Tucked away on the edge of the vast Fontainebleau Forest, the charming village of Barbizon is a retreat adopted since the 19th century by landscape painters and well-to-do city-dwellers alike. Among the most famous were Jean-Francois Millet and Theodore Rousseau.

Some of the painters of the Barbizon school paved the way to Impressionism, many of whose adherents repeatedly returned to the Fontainebleau area for inspiration. Famous writers like George Sands and literary figures such as the Goncourt brothers were not long in following their foot steps.

This tour of Barbizon is usually paired with either a tour of the chateau and park of Fontainebleau or the nearby Chateau de Courances, built in pure Louis XIII style, and graced with a park designed by Andre Le Notre. Our tour visits the Barbizon School Museum and its annex, Rousseau’s home and atelier. It finishes with a stop for coffee at the White Horse Inn in Chailly-en-Bieres, where impressionists Renoir, Monet and Sisley used to quarter. For Sisley devotees, a visit to the nearby village of Moret-sur-Loing, his last home, is also an option.