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Paris through the eyes of the Impressionists

Most people think Paris is very old but did you know the face of the city of lights was mainly designed in the 1860s? Urban planner Haussmann’s aim was to modernise the capital, uniformed façades of buildings and brand-new green areas.

The Grands Boulevards, Camille Pissarro

In February 1897, Pissarro took up a room in a hotel at the corner of boulevard des Italiens, to record the buzzing street activity at different times of the day. One can see the many coaches on the road, the lined-up trees on the pavement and the iconic Morris columns. They are cylindrical sculptures advertising with posters of various shows. In the morning version, colours are rather subdued and pastel-like. The other painting indicates busy nightlife through stark contrasts of light and darkness.

St-Lazare Train Station, Claude Monet

When Monet asked the director of the Western Railway Company to paint the station, he thought he was out of his mind. The artist wanted to celebrate the achievements of the industrial revolution. Inaugurated for the World Fair of 1867, the St Lazare station became the largest of Paris, counting no less than 25 million visitors per year. Monet played on a whole range of textures, from the smoke of the locomotive to the massive iron framework of the station.

Dance at the Galette Windmill, Auguste Renoir

Nicknamed “the painter of happy life”, Renoir had a studio in Montmartre. THE place to be an artist at the centre of avant-garde movements. Dance at the Mill displays the leisure of the middle-classes. It’s a sunny Sunday afternoon, people have gone to a “guingette. It’s an outdoor restaurant to meet friends, have lunch and dance. Renoir’s innovative style can be seen through the swift brushstrokes and vibrant colours. Also, he’s excellent at representing the movement, especially thanks to the lines made by the straw-boater hats.

Straw Boater, Caillebotte

Displayed at the 4th Impressionist exhibition, Straw Boater represents one of Caillebotte’s favourite pastime. Rowing on the Seine river in the suburbs of Paris. The elegantly clad character is sitting on the boat in a close-up framing. Reflections of the water appear in the background. Before this painting used to be owned by the artist’s brother. Then by his family. Recently, the Musée d’Orsay bought it. You can discover it in the Impressionist galleries in the museum.

Come visit the wonderful Orsay museum where you can see all of these paintings, book our tour here.

If you want to book a tour with My Private Paris: click here!

Article written by Laure