Essoyes: Renoir’s Summer Home Welcomes Visitors

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Essoyes: Renoir’s Summer Home Welcomes Visitors
Just two and a half hours away from Paris there is a lovely little village in southern Champagne where Pierre Auguste Renoir spent many happy summers with his family. The village, Essoyes (Ess-wah), situated between Troyes and Dijon, is very near the Burgundian border. It was the birthplace and childhood home of Renoir’s wife, Aline Charigot. “Essoyes, where my mother was born, has remained more or less unspoiled. There is no other place like it in the whole wide world. There I spent the best years of my childhood,”  Jean Renoir wrote in his memoir Renoir, My Father in 1962. Renoir, My Father © Goodreads Happily his words remain true to this day. Today the Renoir home, beautifully restored and furnished much as it would have been when the Renoirs were spending their summers there, is open to the public; and during the summer special events for people of all ages are organized by the commune. There are art exhibitions, old-fashioned games for kids to play with, and for adults the chance to sample and enjoy local champagnes. © S. Bordier A small but excellent interpretive center in the village square next to the mairie tells the story of the Renoir family in this village. (It is best to start one’s visit here.) After viewing the displays and watching a short film (which is available in both French and English), a stroll through the village leads to the family home and garden, and the artist’s studio. A few steps more and visitors can pay their respects to the family in the cemetery where the painter, his wife, and all three of their sons are buried. ©S. Bordier
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Lead photo credit : ©S. Bordier

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Janet Hulstrand is a freelance writer, editor and teacher who divides her time between France and the U.S. She is the author of "Demystifying the French: How to Love Them, and Make Them Love You," and she writes frequently on France for a variety of publications, including her blog, Writing from the Heart, Reading for the Road. She teaches “Paris: A Literary Adventure” for the education abroad program of Queens College of the City University of New York; classes at Politics & Prose bookstore in Washington D.C.; and Writing from the Heart workshop/retreats in Essoyes, a beautiful little village in the Champagne region (l’Aube).