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Art France Tourism Painting Museum Claude Monet Impressionism Normandy Rouen Hotel

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Impressionist train to carry tourists to Monet's Normandy garden

One of the carriages on the impressionist train SNCF : Christophe Recoura

Art lovers visiting France can now take "impressionist trains" to Claude Monet's former home in Normandy thanks to a service launched by the SNCF rail network this weekend. The carriages are decorated with reproductions of impressionist paintings and photos of architecture from Paris's Musée d'Orsay.

Following the success of its service to Versailles, which is decorated with pictures of the famous château, the state-run rail company has launched a summer-time service to Giverny, site of the house and garden where Monet painted his Water lilies series and many other works, and to the Normandy capital, Rouen.

The interiors of the carriages are decorated with reproductions of works by Monet and his fellow impressionists and photos of the Orsay museum's impressive 19th-century iron-work and other architectural features.

There are three themes: Gardens and water, Paris and industrialisation and local landscapes.

French Tourism and Foreign Affairs Minister Laurent Fabius was present at the service's inauguration at Paris's Gare St Lazare on Saturday morning along with a number of young artists who set up their easels on the platform.

"If the painters used to go to Normandy that's because it was already well served by the railways then," he said, adding that impressionism is an "extraordinary asset" for the region.