This week’s Paris in July post, hosted by Tamara at Thyme for Tea, will take us to Giverny, home of Claude Monet.
As I mentioned last week, my Parisian theme this year will focus on art – especially the French Impressionists – who are prominently featured in my recent Middle-Grade novel, Ellie’s Paris Adventure.
It is impossible to refer to the French Impressionists without making some mention of Claude Monet. In fact, it was his painting, Impression, Sunrise, that inspired the name of this new artistic movement in the 1870s.
Monet is perhaps best known for his series of large murals, the Nympheas (Water Lilies). I had the opportunity to visit the Musee de l’Orangerie to see these paintings in person. If you have not had the opportunity, I urge you to make this a priority. Standing in the center of the oval room, completely surrounded by this stunning artwork, is a sacred experience.
It was because of this unexpected love-affair that I booked an impromptu trip to Giverny a few days later. I was a little nervous to spend so much money without much knowledge of the tour company, but I threw caution to the wind and risked the expense. One of the best decisions I’ve ever made!
It took about an hour to drive to Giverny – although I do think train service is available if you choose to go on your own. The van found a parking spot right away, we quickly obtained our tickets, and then entered the gardens by avoiding the crowded lines. While many tourists were already there, all were quiet and respectful. We knew we were on holy ground.
The rainbow colors of the flowers – the tranquil lily pads floating in the water – the majestic weeping willows all worked together to provide the most serene setting. I spent at least half an hour walking the pathways and taking pictures.
We then exited the gardens and walked towards the house. Flowers were blooming absolutely everywhere — and in every color, size, and shape. I am not even a flower lover and I was swept away by the beauty.
Upon entering the house, we were able to tour (although not take pictures) the living room – the salon where he painted – the dining room – the kitchen – and then venture upstairs to see two bedrooms and a hallway. It was fascinating to think that Monet walked these same floors.
A museum is also on the grounds which was currently exhibiting a collection of Impressionist paintings from the Clark collection. They were magnificent: several Renoirs, plus Degas, Manet, Monet, etc.
The tour of Monet’s estate lasted about two hours and we were free to use that time in whatever way we desired. It was the perfect amount of time to spend in this idyllic setting.
If interested… here is my amateur video of the Waterlilies as showcased at the Orangerie. Enjoy!