Dieppe, Eu and Le Tréport
Our thanks to Jacques-Sylvain Klein, who very kindly made available to us texts which he has written for the "Guide du Routard des Impressionnistes en Normandie". To read these texts in full, readers are invited to purchase the "Guide du Routard" guidebook (in French), available from French bookshops. Dieppe, EU and Le TréportIt was the fashion for bathing in the sea, imported from England at the beginning of the 19th century, and the arrival of the English which encouraged the development of Dieppe both in terms of tourism and art.
English painters arrived in their droves, including Turner, who was admired by Géricault and Delacroix, and the young prodigy Bonington. From then on, Dieppe acted as a magnet for artists looking for light, natural landscapes, sea views, and historical buildings. Famous names who painted here include Delacroix, one of the most important Romantic artists, whose works (both watercolours and oil paintings) would revolutionise the art of landscape painting and pave the way for Impressionism.
In addition to the society people who Proust described in his novel "In Search of Lost Time", other visitors to Dieppe included musicians such as Debussy and Fauré, writers, and the cream of new artistic talent including Impressionist painters such as Monet, Renoir, Pissarro, Gauguin and Degas.
Dieppe is an official "Town of Art and History". The Seine-Maritime Tourist Board has published an Impressionism Guide (available from the tourist office or online), which includes a tour of the town and surrounding area, accompanied by reproductions of works painted in the region.
• The Château-musée Housed in a 15C castle which has served as a royal residence, barracks, governor's house, and even a prison during the French Revolution, Dieppe museum traces the history of the area through a fine collection of ivories, paintings and old postcards. The collection of paintings comprises works by artists who have a close connection with the town. The Impressionist movement is represented through works by Renoir, Pissarro, Boudin, Eva Gonzalès, and others. Also of interest are the works by Sickert, notably Saint-Jacques church in Dieppe, which the artist painted as a series, in the same way as Monet painted Rouen cathedral. Other works in the collection include paintings by Courbet and Dufy, as well as a collection of prints by Braque.
• The port districtTurner arrived in Dieppe in the summer of 1821. He produced several drawings and watercolours here, which he later used to compose his famous painting The Harbour of Dieppe. In 1845, he painted another portrait of the town entitled A Sunny Day at Dieppe. Many other artists, including Lapostolet, Gauguin and Pissarro, have depicted this lively district of Dieppe, while the artist Boudin painted a poetic view of the Le Pollet cliffs.
• Cité de la MerAlso known as the Estran, this museum is dedicated to shipbuilding, naval navigation and fishing; it also provides information on the geology of the cliffs in the area.
• Town centreSaint-Jacques church was the subject of a stunning series of urban paintings by Pissarro, who painted from his room at the Hôtel du Commerce. Around Dieppe
• Pourville Monet came to stay in Pourville in 1882. "The countryside here is beautiful and I couldn't be any closer to the sea. I'm practically on the pebble beach." he wrote to his partner, Alice Hoschedé. He stayed at the "A la Renommée des Galettes". The artist was in his element here and painted a series of landscapes during his stay, including The Sea at Pourville and Fishing Nets at Pourville.
• Varengeville-sur-MerPerched on a chalk cliff, the village of Varengeville offers magnificent views which extend right along the Côté d’Albâtre from Saint-Valery-en-Caux to Tréport. It's not surprising that the Impressionists were attracted to this magical spot, as well as so many other artists in their wake, including Braque, Picasso, Miró and Cocteau. Braque was also fascinated by Varengeville, where he lived for six months of the year.
• Le Bois des MoutiersLe Bois des Moutiers boasts a lovely manor house and magnificent park. Several artists, including Rodin, Picasso, Miró and Cocteau, spent time here.• Saint-Valéry churchThis church was built on the edge of the cliff. The stained-glass window representing the Tree of Jesse is the work of Braque and the glassmaker Raoul Ubac.
Le TréportOn the road from Dieppe to Le Tréport, you'll pass the Château de Wargemont, where Renoir often stayed with his friends, the Berards, and where he spent much of his time painting. Turner visited Le Tréport in 1845. Here he painted watercolours of the town and Saint-Jacques church.
• Magnificent viewsThere is a magnificent view of the town and surrounding area from the cliff top. Enjoy the views and take a ride on the funicular which crosses the chalky cliff (free of charge).Eu Turner visited Eu on the invitation of Louis-Philippe, who hosted large banquets here.During his stay, the artist painted a series of watercolours which employ the same stunning effects as his famous Venetian works.
• Château-muséeChâteau d’Eu-Musée Louis-Philippe: In the 19th century, King Louis-Philippe made this castle his summer residence. He twice received Queen Victoria here, once in the company of the English painter Turner.
Contacts and useful links
Most of these websites are available in English. Once on these website, please click on your country flag.Dieppe tourist officeTel : 0033 232 14 40 60Website : www.dieppetourisme.com
Tréport tourist officeTel : 0033 235 86 05 69Website : www.ville-le-treport.fr
Eu tourist officeTel : 0033 235 86 04 68Website : www.ville-eu.frDiscover a whole host of information on the Seine-Maritime Tourist Board's website. Click here to view the Impressionist and Accommodation sections.
Click here for the Normandy Impressionist Festival programme