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Arts + Lifestyle

Paris In The Spring: Celebrating 150 Years Of Impressionism

As the spring blossom arrives in Jardin des Tuileries, a series of compelling exhibitions celebrate 150 years since Impressionism began in Paris.

The movement was focused on embracing nature, and began with a pioneering exhibition held at 35 Boulevard des Capucines in 1874. Influential artists including Claude Monet, Camille Pissaro and Berthe Morisot came together in defiance of the restrictive Académie des Beaux-Arts, to redefine modern art.

The focus of any visit to Paris this spring should be the luminous exhibition Paris 1874 Inventing impressionism at Musée d’Orsay, where Monet’s evocative painting Impression, Soleil Levant, 1872 – which gave the movement its name – is on display. The virtuosity of his brushwork alone is worth travelling to see. Whilst there, don’t miss Le Déjeuner sur l’herbe, 1863 by Édouard Manet – you may remember it as the painting in front of which Blair Waldorf met Prince Louis in an iconic Gossip Girl scene.


Claude Monet (1840-1926), Impression, Soleil Levant, 1872, Paris © Musée Marmottan Monet / Studio Christian Baraja SLB

Claude Monet (1840-1926), Impression, Soleil Levant, 1872, Paris © Musée Marmottan Monet / Studio Christian Baraja SLB

From here, walk over La Seine and stop for lunch in a botanical courtyard, at Jardin d’Hiver inside Hôtel de Crillon. Nearby, La Galerie Dior has a thought-provoking exhibition focusing on the relationship between Dior and influential women artists, from Yuriko Takagi to Eva Jospin and Claude Lalanne, in which we’re reminded of the duality of Monsieur Dior as both a collector and designer. 


Eva Jospin at La Galerie Dior. Photograph by Adrien Dirand

Eva Jospin at La Galerie Dior. Photograph by Adrien Dirand

End your day with an early dinner at chic new restaurant, Bar des Prés in Matignon; on a spring evening, sit outside and watch the wisteria on handsome surrounding buildings as it blows in the wind. The restaurant is the newest concept from innovative French chef, Cyril Lignac, and is known for exquisite Japanese dishes. 

The following morning, head to Musée de l’Orangerie to see Monet’s Water Lilies – also known as Les Nymphéas. Arrive early and enjoy a peaceful moment, sans crowds, in two serene, elliptical rooms, both purpose built for the arrival of Monet’s extended canvases. The Surrealist André Masson described the space as the, “Sistine Chapel of Impressionism.” A perfect place to say au revoir after a fleeting, but inspiring weekend. 

Where To Stay

Hôtel de Crillon is known for the opulence of its Neoclassical façade. King Louis XV originally commissioned it as a private residence, designed in 1758 by prominent architect Ange-Jacques Gabriel. Rooms and suites are still decorated with exquisite antiques as well as an impressive art collection, and there’s a sculpture by British artist Annie Morris in the foyer. Its Grands Appartements were designed by Karl Lagerfeld and – as with every Rosewood property – the service is exceptional, with a focus on quiet precision and thoughtfulness. Don’t miss the Butterfly Pâtisserie; the mille-feuille is exquisite, and the zest from organic French lemons will be grated onto your madeleine du jour. The hotel is a short walk from Jeu de Paume and Musée de l’Orangerie

Lead image: Hôtel de Crillon. Courtesy of Hôtel de Crillon
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