Champagnes and Canvases

  • © Centre Renoir

    © Centre Renoir

  • © Sylvain Bordier

    © Sylvain Bordier

  • © Sylvain Bordier

    © Sylvain Bordier

  • © Bridgeman Images

    © Bridgeman Images

Champagnes and Canvases essoyes fr

Just beyond Troyes, the Champagne vineyards resurface along the ' Côte des Bar', a pretty area of rolling hillsides covered in vines and picturesque stone villages. One of these was the home of a young lady called Aline CHARIGOT who, while working in Paris, met the not-yet-famous painter Auguste RENOIR. Aline represented the epitome of female beauty for the artist, with her rosy cheeks and round curves, and she soon became his model, and later his wife in spite of being Renoir's junior by 18 years. Aline features in many of Renoir's paintings, such as the well-known boating luncheon party, ‘Déjeuner des Canotiers’.

Renoir was immediately drawn to the simplicity of village life in Essoyes and the peace and beauty of the landscapes. The couple bought a house there returned every summer to unwind and relax. Renoir later had a studio built at the bottom of the garden where he could paint in peace and quiet, having three young sons and plenty of visitors in the house. The artist found both the inspiration and models he needed for his work in Essoyes, with Aline’s cousin, Gabrielle Renard, becoming both his favourite model and the nanny of his second son Jean.

Visitors to Essoyes can discover more about the painter and his family at the Renoir Cultural Centre, through a film (available in English) and a series of exhibitions and displays. From the centre, a sign-posted walk through the village takes you past the studios of modern-day artists to the former studio of the great master himself. Access is via a flower garden inspired by Renoir’s paintings.

Since the same vocabulary is often used to describe great paintings and great wines, the Renoir Centre has teamed up with a team of sommeliers, oenologists  and  wine experts to taste a number of local champagnes and to associate each one with one of Renoir's works. The result is a collection of 10 exceptional champagnes paired with 10 works of art. This unique exhibition, 'The Champagnes of Renoir'  will be on show at the Renoir Centre from June to August 2015 with tastings of the champagnes available.




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