The landscape of the creuse valley is breathtaking. It is easy to see why the Impressionist painters, notably Claude Monet, came here to, well, paint! And now it’s called the Valley of the Painters In Monet’s Footsteps is a circular walk, taking you around the forested banks of the Creuse river. Here Monet painted a series of 24 paintings which he later exhibited in Paris.
Fresselines in the Valley of The Painters
The walk starts in the village of Fresseline, a pretty, historic village which was a hub for creatives in the 19th century. Here you can also visit the the Espace Monet-Rollinat with the story of how Monet came to be in Fresselines and art exhibitions throughout the year. And a good option for lunch? It’s great to take a picnic as you are sure to find the perfect spot on the river bank and if you don’t want to make your own, if you are staying at La Prairie Étoilée we can make one for you! Check out you al fresco lunch options here There’s a lovely little restaurant in the village, Les Artistes du Confluent, where you can get a traditional lunch. Head for nearby Crozant for a really special lunch at L’Auberge de la Valée; the Michelin Guide recommends it!
To walk in Monet’s Footsteps
The Valley of the painters – Monet’s footsteps walk is a great to do at all times of year – even on the hottest days because it’s nice and shaded by the tall trees. There is a slope down to the river and then an ascent back up to the village but other than that the walk is flat with a bridge or stepping stones (depending on if you dare and the height of the river!) to cross mid way. It’s just 3.2 km in length and takes about an hour if you don’t stop to linger – category Easy!
The walk winds around the river with the sound of the running river and forest all around. Along the route you will pass signs marking the very spot where Claude Monet stood to paint. It’s facinating to compare the views of then and now and they punctuate the walk perfectly. Take a while to pause. You will find great spots to sit and read for a while, perhaps with your feet dangling in the water. Other places are perfect for a bit of stone skimming in the river – who will get the most bounces?
Click below for more information and route. You will also find the details for a more difficult 6.5 km walk.
For more places to visit in the stunning Creuse Valley and beyond, download our free guide to secret France here