Top 5 experiences based around impressionism

“I paint what I see, and not what others like to see” – Manet

Discover an essential experiential journey around impressionism and let yourself be enchanted by the magic of the landscapes…

La plage du Havre et la digue nord au soleil couchant

Le Havre, the cradle of Impressionism

Le Havre, Porte Océane, cradle of Impressionism. Did you know? It was here one early morning in November 1872 that Claude Monet, a disciple of Eugène Boudin, painted the cult “Impression soleil levant” (sunrise) from a room in the Hôtel de l’Amirauté. In Le Havre, other masterpieces were created by the hand of this figurehead of the Impressionist movement:

“Terrace at Sainte-Adresse”, “La pointe de la Hève” and “Port of Le Havre, night effect”. Le Havre and its port, Etretat and its cliffs all benefit from an exceptional light which also inspired Jongkind, Pissarro, Sisley, Signac, Caillebotte, Courbet…

Le MuMa au Havre

The MuMa (Musée d’art moderne André Malraux/André Malraux Museum of Modern Art)

Here in this exceptional glass and steel building, located opposite the entrance to the port, you can visit France’s second most important impressionist collection. You can dream in front of Boudin’s beach scenes, lose yourself in his sky studies, compare Pissarro’s 1903 version of the harbour entrance with today’s, travel in the south of France with Renoir, canoe down the Seine with Sisley, drown in Courbet’s wave … a great moment of pictorial intoxication in prospect.

Famille devant le panneau Impressionniste du Perrey d'Etretat

In the footsteps of the Impressionists

In Le Havre as in Etretat, follow in the footsteps of the impressionists. Several panels put the works and the places where they were painted into perspective: the entrance to the port of Le Havre and its seawalls, the beach, Cap de la Hève, the cliffs of Etretat and the needle. 

More detailed and with commentary (trilingual French, English, German), the impressionist and fauvist Le Havre app shows how Le Havre is at the root of modern art. This walking tour is a stroll through the town and takes you to the end of the world in Sainte-Adresse.

Coucher de soleil au Havre

The sunsets of the Alabaster Coast

The effects of this light on the sea mean you can admire some exceptional sunsets. Let yourself be carried away by this glowing ball of red light that sets between the towers of the Porte Océane, or disappears on the horizon while you are on the beach in Le Havre, Sainte-Adresse or maybe Etretat, sitting on a terrace. A moment of sharing where the sky takes on the colours of a painter’s palette dominated by yellow, orange, red, pink, blue and purple.

Vue sur Etretat et ses falaises

The cliffs of Etretat

They have inspired many artists from Corot, Delacroix, Isabey and Courbet to Boudin, Vallotton, Matisse… but Claude Monet was the one who was most inspired by this jewel of the Alabaster Coast. Nearly 80 paintings bear witness to Manneporte, to the Aval Cliffs in bad weather, to the needle (so dear to Arsène Lupin), to the Amont Cliffs … a festival that takes place in the greatest museums in the world.


Immortalise Impressionism on Instagram

Become the new masters of impressionism and post your most wonderful sunsets to our Instagram account @lehavreetretatnormandie with the hashtag #lehavreetretatnormandie. Every day, we select a photo of the destination that we highlight on our account. So get on your smartphones!