Towards the end of our time in Monet's gardens in Giverny, the house and gardens were officially closing. However, I noticed quite a few people still coming into the gardens carrying easels and painting tools. They were busily setting up in select locations, prepping their palettes and placing canvases on their easels. A little detective work told me that clubs and schools regularly allow students to paint in the gardens when closed (in the late afternoons and all days on Mondays). People who enjoy Monet come from all over the world to paint here, hoping to draw that same inspiration as Monet did.
I did a Google search and there are a number of schools (some locally in Giverny) that will work with artists who are interested in this type of thing. I haven’t tried them out (just don’t have that kind of art talent within me) but the option is out there should a more artistic person so desire to paint where a true master has painted.
Le Clos Normand, Monet’s garden by his house, is a wonderland of color. Not the neat and tidy garden I was expecting, but rather it had a controlled yet unkempt appearance that master gardeners can create. And Monet was as good of a gardener as he was a painter – the artistic eye he applied to his canvas was the same as what he tended in his gardens.
I saw plants in the garden that I had never seen before. The variety of colors was amazing, blending together through a series of dirt pathways that lead you to benches and new wonderful sights. The little creative things in his garden show variety, from the wheelbarrow to the clematis arches. There is a chicken coop to the side of the garden (up near the house) that was a fun side show as the chickens strutted around showing off for the visitors.
If you are a photographer, art lover, or garden enthusiast, this is definitely a little slice of heaven that you will want to savor.
We toured the garden after the water garden, crossing back through the tunnel under the road and into le Clos Normand. After wandering the gardens, we toured the house before heading back to our vehicle (after a stop in the bookstore at the house, of course).
Allow ample time to just enjoy these gardens. It is a place where you could come alone and spend the day in quiet contemplation while sitting on one of the benches or meandering down the many pathways.
We visited Giverny and Monet’s garden in late spring. Many of the flowers were blooming and the water lilies were floating on the pond in colors of rose and white. The weather was sunny and warm, perfect for wandering through a garden of inspiration.
Our first stop was the water gardens. Having entered through the main garden entrance, we were directed to steps in the corner that led to a passageway that took us under the road and up to the other side where we came right into the garden. There is a main circular path that goes around the pond with some side paths as well.
My first sight was the bamboo – tall and green – as it seemed to follow what I thought was a little stream. As the pathway made the turn, we passed flowers of colors, sizes, and varieties. I think my husband was already getting tired of my stopping to take photos; but I was in good company because I think just about everyone else had a camera.
We made our way to the pond. There was a nice little spot that was perfect for photos where I could look directly into the pond at the lilies and had a bridge to my left and to my right. After many photos, we continued on the pathway that led us over one bridge that did not have a canopy, around the pathway on the other side of the garden (with many stops for photos!), and then we came to the green bridge with the canopy of greenery. In the water beside the bridge were two boats sitting still and just waiting to be used. Water lilies were all around.
It was later in the day and we saw several artists setting up their easels. I learned later that after the gardens are closed to tourists, painters and classes use the gardens for inspiration. I can think of no better place to be inspired.
I guess this is the most well known of Monet's garden.
Just like many of us Photographer's, Monet, the Artist, was fascinated by the play of light and reflections of clouds on the water. He liked it so much, that in 1893 he acquired land at the bottom of the Clos Normand and created a Lake which then became his "water garden." He built a Japanese bridge and painted it green instead of the usual Red. There is a real oriental feeling in this part of the garden as plants in this area are bamboo, ginkgo biloba, maples, peonies, lilies and weeping willows. This is the bridge you see in his paintings.
A trail leads around both sides of the Lake, a lovely walk where there is something new around every corner, really delightful!
You have to pass through a tunnel to reach this part of the garden
ADMISSION IN 2011....8 euros
OPEN 9.30 - 6pm daily
On entering Monet's garden, I realized this garden was not one of those "tidy" gardens, but one of blending colours and plants. Yes, there was some nice laid out areas, like the main garden alley, but most of it is what I call an "untidy garden."
