Discovering the birthplace of Impressionism during a visit to Normandy

So this is where it all began. One of the greatest and most popular movements in art started here among the half-timbered houses and by the picturesque harbour of Honfleur, when a teenage Claude Monet was invited by local artist Eugene Roudin to come and paint landscapes out of the studio, ‘en plein air.’

As a passionate fan of Impressionism, my visit to the Normandy coastal town was something of a pilgrimage and true enough, I could see straight away that there was enough colour and light, water and reflection, not to mention gorgeous medieval architecture, to inspire Claude and the other artists who flocked here from Paris in the mid-19th century to form an ‘ecole art’ from which the movement emerged.

Of course, the tiny, winding streets and alleys, and the scores of pavement cafes, not to mention the timber bell tower of the church

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