Just a short drive out of Paris is the small town of Barbizon. A town epitomized by the pre-impressionist painters that went to to practice the art of painting outdoors, with natural light. Artists like Jean François Millet, Jean-Baptiste-Camille Corot moved there in the 19th century when this place was just inhabited by peasants and farmers. They has *gasp* the « audacity » to paint those peasants doing their daily work, which before that time was considered an unworthy subject for art. A lot has changed since! Barbizon sits on the edge of the forest Fontainbleau, and is a great place to lunch, shop for art, meander, and then stroll in the forest. Although the town has become quite frequented by tourists, it still remains fertile territory for artists, antiquaries and the like.
We had lunch at the restaurant La Bohème charming French fare with a lovely enclosed terrace for outdoor dining that is canopied by trees and foliage abundant in flowers! There was a tree in full blossom that was losing it’s tiny purple petals and they fell down upon the tables and chairs like the most lovely pink rain I have never seen!
Just along the forest you can oooh and aaah over the amazing housing that are snuggled against the foliage. For the Paris habitant that I am, I am truly amazed by the spacious lawns and gardens that are juxtaposed to these lovely homes. It’s funny, because I did grow up in a place where the lawn was mostly an institution (the USA) and where we had a front lawn and a back lawn (mowing the grass was a chore let me tell you!). But these immaculate, charming manicured lawn made me swoon just a little.
Enjoy Barbizon, it’s free to stroll around town, and it’s a breath of fresh air from Paris!