9 places in the footsteps of famous people: a unique and captivating way to discover the richness of French heritage.
How about a cultural and historical walk? What if you followed in the footsteps of famous people by going back in their history through the alleys, buildings, and museums in their honor?
What if you discovered their art and personality through their favorite places, secret landmarks, or inspiration? What if you entered the houses or between the walls that saw them grow up or die?
Wouldn’t this be a fun and exhilarating way to discover our country and its emblematic figures?
Today we take you to 9 places in the footsteps of famous people.
9 Places In The Footsteps Of Famous People in France
1. Jouy-en-Josas – Yvelines
What do Victor Hugo, Léon Blum, Oberkampf and Patrick Modiano have in common? Despite having big names in French history, these famous people have left a part of their lives in Jouy-en-Josas.
For example, the town is home to the House of the Stone Bridge: Oberkampf’s first workshop and living place. It thus saw the birth of the famous Toile de Jouy and the most famous printed canvas factory in Europe.
The sublime Bièvre Valley, its bucolic setting, its emerald hills, and its calm have also been the stronghold of artists in search of serenity.
During your visit, you will be able to pass through the doors of the houses of Patrick Modiano, a famous writer, screenwriter, and the literary and political couple Blum and Victor Hugo.
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2. Montmartre – Paris
Go to the most magical place in famous people’s footsteps: Montmartre. The bohemian district has always lived to the rhythm of writers, painters, actors, singers, and poets.
While strolling through the heart of Montmartre, discover, for example, the tiny house “Au Lapin D’Argile”: the headquarters of many artists such as Verlaine, Renoir, Modigliani, Apollinaire, and Picasso.
Eat a bite to eat at “La Bonne Franquette” alongside Degas, Renoir, Monet, Cézanne, Sisley, Toulouse-Lautrec or Van Gogh.
Take a walk around the Du Tertre, past its alleyways with easels and sketches that have seen all the Parisian artists pass by. Admire the Picasso mansion and workshop, Dalida’s mansion, or Renoir’s atelier.
Reach the highlight of your walk: The Moulin Rouge. The most famous cabaret in the world has welcomed Maurice Chevalier, Jean Gabin, Ella Fitzgerald, Liza Minelli, Frank Sinatra, Elton John, Yves Montand, and Édith Piaf.
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3. Collioure – Pyrénées-Orientales
The Path of Fauvism traced in the heart of the “jewel of the Côte Vermeille” is divided into twenty stages.
They invite you to follow in the footsteps of the painters Matisse and Derain, fathers of the pictorial Collioure at the beginning of the twentieth century.
Climb the flowery streets, let your shadow run over the pastel facades, and admire the reproductions of seeded paintings along the way.
The Chemin du Fauvism is one of the best ways to discover this village nestled between its bell tower and its castle, turned towards the mountain of stepped vineyards and dotted with olive and fig trees.
In this place, in the footsteps of famous people, you can easily understand why Collioure was a revelation for both painters.
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4. Marseille – Bouches-du-Rhône
Experience Provence in the footsteps of the most emblematic character. We are, of course, talking about Marcel Pagnol.
Following the Path of Marcel Pagnol, you discover the cemetery where he rests. A refreshment bar was also discovered where he would let off steam during the hot hours. The hills that served as sets for his films such as Manon des Sources and La Gloire de mon père.
Even stop at the Grosibou cave, where Marcel Pagnol spent many hours playing. Also, pass in front of the “Pascaline,” the villa where the writer took refuge to compose his works.
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5. Mills – Allier
Here you’ll find the most glamorous and feminist of our sites in the footsteps of famous people. Did you know? It was in Moulins that Gabrielle became… Coco Chanel. Take a stroll in the heart of the city to follow in this icon’s footsteps.
Discover all the institutions that have shaped and punctuated the existence of the fashion designer. The walk takes you to La Maison Grampayre, Coco Chanel’s first successful employer, specializing in silks, lace, and ribbons.
Then you pass by the Covered Market, where her aunt exhibited her goods. You stop at the terrace of the Grand Café, an Art Nouveau style brasserie where the great seamstress was first recruited as a second-class singer.
Finally, you walk through the Villars neighborhood, the former bandstand, and Les Palets d’Or: all places familiar to Coco Chanel.
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6. Compiègne – Oise
Compiègne is one of the places where famous people have walked, but it’s not the only one. This land of princes, kings, and emperors invites you to a Napoleonic getaway.
The town is home to one of the most beautiful neo-classical palaces, witness to the glory of Napoleon III.
His visit plunges you directly into the intimacy of the Sovereign. Extend your journey by discovering the museums of the Second Empire, the Historical Figurine, or Empress Eugenie.
Relive the Napoleonic era through paintings, sculptures, luxurious furniture, and the Battle of Waterloo reconstruction.
Then, enjoy a royal walk in the green shade. Stroll through the forest of Compiègne, the favorite hunting ground of our crowned head.
Finally, enter the Imperial Theatre: an exceptional place that testifies to the splendor Napoleon III wanted to offer his guests. Besides, this architectural and acoustic jewel hosts many events and concerts.
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7. Giverny – Normandy
Monet had a gift for painting and gardening. Precisely, Giverny offered him the ideal place to exercise his talents.
The illustrious painter put his suitcases in one of his houses and established an incredible garden workshop.
You enter a universe made of flowers and colorful canvases by visiting this family home. The alleys are covered with nasturtiums, the floors strewn with groves, the deliciously pruned trees, and the orchards swollen with fruit.
Soft light filters through the foliage and guides you to the Japanese garden, and its pond spanned by a traditional bridge. You then become aware of Monet’s incredible fascination with water and its inverted reflections.
Overlooking the garden, the Atelier finishes opening you to the intimacy of the great impressionist master.
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8. Aix-en-Provence – Bouches-du-Rhône
Welcome to the land of Cézanne. Here, the soul of this unbeatable figure of Post-Impressionism hovers relentlessly. A walk connects all the important places in his life.
There are quiet streets in the Mazarin district and delicate curves on the Sainte-Victoire mountain. Following in the footsteps of famous places, this place follows ins and bewitches.
Paul Cézanne has always had an intimate relationship with his Aix country.
This fierce and solitary artist is immortalized by the five marked paths to the quarries of Bibémus, the Pont des Trois Sautets and the Atelier des Lauves, hoisted on the hill of Lauves.
Easels, palettes, still life model objects, watercolors: Cézanne could emerge from behind the walls; you wouldn’t be surprised.
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9. Rouen – Seine-Maritime
Among our places in the footsteps of famous people, this one lets you follow in the footsteps of favorite authors.
Rouen, the land of literature, has dedicated many streets, museums, and attractions to the illustrious names that have spent their lives there.
Explore Corneille’s world, for example, by visiting his birthplace, his second home, where he found refuge in the peace, and the reconstruction of his study.
Discover also places that pay tribute to Flaubert, such as his Museum, the room where he was born, and the Literary Hotel dedicated to his work.
The Pavillon Flaubert was the residence where the writer contemplated the Seine or received his friends such as Maupassant and George Sand.
Finally, have breakfast in the same place as Simone de Beauvoir: at Café Le Métropole. And why not even eat at Brasserie Paul in his company’s shade?