Since we’re unable to safely travel at the moment, I thought it might be enjoyable to do a virtual tour of one of my favourite places and remember one of my favourite stops during a previous French road trip. These photos of our visit to Giverny have been sitting in my draft folder for a few years and now seemed to be the perfect time to finally share them.
As a little girl, one of my favourite books was Linnea in Monet’s Garden. It tells the story of a girl named Linnea who travels to France to visit Monet’s famous garden. The colourful drawings of this beautiful garden and the pictures of Monet’s work captivated me and turned me into a lover of Impressionist artwork before I truly knew what it was. Over the years, I came to love the work of the great Impressionists like Monet, Degas, and Renoir. It became a dream of mine to one day visit Monet’s garden and hone myself.
When Darling Husband and I took our French road trip a few years ago, I knew that a visit to the garden was an absolute must when planning our itinerary. While it might have been a few hours out of the way during our drive from Brittany to Normandy, Darling Husband knew how special this stop was for me and happily drove those extra hours. Tucked away in the charming village of Giverny, Monet and his family lived in the pretty pink home with green shutters for over forty years. A lover of nature, the garden was transformed so that he could paint en plein air and inspired so many of his greatest masterpieces. The Foundation Monet in Giverny allows visitors to explore the home as if still occupied by Monet and his family. Filled with artwork, furniture, and other belongings, one almost expects to see them sitting down to dinner or stroll through the gardens.
As for the gardens, even on the rainy day that we visited they were nothing short of magnificent. Lovingly preserved, there are a riotous explosion of color and flowers. There are two distinct parts of the garden and visitors are welcome to explore both. The Clos-Normand is directly attached to the house and flowers are planted in straight lined patters. Across the street from the Close-Normand is a plot of land that Monet purchased and transformed into a water garden. Inspired by his appreciation for Japan, it features bamboo and other plants found in Japan. Its most notable feature is the large pond filled with water lilies that is straddled by the iconic green Japanese bridge that features in some of his greatest works.
To see these gardens and the home in person was such a dream come true for me and remains one of my favourite travel memories of all time. It’s a place that I hope to return to many more times and look forward to sharing and exploring with madam one day as well.