Review of the 2nd edition

The Festival Normandie Impressionniste 2013 was a great cultural, touristic and economic success, a superb advertisement for the region.

How does this success break down?
1. A large number of visitors:

more than in 2010: 1,794,653 in all. In 2010: 1,000,000 approx.

More museum visits than in 2010:

Top 10

  • MBA in Rouen Eblouissants reflets, 100 chef d'œuvres impressionnistes (28 April – 30 September): 182,368 visitors
  • Musée des Impressionnismes Signac, les couleurs de l’eau (29 March – 2 July): 106,468 visitors
  • MUMA du Havre Pissarro dans les ports (27 April – 29 September): 81,709 visitors MBA de Caen Un été au bord de l’eau – Loisirs et impressionnisme (27 April – 29 September): 77,689 visitors
  • Musée des Impressionnismes, Hiramatsu, le bassin aux nymphéas. Hommage à Monet (13 July – 31 October): 62,310 visitors

Points to note:

  • Rouen received the greatest number of visitors; the MBA's second most popular exhibition.
  • A historic record for Caen.
  • Le Havre exceeded the hoped-for 60,000 visitors.


  • The Cathédrale de Lumière in Rouen: 410,000 visitors
  • Abbaye de Jumièges L’eau et les rêves and Jumièges à ciel ouvert: 64,801 visitors
  • Musée Dior in Granville  Impressions Dior: 47,019 visitors
  • Manoir du Tourp at Omonville la Rogue La conquête de l'Ouest: 39,991 visitors
  • Musée Eugène Boudin at Honfleur La Femme et la mer: 29,288 visitors
2. Broader and greater penetration in the territory
  • The success of the festival can also be measured by its rapport with the territory of Haute and Basse-Normandie. A better distribution than in 2010 and a loyal public. A cultural policy that corresponds to the territories.
  • Entrenchment of Impressionism in Normandy (700 projects vs. 250 in 2010).
  • The largest provincial success with Marseille 2013 (though with a smaller budget).
3. An open and inventive cultural success: 700 projects

- The theme of “Water” worked very well and provided those involved with plenty of ideas.

- Approximately one hundred museums, art centres and galleries mounted exhibitions under the name Normandie Impressionniste. These allowed the public to discover or rediscover quality art collections, whether private or belonging to national or international museums, and to be introduced to contemporary art.

Examples: the FRAC Haute Normandie and FRAC Basse Normandie, the Arthothèque de Caen

- The combination of cultural and festive events attracted not just Normans but also residents from the Ile de France and tourists. The participative territorial approach worked well as it attracted more than 600 cultural and festive projects.

Examples: ‘L’eau et les rêves’ at the Abbaye de Jumièges, the Light Shows at Rouen Cathedral and the Grand Hotel de Cabourg

- The dynamism of the partnership between the RMN and the large Norman museums in terms of loans of works, logistics and the publication of catalogues.

- An ‘open’ project that made possible cultural innovation and unexpected encounters between the public and the artworks: a real collective adventure.

Examples: ‘Le musée éclaté de la Presqu’île de Caen’, ‘Rouen Impressionnée’, Gérard Garouste’s travelling theatre project, ‘La Belle Nivernaise’ with the Opéra de Rouen Haute Normandie….

4. A festival also for the young

- 1000 classes (schools, colleges, high schools) were involved, with a total of 30,000 pupils.

The activities were more numerous, more varied and focused on technical and professional teaching.

Examples: vocational secondary schools in Haute Normandie with IRQUA and MGEN on catering, vocational secondary schools in Basse Normandie on fashion, with a fashion show at Granville, and the Lycée Emile Doucet de Equeurdreville/Cherbourg teaching boat construction with the construction of Monet’s boat-studio.

Visits to the 4 large museums

+ than 41,452 pupils visited the 5 large exhibitions:

- Caen = 9,907 pupils

- Le Havre = 5,593 pupils

- Rouen = 8,875 pupils

- Giverny = 17,077 pupils

Virtual visits:

1800 pupils visited the 5 large exhibitions using the Orange video-conference system in Haute and Basse-Normandie, and 2 German classes

5. Successful public relations

- Excellent press coverage

The festival was covered by some 6200 very positive press articles (regional, national, international and artistic)

In 2010: 900 articles

Heavy advertising at Gare Saint Lazare in partnership with CRT Normandie, the Haute Normandie region and others brought the Festival Normandie Impressionniste and the Armada to wide public attention.

86% of museum visitors had learned of the “NI” exhibition before they visited the museum.

At the instigation of the Comité Régional de Tourisme de Normandie, with very effective support from the offices of Atout France, 15 press points were set up abroad, for example, in Belgium and London.

- A popular website

  • 475,600 visitors since the opening of the site In 2010: 65,906 visitors
  • The site encouraged visits through incorporation of geolocalization for each project
  • Dynamic prompts to site visitors to look at the projects in the surrounding area
  • An attractive window on Impressionism with ‘Histoires d’impressionnisme’, games for children, prizes to be won, newsletters, interviews, videos, and more
6. Dynamic tourism

CRT Normandie, Atout France and the CDT, and the tourist offices in Haute and Basse Normandie involved themselves heavily in the festival.

The Festival Normandie Impressionniste generated a large number of tourist visitors: French, Belgian, German, Spanish, Italian, Japanese and English speakers.

The second edition of the Guide du Routard ‘La Normandie des impressionnistes’ and its applications for smartphone and tablets were free during the festival.

The festival stimulated excellent economic returns, for example:

  • Museum spending: 42.5% of visitors bought cultural products in museum shops (vs. 35% in 2010).
  • Expenditure close to museums, in terms of refreshments and other purchases, was equal to or above the expenditure in 2010.
  • Sales of Impressionist related products in the shops of the Rouen and Seine Valley tourist offices were, overall, higher than 2010.
7. A balanced festival budget

The regional and local administrations and the State (who together provided 82% of the total budget) were heavily involved in the project (the Ministry of Culture and Communications, CREA, the regions of Haute and Basse Normandie, the departments of Seine Maritime and the Eure, the Conseil général du Calvados, the Cities of Rouen, Caen, Le Havre and Fécamp, and all the towns involved). With respect to 2010, the following bodies involved themselves in the 2013 festival: the State through the Ministry of Culture, CG 14, Le Havre and other towns in Basse and Haute Normandie (Bernay, Avranches, Arques la Bataille, Communauté de communes de la région d’Yvetot, Giverny, Condé sur Noireau, Villequier...).

A number of private sector partners (representing 18% of the total budget) were also implicated: EDF, MATMUT, Suez environnement/GDF Suez/Cofély Ineo, Véolia environnement, La Poste, Areva, Orange, Haropa, Renault, Pathé. These partnerships were of varying natures: financial, provision of goods, provision of services.

8. A small but energetic festival team

The festival team numbering 5 people also contributed to the success, with a very dynamic director, festival curator and president of the scientific committee.

In 2010 the festival team numbered 10 people


The Comité Régional de Tourisme de Normandie has produced a quantitative, qualitative and economic evaluation of the festival. An enormous survey was carried out among the visitors (14,000 questionnaires were handed out in 12 museums). The results can be seen on the site of CRT Normandie.

A university study was carried out by Françoise Lucchini, senior lecturer in geography at the University of Rouen, on the perceptions, expectations and feelings of visitors in different places in the festival (large exhibitions, IMEC, etc.). The results are still being studied.