Follow one of the four Impressionist Trails for a relatively easy walk exploring the landscapes immortalised by the impressionist painters. From Ile de Chatou, take the impressionists route to Croissy-sur-Seine or Carrières-sur-Seine. From Le Pecq or Louveciennes, there are two walking itineraries to take you back in time, enjoying scenery of the present in the light of the past.
The Monet trail, from Chatou to Bougival via Croissy-sur-Seine – 4.25 km – 1 hour 30 minutes
The Seine will be the “blue” theme of your walk. From the park on Ile des Impressionnistes, you pass under the railway bridge that Renoir painted, then over the Seine bridge at Chatou, towards the Notre-Dame church. Follow the Seine until you reach Croissy-sur-Seine. On the way, you can admire the pretty 19th-century villas: the Swiss chalet, the palace of the thousand and one nights, the Palladio villa, etc… Observe the hidden details of the façades. This route includes a bonus, if you visit Chanorier: with 3 museums, a restaurant and an exhibition hall, there’s something for everyone… And if the Impressionists are close to your heart, then you really must visit the musée de la Grenouillère to discover the history of this floating café and find out what Belle Epoque life was all about! Return to the towpath to reach Bougival bridge for a magical view of the banks of the Seine. Find out more!
The Pissarro trail, from Marly-le-Roi to Louveciennes – 3.8 km – 45 minutes
Embark on a royal trail! From the very private palace built by King Louis XIV in Parc de Marly to the Louveciennes château of Comtesse du Barry, mistress to King Louis XV, this essential itinerary takes you along the aqueduct which was the centrepiece of what is considered to be the eighth wonder of the world, the Machine of Marly! You can discover the full history of both towns on a tour of the Musée-Promenade. And if the tour gives you an appetite, make your way to Grande Rue or Place du Général de Gaulle in Marly-le-Roi, where you’ll easily find joy among the array of restaurants… Unless you prefer the historic centre of Louveciennes and its buildings huddled around the bell tower… On Place de l’Eglise, the Aux Chandelles restaurant is an institution! Find out more!
The Renoir trail, from Chatou to Carrières-sur-Seine – 3.6 km – 1 hour 15 minutes
Enjoy the convivial atmosphere of the hamlet of Fournaise, a gem of Chatou’s Ile des Impressionnistes. Visit the Musée Fournaise, and discover the history of the family behind the “guinguette” (open-air café/dance hall) frequented by Renoir, Maupassant and Caillebotte. Head for the Bessières gallery to admire some works of contemporary art, or go to greet the passionate and fascinating Sequana boat restorers…
If you arrive late morning, you can have lunch at Rives de la Courtille or Maison Fournaise, where Renoir painted his masterpiece, Luncheon of the Boating Party.
It was thanks to Abbot Suger that the town of Carrières began to flourish, when he built the abbey there. The town is dotted with quarries, some of them invisible, hidden below ground, others wide open, like the one near the Town Hall gardens. The quarries have been exploited through the ages to supply stone for construction works in the Paris region and, later, to cultivate the famous Paris mushrooms. Speaking of mushrooms, you can stay to have lunch by the Seine or a little further away at Place du Marché! Find out more!
The Sisley trail, from Le Pecq to Port-Marly – 3.15 km – 1 hour 5 minutes
From the bridge at Le Pecq, don’t miss the beautiful view over Ile Corbière and the park, a real green haven that both children and adults will enjoy. While you’re there, go and see Seine and Oise, the “Dames du Pont” (ladies of the bridge”), thus named by their sculptor René Letourneur in reference to the former name of the département of Yvelines. No, you are not in Egypt! These majestic pyramids are the work of architect Roger Taillibert. Hidden amid the vegetation, the palace of Alexandre Dumas stands above you, although you cannot see it. Another essential feature of our beautiful destination! Once you reach Port-Marly, the spotlight turns to Sisley and Pissarro. Their works are a vibrant account of the era, depicting the flood of 1876 and the beginning of the industrial era, among other themes. Take a welcome break at one of the surrounding restaurants. Then, to pleasantly walk off your meal, take the little bridge across to the park, a hidden charm of emerald green…Find out more!