Monday, May 11, 2015

Channeling Monet In Giverny

It is probably one of the most peaceful and enchanting places I've visited to date. Tucked away in a tranquil corner of Haute Normandie, the village of Giverny, France was once home to Impressionist artist Claude Monet. It was from here that he drew his inspiration the gardens and ponds made famous through his paintings. And all it took was a single walk through the gardens and around the lily pond depicted in his paintings to understand where his inspiration came from.

Born in Paris in 1840, Claude Monet began painting as a teenager living in the Normandy coastal town of Le Havre. Following military service in Algeria, Monet returns to France where he continues painting and befriends his fellow artists including Pierre-Auguste Renior and Pablo Picasso. His work slowly gains a following and he begins to exhibit and sell his artwork throughout Europe. In 1890 he moves to the town of Giverny which he would use as a home base until his death in 1926. Monet traveled throughout Europe but found much of his inspiration right in his own backyard.

Today visitors to Giverny can tour Monet's house and walk through the numerous gardens which fans of Monet will immediately recognize from his paintings. Walking through the gardens was truly like experiencing a deja vu since it felt as though I was walking through his paintings. With eight children, Monet's green shuttered, pink stucco house was clearly one that was designed to be lived in and that is reflected as you walk through the warren of rooms that his family called home. The large windows of his bedroom offer sweeping views of the gardens below while the kitchen and dining room--my favorite two rooms in the house---are brightly colored and exude a warm and welcoming lived in feeling. It is easy to imagine family and friends gathering in these rooms to share food and ideas. But a visit to Giverny is really about seeing the gardens. Immediately surrounding the house lies the Clos Normand, which is comprised of fruit trees, boxwood hedges and row upon row of brightly blooming flowers. With each look you can see yet another one of Monet's palates reflected in the landscape.

The real star of the show, however, is the water lily ponds and surrounding gardens. While the Clos Nomand is filled with brightly colored blooms, the water garden, across the street tucked away from the house is a pastel dream. The garden has a distinctively Japanese feel with bamboo, peonies, ginkos bibola, Japanese maple trees and a wisteria covered green bridge framing the famed lily pond. This garden is truly enchanting. The flowers fragranced the air without over powering it and a chorus of frogs serenaded visitors from their lily pad filled pond. And even with a good number of visitors sharing the pathways on the day of my visit, the garden was peaceful and it was possible find your own quiet little nook. It is so easy to see how Monet found inspiration there and simply being there inspired me to want to both garden and to paint.

And while you are in Giverny, visit the neighboring Musee des Impressionnismes (Impressionist Museum). This small but well laid out museum features temporary Impressionist exhibits from Paris' Musee d'Orsay. From now through the middle of Edgar Degas after which the exhibit will feature photographs of Monet's gardens.
July the exhibit features the life and works of

If you go:

Fondation Claude Monet
84 Rue Claude Monet
27620 Giverny, France
+33 (0)2 32 51 28 21

Open daily from late March to early November, 09:3-18:00
Adults-10 Euro, students-6.50 Euro, under 7 Free

Musee des Impressionnismes
99 Rue Claude Monet
27620 Giverny, France
+33 (0)2 32 51 94 65

Open daily from late March to early November, 10:00-18:00
Adults- 7 Euro, students- 4.50 Euro, under 7 Free

No comments:

Post a Comment