To bring you Monet wanderlust, we have researched 8 destinations in Europe where Monet found his inspiration, and have compared them to his paintings. These places are not as well-known as Monet’s gardens in Giverny, so get ready to be surprised by some hidden gems!
1. Bordighera, Italy
How could we not love the turquoise shades of the sea and beautiful beaches? In his letters to Alice Hoschedé, Monet has expressed his passion for the scenery at Bordighera, a beautiful, small town on the Mediterranean coast of Italy.. Monet traveled to Bordighera in 1883 with Renoir for about 10 weeks and painted more than 30 artworks. Just next to the French border, if you’re visiting Nice or Cannes perhaps it’s worth making a quick trip across the border to experience the inspiration Monet once felt over a hundred years ago!
2. Pourville-sur-Mer, near Dieppe in northern France
Monet painted the Cliff Walk at Pourville in the small seaside resort of Pourville-sur-Mer near Dieppe in northern France. Dieppe was the first town in the area to be established as a resort, attracting a lot of famous artists and writers to visit here, such as John Turner, Edgar Degas, Paul Gauguin, Oscar Wilde, and Virginia Woolf. Following the steps of famous masters, Dieppe definitely should be on your travel list!
3. Étretat, France
Étretat is a bustling tourism and farming town, situated north-east of Le Havre, France. Monet loved this town so much that lived here in 1868 with his first wife and their son. Even until today, Étretat remains to be a popular tourist destination in France.
Especially during sunset, you will be dazzled and amazed by the spectacular views over the bay and rock archways.
4. Le Havre, France
La Havre is a major port city of France, in the Normandy where Monet grew up. Monet’s father thrived as a ship chandler, which may have influenced Monet’s childhood – gaining intimate knowledge of the sea and spending a lot of time near the beaches. The sea scenery therefore has become the most prominent background of Monet’s childhood. If you are interested in learning more about Monet’s upbringing, La Havre is a must-visit place!
5. Rouen, France
Rouen is located along the Seine River, which is known as France’s longest river and also runs through Paris. The most famous tourist attraction in the city is the Rouen Cathedral. The cathedral was the subject of a number of paintings by Monet. He painted there in the late winter of both 1892 and 1893, working in a studio in a dressmaker’s shop across from the Rouen Cathedral. Many of these paintings are exhibited in the Musée d'Orsay in Paris, which is a bucket-list destination for any art lover!
6. Sainte-Adresse, France
Sainte-Adresse, a small town located in the Normandy region in northern France, was a popular vacation town during the 1800s. Monet’s aunt, Marie-Jeanne Lecadre bought a summer vacation house in this town and Monet often painted the beach view from her house during his early career. During this period, Monet was only 26 years old and he was still trying to discover new ways to experience and illustrate modern life. In this painting, you can see steam ships delivering goods to small towns as well as rich merchants enjoying their vacations. Monet is not only depicting modern commerce, he is also painting the joyfulness of middle and upper-class life.
7. Trouville-sur-Mer, France
Trouville was one of the first-ever coastal resorts developed in France! Monet and his master, Boudin, have always enjoyed traveling and painting here. The hotels have been transformed into luxury apartments, amazingly depicted by Monet in his painting above. Trouville is also famous for its casino and lively fishing port, making for a popular fish market and world-class restaurants. You will be sure to encounter fresh and amazing seafood such as scallops, sole, prawns, and mackerel here!
8. Venice, Italy
“One cannot come to Venice, without wanting to return” said Claude Monet. In the Autumn of 1908, Monet traveled to Venice, Italy with his second wife Alice. During his visit, he completed 36 paintings of Venice’s most famous canals, palaces, and piazzas. Monet painted almost every day from very early in the morning until sunset. In the above painting of Grand Canal, Monet explored colored reflections on water. The architecture and buildings fade into Venice’s magical and astonishing atmosphere.