Le Pays des Impressionnistes boasts a rich history in sailing and boating. Nowhere is that heritage better preserved than through the initiatives of the Association Sequana Chatou.
Sequana is a cultural association established in 1990 and run by volunteers with the objective of protecting, restoring and developing the nautical heritage of Île-de-France. It has a particular emphasis on the golden age of boating on the Seine at the end of the 19th century.
In Gallo-Roman times, Sequana was the Goddess of the river Seine, and her name means the fast-flowing one.
The Association has its boatyard next to the Maison Fournaise on Île des Impressionnistes.
In addition to their restoration work, the friendly and passionate members offer river cruises along the banks of the Seine where the Impressionists painted, and participate in river activities that keep the heritage of rowing, sailing, and recreational boating alive.
With straw hat and striped shirt, the captain invites you aboard Le Dénicheur, an electric drive boat, to travel from Maison Fournaise to the locks at Bougival. It has just enough battery power for the one-hour return journey. The cruises take place every weekend afternoon from May to October.
Cruise or not, weekend or not, you should not hesitate to peek inside the workshop and, language permitting, inquire about recent restorations.
We were fortunate to have a personal guided tour of the workshop in English. Don’t forget to leave a donation as you leave!
The Sequana Association donated its original boat collection to the city of Chatou and the Musée Fournaise in 2011.
Its collection consists of an exact replicas Roast Beef, one of the yachts designed and built in 1892 by the Impressionist painter Gustave Caillebotte; Nymphée, a replica of Monotype de Chatou 1899; Suzanne, a steam launch from 1882, equipped with its original machine, and various racing sculls built by Alphonse Fournaise and his son.
Unfortunately, as of writing this story, the City of Chatou has refused to renew the agreement for use of the workshop, the Gare d’Eau. It has served notice to vacate the premises by April 2015, presumably for the purpose of developing the surrounding area.
The Association has vowed to fight the order, but it would be wise to check with their website or at Musée Fournaise before visiting.
Association Sequana Chatou
La Gare d’Eau, 2 quai Philippe Wattier Île des Impressionnistes, 78400 CHATOU
+33 1 75 93 08 25
May – Oct: Sat and Sun – 2.30pm/3.30pm/4.30pm/5.30pm
RER line A1 from Paris to Rueil-Malmaison (about 20 minutes). Ile des Impressionnistes is then a 5-minute walk straight in the direction of Chatou.
Association Sequana Chatou