There were Fruit trees amongst the garden, climbing Roses & Rose bushes were in flower, lots and lots of Irises were in bloom, Peonies, Wallflowers, Hollyhocks and many more flowers all blooming at the same time. Claude Monet did not like organized or constrained gardens, this is obvious when you visit here.
It was a "flower feast" for the eyes.
The garden is open 9.30 - 6pm daily
ADMISSION IN 2011 FOR ADULTS....8 euros.
I have to start somewhere, so why not the car-park if you are driving to the gardens.
The sign-posted car-park is not actually at the gardens, but about 200metres away. There are lots of spaces, but there are lots of people who take their cars too, so I should imagine in the high season, it would be over-full.
We found a park with our car, then followed the other people to the end of the car park, to a gate which led out onto Rue Claude Monet. This street is narrow, but pretty, with us passing by some nice public gardens. Plenty of greenery and flowers, this Village takes pride in its appearance.
Monet's Garden was about 200metres on the right after entry into the street from the car-park.
If you are a fan of Monet, then you have to visit Giverny to see where so much of his inspiration came from. The house and gardens are a terrific place to just walk and absorb the beauty. There are many varieties of flowers and vines throughout the gardens, then across the street is the famous pond with more flowers, a wisteria covered bridge and the water lilies.
The Foundation Claude Monet is open everyday from the 1st of April to the 1st of November included (including BANK HOLIDAYS) from 9.30 am to 6 pm (last admission 5.30 pm)
Price list : Adults 8 €, Children under 12 years old and students 5 €
The grande allée of Giverny - the vaulted trellis is usually covered with seasonal climbing spreding plants but the roses were a little sparse on this visit.
The first picture shows the pathway leading to the house - note that the flowers beds are allowed to grow over creating zig-zagged edging.
The second picture shows the other end of the pathway leading to the back gate.
Of course Giverny is probably most famous as the place where Monet painted all his waterlily/nymphea paintings. The water garden is in a seperate part of the garden that Monet bought at a later date and then had a river diverted in order to create the pond you see today. As its across a road from the main garden and house it is reached through an underpass at the far bottom corner of the main garden.
After a look around the house you have to spend a good while just strolling around the gardens at the back of the house. When Monet was alive he employed a few gardeners to keep things in order and to keep colour in the garden as long as possible. We had visited in September and I was a bit concerned that it might be past its best colour wise and most of it would just be green but that wasn't the case and I was pleasantly surprised!
What else to do in Giverny but enjoy the flowers of Claude Monet's gardens. The waterlily pond is truly a tapestry in 3-D. With flowers of every kind blooming the waterlilies have definite competition. We were able to enjoy them all on a recent visit in June. Yes it was crowded, but it didn't seem to matter, the flowers were everything
Simply fantastic and well worth the long ride from UK for a day trip!
Visiting on the UK May Day BH might seem a bad time but at least the weather was hot and sunny. The wait inline wasn't too long and the walls of the house shade you anyway.
It is impossible to describe the gardens and make anything I can say match the sheer beauty of the displays. Words fail me.
I'll add some photos when I have time to trawl through the hundreds I took!
There is no way to describe the gardens. They are amazing. We were there on October 31, last day for the year, and the sun was low and made all the flowers seem to glow from within.
There is a calendar of blooms at the website below. There are always flowers blooming and it obviously changes from season to season. Good weather is a plus but I suspect the gardens are impressive when it is misty moist outside . . . and not nearly as crowded.
Open daily except Mondays from 9:30 AM to 6:00 PM April first to October 31st.
The gardens of Giverny are located in front of the Musée d'Art Américan.
The gardens were created by Philippe Robert in 1991 as a gift to remember Claude Monet. The gardens feature a series of lush rooms created by thuya and beech hedge. Each rooms is either thematic (aromatic plants, roses...) or monochromatic (pink, white, yellow or blue).
The many gardeners working in Monet's gardens assure their beauty. Most of the flowers I photographed were in shades of pink. I'm not sure if those colors predominated or if they were just the ones that caught my eye!