The Mont Saint-Michel – Normandy destination is full of inspiring sites that deserve to be recreated on canvas or paper. You can also photograph them and bring them home with you: everyone is free to enjoy the site in their own way. I’m sure many of you have an artistic soul, so let loose and reveal yourselves!
“I will reassure you right away, I’m neither Cézanne nor Manet but I have a very pleasing hobby, it’s: painting! What I like is to feel the material of the paint (in this case, acrylic for me) under my knife or my brush and to see these spots of colour become the landscape in front of me.”
The village of Saint-Léonard: the village of artists
The first place that comes to mind when I think about painting is undoubtedly the village of Saint-Léonard, on the edge of the bay, located in the commune of Vains. It is the artists’ village, hidden behind its hollyhocks in summer, whose calm and serenity inspires me. What’s more, I’m not the only one to think so, and very often – while you walk around – you’ll come across an artist doing a spot of painting. The priory stands in the heart of this small village just as naturally and simply as the small stone houses that surround it. At the end of its main alley, take a good look at this incredible view that allows you to discover the wonder of wonders: the Mont Saint-Michel.
The lake of Brécey: impressions of my childhood
Personally, I have a long history with this place, as my parents are both from a region that neighbours Brécey, so I know this quiet little town well. It might not be top of your list of sites to visit, and yet, for those seeking tranquillity and authenticity, Brécey is an ideal destination.
When I was little, I used to walk around the water (right next to the municipal swimming pool). I really liked this place because it breathed a certain freshness, but I had never seen its artistic potential. Now that I’m older and wiser, I see this place differently and now enjoy discovering new colours, a surprising aspect of the view or an impressionistic intensity of the sun’s reflections on the water, each time I visit.
Chaulieu and its view: a 360° panorama of the wooded countryside
Why visit Chaulieu, you ask me, little lady? Well, because it is the highest point of the English Channel, with its 368m of altitude, and because its wooden tower offers an incredible panorama of the surrounding countryside. This 360° view allows me to create several types of paintings: the village with its church and the slate roofs of its houses, or the typically Norman wooded countryside, with its hedges that offer a natural rhythm to the work I carry out.
Ducey-les Chéris, poetic paradise
Here, stories are told, works are created, and memories are engraved. Ducey-les Chéris is such a lovely little town, I can’t help but mention it to you. I like to contemplate and sketch the Château de Montgommery and highlight its architectural details (it’s truly an exercise in style to sketch a building like this, as there are so many details). I love to sit by the water’s edge to observe and paint the reflections of the Sélune River flowing under its Old Bridge. I just like to sit myself down here and enjoy the poetry of the place.
La Fosse Arthour and the Mortain waterfalls, land of lights and legends
In these places, full of legends and stories, the lighting changes each day. I can go back every day, sit myself in the same place as the day before, and yet each time I’ll paint something different. I wonder if it’s perhaps the fairies and goblins of the place who move the trees around, adjusting the position of the branches and the orientation of the leaves, as the rays of sunlight that pass through them vary endlessly, offering us landscapes with incredibly beautiful and green variations. I’ve never come across any legendary little creatures here, but now that I think about it, I can’t find my celadon green paint any more … What a strange coincidence …
Saint-Jean-le-Thomas: my favourite seaside village
Without telling you my life story, Saint-Jean-le-Thomas is the village where I spent all my summer holidays from the age of 2 until I was 12 years old. Later, I lived there with my children. This is just to explain the very particular affection I feel for these places. Everywhere in this village is a source of inspiration for an artist: its public garden, its beach, its holiday cabins, its unique view of the bay of the Mount, its mimosas that bloom in winter, its seaside villas and its artists’ houses. Wherever you are, everything inspires creativity. Saint-Jean-le-Thomas has been the residence or holiday village of many creators … And it still is today. I strongly recommend it.
The Mont Saint-Michel and its snake-like meanders
What? I’m hearing through my earpiece that you haven’t seen this wonderful view of Mont Saint-Michel? This snake-like, meandering river, naturally created by a small watercourse that carved out this incredible ripple in the salt-meadow grass? But, of course, this scene is not to be missed, and – like me – you won’t be able to resist sketching it out in charcoal or pencil. This beautiful place can be found in Ardevon, and as I am truly passionate about my beautiful country, I often visit. However, as the weather is sometimes not exactly suited to a long break, sketching pictures, I like to take photographs of it. And like all photos of the bay, the colours are never the same (yes, I said “never”) offering me an immense range of creative possibilities with such a perfectly perfect view!
Avranches, the place to paint !
Avranches, this is MY town ! This is where I was born, where I grew up and where I live now. I’m a real Avranchian, through and through. Proud of my town, where I never tire of finding new places and viewpoints, and where I let improvisation overcome me. Take a seat in the dungeon, in the mediaeval garden or at the top of the tower. Take in your surroundings and draw the architectural and perspective details of the town’s squares and streets. Enjoy the theatrical setting that the panorama of the jardin des plantes generously offers you, straight ahead. There are so many fascinating spots to draw, sketch, pencil or paint that I’ll leave it up to you all to discover them for yourselves.
La Roche Torin at sunset
This is one of the quietest places to admire and be inspired by Mont Saint-Michel. Personally, I often like to go there at night to take in the beautiful colours of the sunset. Yellows, blues, violets and roses blend together in the sky, giving it a very dynamic pictorial quality. This is the perfect chance for amateur photographers to immortalise magnificent pictures of this magical place over which the Mont Saint-Michel proudly reigns, with its unique pyramidal silhouette recognisable across the world.