78. Here is an oasis of Impressionist artist painters, the best were here, all centered around the Fournaisse family, and the now Musée Fournaise. They were the last survivors of the “guinguettes” open air dance halls of old.  It serve food and boat rides on the Seine river, and the whole family entertain some others like a  Claude Monet,Alfred Sisley, Berthe Morisot, Edouard Manet, Camille Pissarro, and Pierre Prins. This was the country favored by them to paint and do wonders; the best also came for the family wedding like Edgar Degas, and Guy de Maupassant has mentioned the place in its short stories.

Next to the museum the former Restaurant Levanneur was the meeting place of Andre Derain and Maurice de Valminck and now converted into a center for creation,documentation and exhibitions. It was here at the “Centre National de l’Estampe et de l’Edition” on a studio that the two painters beforementioned together with Guillaume Apollinaire, Henri Matisse, and Paul Poiret prepared for the artistic revolution of 1905, the Fauvism movement.

Today the Fournaise houses a restaurant (privately owned) and the museum on the upper floors, it exhibit rotating exhibition of the impressionist school of painting .  Pierre-Auguste Renoir did more than 30 of his paintings here and wrote nostalgic about this place, some of them now permanently in the Musée d’Orsay in Paris.  The town of Chatou purchase the house with the help of two associations that helps maintained “Les Amis de la Maison Fournaise”,and ” Friends of French Art”.

You come to Chatou and Museum by RER A train to station Rueil-Malmaison ,walk towards Chatou crossing the bridge at the river Seine, walk 500 meters more and halfway turn right on the island. By car take the A14, then the A86 direction Versailles, exit.sortie 35a in the middle of the bridge turn right on the island. More info in these webpages ,official museum go above right for English version, http://www.musee-fournaise.com/fournaise/fr/index.asp , and les amis webpage English version at bottom of page, http://www.amisfournaisechatou.com/

Hope it gives you another look at the deep France, and I need to get me those photos Lol!

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