English watercolourist Turner, went to Normandy on a regular basis to paint the estuary light in Honfleur and the countryside around it. And there was a group of American painters who also frequented the area to paint. In fact, in Giverny, where Monet's famous house and gardens are situated, there is the American Foundation Museum which features art done by the visiting Americans over the years.
On this trip, we will spend the first week at a chateau near the western edge of Normandy in a small village called Hambye. We will have the entire chateau to ourselves ( amazing) and spend the days painting in and around the area. We will take a day trip to sketch at Mont St Michel ( pictured below) , the thousand year old fortress and abbey on the mont just off the coast. It is only accessible by foot and the tides cut access off several times a day. It's like stepping back in time to an era of monks, cobblestoned streets and Harry Potter! Ive been there once before, stayed overnight within its walls, and in the early morning while lying in bed I heard the same sounds of produce and supplies being brought in on old wooden carts over the cobblestones. The sounds must be the same as hundreds of years ago. No vehicles are allowed onto the mont. It also has the distinction of never having been taken in any war over 1000 years. When you see the slits in the ramparts where they poured boiling hot oil down on any attackers you understand why!
Another day we will travel to Dinan, a medieval town just over the border into Brittany France. Its old buildings and wonderful Norman architecture will make for some good painting.
In my next blog post, I will describe our second week in France. I am getting very excited about going!
Happy painting my friends.