Barbizon is a village nestled comfortably against the western edge of the forest of Fontainebleau. Stroll through the cobbled streets and push the door of small shops and art galleries !

Inspired by nature

From 1830, what was still a hamlet of lumberjacks will indeed welcome all the painters who come to seek inspiration from unspoiled nature at the Auberge Ganne. Later, they shared their stays between Barbizon and Chailly-en-Bière, finding their subjects in the countryside or the nearby Fontainebleau forest, painting on the ground. Along with Auvers-sur-Oise and Giverny, to the northwest of Paris, it is one of the villages that has had the greatest impact on the history of painting around the capital. These revolutionary artists decide to paint outside, and no longer locked up in a studio! This is the Barbizon School… They stay at the Ganne inn, share their meals there… and decorate the walls on rainy days ! During the day, they spend their time painting in the forest. Rousseau and Millet settle permanently in the village. Díaz de la Peña lived there for a time, in a very pretty house on the Grande-Rue.

barbizon village
A village of painters

The origin of impressionist

The landscape painters of Barbizon paved the way for a famous pictorial movement : Impressionism. Monet, Sisley, Renoir favored the banks of the river and traveled through Ile-de-France, while having lightened their palette… Today, the village of Barbizon is a long street lined with places of remembrance open to visitors, art galleries, hotels and restaurants. The Ganne Inn, where all these many painters have passed, has been transformed into a wonderful museum where you can admire the paintings of the master landscape painters of the 19th century. A few steps away, the house-workshop of Théodore Rousseau, one of the founders of the movement, which today hosts the museum’s temporary exhibitions. Then, follow the Circuit des Peintres through the forest, a pretty, very accessible walk. Follow in the footsteps of Barbizon artists and discover Jean-François Millet’s house-workshop, which can be visited freely all year round.

barbizon village

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