I PERHAPS OWE HAVING BECOME A PAINTER TO FLOWERS
Whenthe revered French artist Claude Monet began painting en plein air in 1858 under the guidance of landscape painter Eugene Boudin, it was the beginning of a journey to a new kind of art. En plein air means in the open air, and this proved the perfect setting for Monet’s impressionist style. His life was not a happy one in many respects, having experienced poverty, rejection as an artist, and the death of his beloved wife; yet his paintings were (are) full of light and joy.
In 1890, his growing fame as a landscape artist allowed him to buy a house in Giverny, where he lived with his second wife and their children until his death in 1926. Once he was able to own the house he had previously rented, Monet began working on a garden which became his greatest inspiration. Today this garden still flourishes and is a Mecca for art lovers and garden lovers alike.
The garden consists of two parts, the clos normand and the Japanese-inspired water garden. The former is where visitors find the flower beds which Monet planted to provide not only artistic inspiration, but also pleasure and beauty through the summer months. The main walk in the garden is covered by iron arches which are bedecked by roses in the summer and paved with nasturtiums.
There is no formal order to the flower beds. Monet preferred the flowers grow in profusion as they pleased, and the result is a feast for the eyes. Monet confessed to spending far too much money on his garden, but never grudged a centime for the sheer pleasure that it brought him and his family.
Three years after moving into the house at Giverny, Monet bought a piece of land on the other side of the road and created the water garden. He had amassed a large collection of
THE GARDEN THAT MONET BUILT
Japanese prints, and wanted to recreate the serenity of a Japanese garden around a small rivulet called the Rui, which traversed his newly acquired land. He had a bridge built across the river and surrounded it with weeping willows, wisteria, and bamboo. The result was so inspiring he created his “Japanese Bridge” series of paintings, showing the scene’s many moods.
Since 1980, Monet’s restored house has also been open to the public, and here you can see Monet’s collection of Japanese prints, and the beautiful yellow dining room which looks as if the sun never stops shining in Giverny, France.
Just 75 km (46 miles) from Paris, the garden is open to visitors from April 1 to November 1 every year and you must call
THE RICHNESS I ACHIEVE COMES FROM NATURE, THE SOURCE OF MY INSPIRATION.
ahead to book a guided tour, which lasts 75 minutes. The best month to see Monet’s flower garden in all its glory is in June, when everything is in bloom. For any visitor to France, not just art or garden lovers, a visit to Monet’s Garden provides refreshment to the spirit, and beautiful vacation memories.