GIVERNY – impressions of Monet’s garden

The bird in the beech. I’m pleased with this spur of the moment photo. If Claude had spotted this, he may have painted it himself. It almost looks as if he did.


I’d prepared myself for slight disappointment at Monet’s garden in Giverny. Gardens are supposed to be places of relaxation and quiet reflection, ideally not shared with thousands of photographers falling over each other and tumbling into the waterlilies.

Much as I love his paintings, and enjoy excellence in garden design, I knew we’d have to share the moment with others.

I’m pleased to report that the impression was not marred too much by teeming masses.

Here’s our morning, in broad brush strokes…

Ten minute ride from Vernon to the bus park, follow guide Christophe holding lollipop number 3, along the walking path ‘obligatoire’ across the stream that feeds the waterlily pond, down the steps, under the motorway with the trucks and buses that cuts across the garden, down the main street of Giverny, past the cafes, the ateliers, file right down the alley, everybody still got their tickets?

Through the gates, turn right, shuffle down the steps back under the motorway, up the other side, follow the arrow…and there’s the lily pond. There’s a hush. We’re impressed. We fall silent.

The waterlilies, as close as I could get to Monet’s view of them.

We file around the path…

The Japanese bridge has real Japanese people on it.

A Japanese bridge is normally red, but green looks fine here.

I try to see the waterlilies as Monet depicted them.

Seeing them through Monet’s eyes.

Then it’s back down the steps under the motorway, up into the flower garden by the house.

La maison de Monet

We string out, lagging behind our guide, everyone with a camera looking for the perfect flower shot. There are plenty of peonies, roses, poppies in full bloom. In August it’s ‘one person per flower’, according to Christophe.

I shared this poppy with other photographers…

…but had the passion flower to myself.

Now we go into the house, no photography allowed please, but looking out the bedroom window is permitted. Wait in line for your turn, then…

Keeping a cottage garden blooming.

Exit through the gift shop, posters, place mats, boxed sets, calendars…

Then back up through the village past the field of poppies on the right.

The poppy field.

…to the church where the master lies buried with other members of the family. Rest in peace.

Merci, Monsieur Monet!

The writer was the guest of Viking River Cruises.

13 Comments

Filed under Art, France

13 responses to “GIVERNY – impressions of Monet’s garden

  1. I visited Monet’s garden in 1979 and thought it was wonderful. It was in mid September and I especially remember the rambling nasturtians. I read an interesting article recently that revealed that the head gardener at Giverney is an Englishmen. If you like Chris Rea he has a nice song called Giverney on his album ‘On the Beach’

  2. Carol Warner

    Beautiful photos, Richard 🙂

  3. I haven’t been there yet….one day.

  4. Such beautiful images – well-captured. I *love* la Maison de Monet – it looks so cosy and tucked-away with such a pretty garden around it, I could just imagine myself living there… I wonder how his spirit feels about all these visitors traipsing all around his house and garden… ooh-la-la-ing and clicking away with their cameras… If he were alive, would he shoo them all out and order them to buy his paintings instead? 🙂

  5. Pingback: WEEKLY PHOTO CHALLENGE – lost in details (in Claude Monet’s garden) | Richard Tulloch's LIFE ON THE ROAD

  6. Magical Place. I recommend it for everyone. Gorgeous photos again in Your post.

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