Around the 1850's, the Second Empire has driven the centre of attention towards the southern bank of the Seine estuary where the English fashion of the sea bathing is spreading, turning the city of Trouville into a fashionable holiday spot. The beach scenes, the smart ladies with crinolines are the motif to be painted. In Trouville, a decree of 1857 divided the beach into three districts; men on the right, women on the left and in the centre the mixed baths. Each one was invited to undress in the huts planned for this purpose by the city, the most well-off venturing in the huts into the water.
The softer climate of the Pays d'Auge, its sand, the less brutal waves will attract and lead to the transformation of the coastal villages into seaside resorts: Honfleur, Villerville. The progress of the railroads is the result of this migration of the summer visitors. The Station of Trouville-Deauville is inaugurated in 1863. Trouville is at this time, five hours away from Paris by the railroad.
This movement is a major source of inspiration, for many painters, who are fixing themselves in Calvados during the summer months. Paul Huet (1803-1869) settles in Houlgate, Fauvel farmhouse, Troyon acquires a house in Villers-sur-Mer which he names the Academy of the Landscape, Léon Louis Antoine Riesener (1808-1878) purchases in 1857 in Beuzeval a charming mill, which the company of numerous artists (Berthe Morisot - Madame Édouard Manet - in 1864) transforms into an artistic circle, Daubigny (1846-1886) in Villerville. Giving up the romantic vision of the years 1830, they invent a more natural, more luminous painting, less inclined to effects and more concerned about values.
In the summer of 1865 Gustave Courbet is the guest of the duke de Choiseul in Deauville; he paints numerous portraits among which The countess Károly in a bathing costume.
The painter Louis Alexandre Dubourg does not want to leave his birthplace of Honfleur; in 1869 he splendidly shows the activity of the sea bathing in Honfleur.
Eugene Boudin himself, whose parents are employed on the steamboats of the Co of Le Havre, will ensure the junction between the two banks of the Seine, between the two visions of the landscape. Heavily influenced by the Romanticism of Isabey, educated to the realism by Millet and Troyon, pushed to express the light by Corot and the Dutch Marinistes, he will invent a new pictorial language, which will make the amazement of Baudelaire and will determine the vocation of Monet.
DUFY, also, will make a few stays in Trouville with MARQUET.
The city of HONFLEUR keeps a special place in the pictural art since with the birth of Impressionisme, many painters as BOUDIN, HAMELIN, MONET, COROT, COURBET, SISLEY, RENOIR, ISABEY, PISSARO, BARTHOLD, JONGKIND would paint there and meet at la Ferme Saint-Siméon. The painter par excellence of the holidaymakers was Claude Monet. He developed his artistic identity on the beaches of the Channel coast, drawing on sky and wind, harbors, beaches and cliffs.
Art lovers will have a great time with the many galeries and museums of Calvados that Stendhal was calling the "green ocean".