Impressionist painter Claude Monet chose Vernon, a small village in the country outside of Paris, as his residence in 1883. Here at his home, Giverny, the gardens would become the subject of many of his great works. And you can visit these gardens today, planting yourself in essence in the middle of a Monet masterpiece. This experience is one to enjoy if you are anywhere near the area.
We first scheduled our trip to Paris in the spring and put a visit to Monet’s house high on our priority list. When we had to postpone until October, we considered skipping this, as I thought maybe the flowers would not be worth noting. Thankfully, we went anyway, and the garden couldn’t have been more beautiful, with all the fall colors of blooms. Go whenever you can. You won’t be disappointed!
Your visit will include three parts of Monet’s home: the gardens, the water garden, and the home.
Tour Monet’s Personal Gardens
From the time Monet and his family moved into this place, he redesigned and updated the gardens. He employed a full-time gardener to assure the beauty of this sprawling wonderland. And of course, he painted here, exploring the light and reflection at all times of the day, through the seasons. He created and lived in his own palette. The yellows, purples, and reds of fall filled the garden on the day we visited.
Enjoy the Water Garden
Monet took such pride in his water garden, with its willows, maple trees, and bamboo, that he often received guests here. In his later life, he worked on the massive paintings of this garden, which are now displayed at the L’Orangerie in Paris, near the Louvre.
When asked why he filled the pond with lilies, Monet replied: “I love water, but I also love flowers. That’s why, once the pond was filled with water, I thought of embellishing it with flowers. I just took a catalogue and chose at random, that’s all.”
See the House Where the Monet Family Lived
Here Monet lived for 43 years until his death in 1926. His family included eight children, so you can imagine how full of life this home was for so long. Today several of the rooms are renovated with period furniture and colors to show how it looked when Monet lived here. Reproductions of his paintings are found throughout the house.
Giverny is an easy ride from Paris by train to Vernon. Once in the village, a shuttle bus drives you to Giverny. Be sure to note the times that the bus returns to pick you up in Giverny so you can get back to the train station on time. Giverny is open from March into the fall each year. Check the website for specific dates.
How about you? Have you been to Giverny?
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