Gustave Caillebotte. He's one of the Impressionists, but not one that most people know. I'm not even sure I remember exactly how I became familiar with his work.
Before this trip, though, I knew that he had lived in and around Paris for most of his short life. I have always wanted to visit some of the towns he had lived in, see what they were like. If you're lucky, it's those unexpected, out-of-the-way places that give you the best insights and memories.
So I started surfing the spider web. Originally I wanted to go to Petit-Gennevilliers, a town on the Seine where he lived the last part of his life, painting and designing boats. But somehow I found out that there was an exhibition of his work in Yerres, where his father had a property alongside the river when Gustave was young.
It was in Yerres that he had started to draw and paint, and many of his early works were set there. That clinched any idea of skipping Paris on this trip. The chance to see more than forty of Caillebotte's paintings where they were painted? Priceless.
And it was a memorable, priceless adventure. We went twenty minutes south out of Paris to Zone Four on the RER. However, we didn't even know exactly where we were going once we got off the train. Luckily, there were signs with arrows. We had quite a nice walk through what was once a small French town and is now also a suburb.
Eventually, we arrived at Parc Caillebotte. The town had purchased the property in 1973 and has been restoring it and the original buildings inside ever since. The exhibit was fantastic and then we took a walk around the park, checking out the Yerres River, the vegetable garden, and the outbuildings, all of which were painted by Caillebotte, and which we had just seen.
More than enough reason to start the trip in Paris.