Established in the Middle Ages in a forest clearing, in spite of the passing years, the village of Ville d’Avray has managed to keep its leafy setting which, along with the ponds, is its main draw today. Charmed by the setting, painter Camille Corot spent many hours by the ponds storing his equipment in a wooden hut located under a weeping willow on the shores of the Vieil Étang (the first of the main ponds).
A number of famous people have lived in Ville d’Avray, including the biologist Jean Rostand (son of writer Edmond Rostand), the violinist Yehudi Menuhin, and novelist, poet and musician Boris Vian. Ville d’Avray also inspired the musician Claude Debussy, who would come here to meet his mistress. It was by the Corot ponds where he composed “Reflets dans l’eau” in 1904.