For fans of impressionist painter Claude Monet, making a trip to his house and garden can be like a dream come true. Many garden enthusiasts and artists also make this pilgrimage. The house and garden are located in the village of Giverny on the border between Normandy and Ile-de-France and is about 80 km northwest of Paris. Opening hours: daily from 9.30 am to 6.00 pm, except Monday. From April 1st. to November 1st.
Claude Monet’s Garden.
Entrance to the garden is from the northeast corner, near the house. Most footpaths are closed to the public to preserve the plants and flowers. The main footpath runs along the garden wall and there are a few benches to sit on and take in the view. This part of the garden has small lawns surrounded by flowerbeds with a great variety of flowering plants. Here you will also find a small orchard and the pathway with climbing roses that leads directly to the main house. And it’s from this vantage point you realize that this is where Monet must have painted some of his paintings showing the house and garden.
From the southeast corner of the garden a pedestrian tunnel leads to another distinctly different part of garden; the water garden. As you ascend the stairs the air feels cooler as a result of shade from large trees. Again a main pathway leads through the perimeter of the garden along a small stream with tall bamboo. Suddenly you find yourself at the edge of the famous water lily pond. It is like walking into an impressionist painting because it’s all there; the Japanese bridge, the water lilies and the weeping willow's reflections on the waters surface. Strolling along the pond there is a strange feeling of having visited before and in a way we have, through the many paintings of The Painter of Light; Claude Monet.
Claude Monet’s House.
The pink and green house is filled with many original Japanese woodblock prints, so many in fact, they hang side by side from floor to ceiling. It is possible to walk through all the rooms including the kitchen and a sunken living room that holds reproductions of some of his most famous paintings. Throughout the house you will also find old black and white photographs of the artist and his family and friends, many of them with the famous garden as a backdrop.
A few tips for visitors. Getting there early is essential if you want to beat the crowds. Remember to bring your camera and perhaps a hat for hot summer days. Artists can obtain a permit to enter on Mondays where the gardens are closed to the general public. Photography inside Monet’s house is not allowed.
I never get tired of painting the waterlilies, trees and their reflections in the water. Below are a few of my paintings inspired from Monet's garden.
Original paintings and prints on canvas and paper are available from my shop, click here to see the selection.