Claude Monet’s magical gardens in Giverny
When in Paris, I highly recommend that you get on a train, hire a car or do a tour to Monet’s gardens in the quaint village of Giverny . It is a wonderful day trip from Paris or a fantastic place to visit during a road trip around Normandy.
Claude Monet Leaves Paris for the Rural Life of Giverny
Claude Monet together with his second wife and eight children moved to Giverny in 1883. He lived in the same house for 43 years, until his death in 1926. Many of his most famous paintings were painted during his time here. Monet’s magnificent gardens became a major source of artistic inspiration for the artist in his later years.
Monet’s Gardens & his Obsession with Water Lilies
“Water Lilies’ are an extension of my life. Without the water the lilies cannot live, as I am without art.”
― Claude Monet Quotes―
Monet became quite obsessed with his water lilies. He would set up his easel outside and plein-air paint his garden and water-lily pond. In fact, Monet painted more than 250 water lily paintings (also called Nymphéas). Each painting captured the water lilies from a different perspective, at various times of the day and portraying the different tones of color from the changing light and seasons.
The Influence of Japanese Art in His Garden
When Oriental-Eastern culture, philosophies and arts became popular in Europe in the 1850s, Monet became a keen collector of Japanese ukiyo-e prints. He loved the style in these prints so much, that he even designed his garden with Japanese elements. The green bridge over the water-lily pond is evident of this.
Today, his house and gardens are open to the public and are part of the Foundation Claude Monet Museum. When walking around the gardens, you will see the iconic Japanese bridge, the water-lily pond and the elegant weeping willows that were once the subjects of so many of his famous paintings.
“My garden is my most beautiful masterpiece. ”
―Claude Monet Quotes―
Claude Monet was an Avid Gardener
In 1883 Claude Monet rented the house but immediately began designing the front garden, called “Clos Normand.” In 1890, his finances improved and he was able to buy the house and the land.
Three years later, Monet purchased another piece of adjacent land at the back of the property. Here he created a water garden, the “Jardin d’Eau,” with the iconic water lily pond.
Claude Monet was not only a prolific painter but also a serious gardener. When he wasn’t painting, Monet spent a lot of his time designing and working in his garden. He corresponded with horticulturists in the Netherlands, America and Japan. Monet studied plant catalogs and often went to flower shows in the region.
Monet Designed his Gardens Using his Painting Principles
Monet carefully considered where to place every plant and flower in his garden. As with his paintings, Monet had an eye for design. He used the same principles in his gardens that he used for his paintings. He arranged his garden to harmonize the colors, plant heights and ever-changing forms.
In fact, he meticulously worked on this garden for over forty years, experimenting with living color that changed daily and in every season. For Monet, this garden was his sacred haven and source of creative inspiration in his later years.
I work at my garden all the time and with love. What I need most are flowers. Always. My heart is forever in Giverny, perhaps I owe it to the flowers that I became a painter. ”
Quote Claude Monet
As well as growing the native plants and flowers of the region, Monet brought back seeds from his travels abroad. From Italy, he brought back zucchini seeds and Monet was the first person to grown zucchini in Normandy!
Stroll Around Monet’s Gardens
The house is very quaint and is full of old-time charm. In one of the rooms, you will see quite a few original Claude Monet’s artworks. However, the most amazing attraction that brings the masses from near and afar are Monet’s front and back gardens. You will feel like you are walking through a Monet painting while strolling around the beautiful gardens. Monet’s water lilies are still in the pond and it is magical!
Tips For Visiting Monet’s Gardens & House
We visited Monet’s house and gardens off season and it was still very crowded with people. This attraction is a major tourist attraction in France. In fact,more than half a million visitors flock to Monet’s gardens and house every year, and mostly in the summer months.
I therefore recommend that you try to visit as early as possible in the day to avoid the large crowds. Also, in order to enter without waiting in long ticket queues, book online tickets in advance.
For more information check out the official website of Monet’s house and garden
BUT don’t leave Giverny yet… there is more to see!!!
After visiting Monet’s gardens & house, spend some time in the Museum of Impressionism right next door. Here you will learn about the origins of impressionism art, its different schools, the American artists who came to paint here and its influence in the art world.
You can also walk around the museum gardens, which are just as beautiful as Monet’s gardens with colorful beds, aromatic plants, rose bushes and a breathtaking poppy field.
I also recommend walking through the quaint and pretty village of Giverny. Pop into the numerous art galleries dotted throughout the charming streets.
Looking for an organized tour to Giverny from Paris? Check out these fabulous options!
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Giverny is a beautiful village. It is also a great place to stay during a road trip in France. Check out the wonderful accomodation options below:
Going on a Road Trip to Normandy? Check Out My Tips & Trips of Where to Go & What to See!