Monday, June 22, 2015

Madam Baudy's Hotel

by Carol

Ancien Hotel Baudy

In the center of the town of Giverny, France is a unique restaurant. On one side of the road, blue umbrella tables beckon you into a shaded outdoor space overlooking the hills of Normandy. On the other is a pink stucco and decorative brick building, fronted with bright red storefront windows and doors. It is a gathering place for residents and tourists alike, and one of my favorite memories from my trip last year was wandering down there in the evenings for wine and crepes and conversation. In such a small town, it became ours. Don't you love that point in a vacation when a place becomes your own?

But the best part of the "Ancien Hotel Baudy" is its history! As we are all aware, Claude Monet lived in Giverny. He was visited one summer by the artist Willard Metcalf, who wanted to learn about impressionism. Metcalf fell in love with Giverny, and returned home reporting on its beauty. As America fell in love with impressionism, many artists traveled to its home in Giverny for study and creativity. Madame Baudy soon turned her cafe into "The Hotel of The American Artists." She built an atelier in 1887 where they could work, and her walls and garden alcoves became galleries showcasing the beautiful landscapes of Normandy, nudes painted with young Parisian models, sculpture and abstracts. Two winter studios, warmed by stoves were added in 1891. Just look at this list of frequently returning artists - Sargent, Rodin, Sisley, Renoir, Pissarro, Cezanne and many Americans including Cassatt, Hart, Perry and numerous others.

Original Atelier

The studio/atelier has been preserved behind the hotel, as have the gardens. Paintings and old photographs from the time are everywhere and the garden paths are extensive enough that you can find yourself alone (and if you are a bit insane like "moi" - imagining yourself living in a different era). Even today there are painting classes going on outside.

Not a fancy post today - I just wanted to share some love of place as inspiration. Sigh.....


ju-north said...

What a wonderful place! You conveyed the essence and atmosphere beautifully!

Peggy said...

I loved today's post. I visited Giverney but didn't go into the town..just Monet's gardens. I wish I could have seen this lovely hotel.

Dotti said...

oh, my goodness! This has really lit the fire of my wanderer's lust. I'll be sharing this with my daughter since we'll be visiting Giverny in another 10 days or so and for me, this is one of the most anticipated stops on our list. Great memories, Carol!

kimmanleyort said...

A wonderful post, Carol. I love the way you weaved your story with the story of this hotel, through words and pictures. I just visited France for the first time, but didn't get to Giverny. I"m a big fan of the Impressionist painters.

terriporter said...

Visiting Giverny is a dream of my husband's who is a huge fan of Impressionist art, and a dream of mine, having learned to love it through him. Your photos make me want to visit there even more than I did before! Such an interesting story and beautifully told and illustrated. That studio with the wall and ceiling of windows! What a wonderful place to create art! I'm sure you must have taken thousands of photos. Thanks for sharing some of them with us.

Anonymous said...

Lovely post Carol, both images and words. Like others here I love impressionism and adore places like this with resonant history. When I visited France I enjoyed many places like this so you brought back happy memories.

kelly said...

what an absolutely inspiration place to visit! love the history of this place and enjoyed hearing how to made it your own. :)

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