Explore Normandy and northwest France
   
Le Choisel is a spacious holiday home ideal for a myriad of different holiday adventures. Pick the theme ​
 French arts and architecture
and use Le Choisel as the central base for your Normandy holiday exploration: 

Discover places that inspired some of the French Impressionists, wander round Christian Dior's home and gardens or the chateau where Leonardo da Vinci spent his last final years; learn about traditional regional pottery or explore enchanting chateaux, classical churches and stunning gardens 

Follow in footsteps of  French Impressionists 

Museum lets you try your hand at throwing pots!

For more than ​​​500years, potters
gathered in the hamlets around
the town of Ger to make 
stoneware pots that supplied
virtually all of western France.
    These pots made it possible

to preserve the cream, butter
and beverages produced by the
region’s rural communities, and
transport them not only in
Normandy and Brittany, but
even as far as the New World!
    At its 19th century peak, this pottery centre had more than 700 potters, making it the most active centre in the region. Today the site is home to the “Musée Régional de la Poterie” (Regional Pottery Museum). 
Visit the potters’ courtyard, master potter’s house, drying room and bakery, see 18th and 19th century tunnel-kilns, and learn about pottery in the region from displays of the museum’s 3,700 items.
    Yet it is not all historic – it is a centre of modern-day ceramics, with a shop selling locally-made pottery and ceramics, plus they have a resident potter who does workshops for visitors to try their hand at making ceramics or throwing a pot on the wheel.
    One of the annual highlights takes place on the last weekend in August with the Night of Fire. On the Saturday in  a field behind the museum, potters from all over France gather to ​construct and fire up 15 temporary hand-built kilns, accompanied by an evening of firey entertainment.
Claude Monet and Camille Pissarro – founding fathers of the great French Impressionist art movement – were two of the first artists to break out of the
studio to actually paint in the
open air. They used nature as
the main subject rather than
the background, and they did
it in Normandy!
    Monet’s work became a
crusade to capture the
changing effects of the
Normandy light on objects, 
hence his habit of painting the
same scene again and again
but in different weather and
lighting conditions. Just look
at the number of times he
depicted Rouen cathedral in
different lights.
    Monet is perhaps best known for his wonderful water lily paintings, which
were painted in the gardens he created in his home at Giverny. He lived there for more than 40 years and in shaping the huge gardens and even bigger lily ponds 

    On the Sunday, the potters have a market in the orchard where a fabulous range of modern pottery is on sale.
    The Regional Pottery Museum is open April to September.

Discover divine designs in
                      Dior's home

(more like lakes than ponds!) he created a series of living
canvases.
    The house and gardens are now kept by the Foundation Claude Monet, and are open to the public every day from late March to the end of October. Monet loved the garden’s long walkways over which he constructed archways leaving you cocooned by colour along with the dappled, dancing light coming through the overhanging foliage. Where the paths do not have archways, there are tall shrubs and trees to echo the enclosed feeling, while at your feet are swathes of vibrant coloured flowers gently nodding in the breeze. Looking down the lengths of flower beds the colours both blend and contrast magnificently with one another, just like dots of colour on a Monet canvas . . . it really feels like you have stepped into one of his paintings!
     Camille Pissarro is probably not as well known as Monet, but was a key figure in French Impressionism. He was also a regular visitor to Lower Normandy, staying with fellow painter Ludovic Piette in his home only a short drive from Le Choisel.
     Piette belonged to a prominent family in the area of Lassay Les Chateaux – he was mayor of the town from 1863-76 – and lived at the farm “Monfoucault”.
     This farm and the surrounding area features in a number of works by Pissarro, including scenes of the farmhouse in winter, a cowgirl with her herd, and harvest at Monfoucault.
     Pissarro’s work not only inspired the Impressionist painters with whom he was working, earning him the nickname of “the Dean of Impressionism” for his sage wisdom, but he also influenced the great Post-impressionist artists Paul Gaugin, Vincent van Gogh and Paul Cezanne.
    Today, visitors can follow a trail about 2km in length that takes in the farm of “Monfoucault”, finding 12 reproductions of paintings done by Pissarro and Piette installed in the actual landscape that inspired their works.    
Christian Dior wrote in his autobiography that his life, his style, owed almost everything to his childhood home "​The Rhumbs". 
   That home is now a museum - the "Musée Christian Dior" -
dedicated to the great designer and filled with collections of his amazing creations.
   The grounds of the house are as beautifully designed as his outfits, with heady scents echoing his range of ​​​perfumes.
    The museum is in Granville, and has stunning views across the Normandy coast. The
gardens are open all year
and are free to enter; the
museum stages two shows
each year and is only open
during the exhibitions.  

See where Leonardo brought the Mona Lisa

When da Vinci accepted ​François I's invitation to live in France as his "first painter" he brought with him 3 of his favourite paintings, including the ​​​​​​Mona Lisa.
   The trio now hang in the Louvre, but the Château du Clos-Lucé in Amboise, where he lived, is ​​open to the public and is only a few hours' drive from Le Choisel.
   To mark the 500th  anniverary of Leonardo's residence here from 1516 until his death in 1519, a host of ​​​special exhibitions and events are planned at the château.

French architecture stands the test of time 

 
Picture gallery
in and around
Le Choisel 
 
 Accommodation at Le Choisel
 Picture gallery in and around Le Choisel 
 Prices and how to book