By Hannah Noye
Even if you aren’t an avid art fan, I would be shocked if you were not familiar with the works of Claude Monet. His famous impressionist artworks, particularly those of the water lilies in his garden can be appreciated by anyone with a love of beauty and nature. In 1883 Monet purchased a house and gardens in the small village of Giverny in the Normandy region of France, and dedicated the rest of his life to cultivating the gardens that inspired his pieces. Amazingly, these gardens are still open today and we will be visiting next year on our newest tour!
If you are familiar with Monet’s works, entering his garden will be like walking into a painting. At every corner there is the potential to see the subject of one of his paintings; to see two dimensional reflections of a garden in 100 year old artworks still before you in all its continuing life and beauty is an overwhelming feeling. To stand in the same enduring garden as Monet is an opportunity to be connected to history, and to enter the mindset of the artist and his process.
Monet’s pink house rises like a spring flower itself from the gardens. This is also open for exploration – in small numbers at a time you can see his art space and living quarters, preserved as they were when he lived and painted there.
The gardens are divided into two main areas, the Clos Normand and the Water Garden.
The Clos Normand is a flower garden of many differing blooms, including tulips, roses, peonies, and more that change with the seasons. The garden is divided into flowerbeds and is bordered by paths and hedges. The Water Garden is probably the more recognizable part of the gardens, the Japanese Bridge, weeping willows, and lily pond being the subject of many paintings. Monet was particularly inspired by the reflections of the sky and trees in the water, and he would often paint the same scene throughout the year to capture the changing of the seasons and its effect on the nature around him.
This magically preserved piece of the past is worthy of a long stroll and the perfect place to sit, ponder and appreciate the garden, as Monet did in capturing its many faces in his work. His love for the garden is what has made it so renowned and allows so many others to see it themselves!
There is of course a wonderful giftshop with prints of his art and other fun souvenirs, and lovely restaurants/cafes in Giverny if you seek refreshments. This is not a day to be missed – whether you enjoy art or not, this is a wonderful spot with much to see. We’ll see you there!