At the age of 17 he decided to fend for himself. He found an accommodation which he shared with his friend Henri Mignan, also a painter. He worked in the Louvre’s restoration workshop, and then worked at restoring paintings at the Palace of Versailles. Thus he was able to set some money aside.
Just before he turned twenty he decided, along with his childhood friend, to break their common piggy-bank dedicated to finance a journey; surprised by the amount of money they had managed to set aside in a few months they decided they would be able to make their dream come true: discovering Italy.
After a rather exhausting few weeks’ journey, they finally reached Rome, and then the Italian countryside. While discovering the magnificent landscapes, Charles-François Daubigny reinforced his desire to become a landscape painter. For several months they travelled through the countryside, spent time in the Italian museums and worked relentlessly. Then the time to return arrived as the kitty had almost totally disappeared. They backpacked for two months back to Paris. During their walk back, Daubigny discovered new landscapes, more specifically mountains.
Back in Paris Charles-François Daubigny managed to live pretty well, thanks to the numerous illustrations he had made for newspapers, and even in books including textbooks. With his brother-in-law and his friend Victor Geoffroy-Dechaume, silversmith and sculptor, they created a kind of association and pooled their resources.