Valley of the painters
Rocher des Fileuses à CrozantCrozant Rocher Fileuse Ag 2018 1.jpg 1024px
©Crozant Rocher Fileuse à Crozant

Impressionist discoveries

If there is a place in Creuse that impresses, it is the Vallée des Peintres: a breathtaking landscape, a place of a thousand colors and above all steeped in history, that of the Impressionist painters. Claude Monet, Armand Guillaumin, Picabia and many others were attracted to this Creuse Valley, a unique setting.

A place that impresses

In the 19th century and until the eve of World War II, the Creuse Valley attracts many painters who find on site landscapes with ideal proportions. Impressionists also make the trip to Crozant. Thus was born the School of Crozant which will unjustly fall into oblivion. Let’s go in the footsteps of artists as illustrious as Monet, Guillaumin and Picabia.

Leaving their studio to paint outdoors, this is what some painters of the nineteenth century were thinking. From 1830, they go to plant their easels in the Creuse Valley, attracted by a traditional countryside that smells good farm and where at the edge of rivers turn the wheels of mills. After the so-called “academic” painters paved the way, settling in Crozant, Gargilesse or Fresselines, came the turn of the impressionists. Among the great ones who make the School of Crozant, Claude Monet paints in Fresselines his very first series that he dedicates to the confluence of the two Creuse, the big and the small. Francis Picabia him tries with the Sedelle.


But what about today?

In Crozant, the remains of theold fortress have been “crystallized” and the site has become a must-see to visit. The most beautiful panorama is the one you get from the Rocher des Fileuses, but you can also walk through the heart of the remains.

Today, you can still often come across artists harnessed to their easels. And to confront nature and painting, a interpretation trail “the painters of Crozant” presents privileged viewpoints and reproductions of the most beautiful paintings. This sumptuous walk in the forest and along the Sédelle river takes us to the famous Moulin de la Folie, the Charraud bridge and offers a magnificent view of the ruins.

Returning to the town, which is naturally home to art galleries including the painter’s studio Jean-Marie Laberthonniere, also push the doors of the Hôtel Lépinat, an interpretation center created within the very walls of the former 19th century inn that housed Impressionist painters.


“Passion, patience, it took Christophe Rameix to give a second life to the painters of the Creuse Valley. With two books, he pays tribute to them. Christophe Rameix fell in love with the Creuse when he was a child, during long vacations with the scent of wild grass and damp undergrowth spent at his grandfather’s house in the Creuse. Having become an art dealer, he fell in love with the painters of the Creuse and then embarked on a long survey. He discovered that at least 500 painters had assiduously frequented the banks of the Creuse. He knows all the painted sites, even if the environment has changed a lot. The pink heather fields on the rocky hillsides have given way to dark forests that would not have pleased the artists at all. Christophe assures him: they didn’t come this far to find themselves painting spinach dishes as they say in the vernacular.”

Impressionism and Post-Impressionism in the Creuse Valley. Christian Pirot Editor. 2012. The School of Crozant. Painters of the Creuse and Gargilesse, 1850-1950. Éditions Lucien Souny. 1991.

Christophe Rameix - The School is not finished