Penne 4 Your Thoughts

Penne Cole's thoughts on food, travel and more

Day trips from Paris: Monet’s garden in Giverny, France

Monet's garden in Giverny, France, by Penne Cole

Monet’s garden in Giverny, France, by Penne Cole

We drive past it at first, unsure if we have reached the spot despite the small country road being  thronged with tourists who are seemingly deaf to the rhythmic chugging of our diesel engine. Monet’s house and gardens are surrounded by an unassuming stone wall that keeps prying eyes away from the treasures within. Pass through the obligatory gift shop, however, and you will come face-to-face with his expansive formal garden.

The formal garden sprawls in front of the green-shuttered pink house that Claude Monet called home. It is laid out in rectangles, with colourful flowers in the borders, and smooth lawn interspersed with clumps of flowers and trees within. Hyacinths of every hue perfume the air. Butterflies flit from flower to flower, basking in the rays of the sun. Today, she has decided to peak out from the dull matt of grey clouds that have been hiding her for the past few days. We stride through these gardens at speed, heading with single-minded purpose towards the lake and its iconic Japanese bridge.

Bamboo grove, by Penne Cole

Bamboo grove, by Penne Cole

After the orderly lines of the formal gardens, the lands around the famous lake that inspired Monet’s series of paintings on water lilies and the Japanese bridge have a wild, almost untamed feel. Much to our disappointment, the nympheas or water lilies are still on strike. Nary a single lily pad can be found on the water, and someone tells us that we will have to return in July to spot them. The wisteria that hugs the Japanese bridge are also still deep in slumber and aren’t expected to show any signs of life until May. However, the water is surrounded by a riot of colourful flowers. Being hopeless with flower names, the only one I can identify is the poppy. We make a slow circuit around the pond, admiring the view and enjoying the sunshine. At the end of the circuit, the find the lush, green bamboo grove. It is surprisingly tranquil and one can almost believe that one is alone in the gardens despite the crowds.

Back in the formal gardens, we take more time to enjoy its beauty before heading up to the main house. It is pleasingly pink and homey, serving as Monet’s refuge from 1890 until the end of his days. In some rooms, the walls are crowded with Japanese prints, while others are packed with Monet’s works. My favourites, however, are family photographs, depicting wedding after wedding. It would have been an amazing place to get married.

Related post: Giverny revisited.


9 comments on “Day trips from Paris: Monet’s garden in Giverny, France

  1. xpat92
    April 27, 2013

    Hi Penne,
    This is one of those “iconic” places that I have not visited yet. Everyone that I know who had the sharing some of your trip. Lovely photos! 🙂

  2. xpat92
    April 27, 2013

    P.S. Sorry for the bizarre sentance pls read:
    “Everyone that(error; who) I know who had the chance to go there adored it!
    Thank you for sharing some of your trip .”

    • Penne Cole
      April 27, 2013

      🙂 Yes I definitely adored it. I think I’ll have to make another trip back in July just to see the water lilies though. That was the only missing part!

  3. andy1076
    May 1, 2013

    We have a garden like this in British Columbia, Canada. Called Butchard gardens but this place sure is beautiful 🙂

    • Penne Cole
      May 2, 2013

      I’ll put that on my to-visit list. Thanks for the tip 🙂

      • andy1076
        May 3, 2013

        I hope you’ll enjoy the visit there 🙂

  4. Pingback: Giverny revisited | Penne 4 Your Thoughts

  5. Kerry Ascione
    January 16, 2014

    Hi, I LOVED Monet’s home in Giverny. My family visited in 2009 while home exchanging outside of Paris. It was incredibly beautiful and I felt like I stepped into a Monet painting in his water garden. I was wonderful to bring my kids, they were 7 and 11. Talk about art education!

    • Penne Cole
      February 7, 2015

      I loved it so much I went twice – once with friends and another time with my parents when they came for my graduation 🙂

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This entry was posted on April 27, 2013 by in Europe, France, Travel and tagged , , , , , , .
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