“I perhaps owe having become a painter to flowers.” —Claude Monet
Having had the opportunity to view one of Claude Monet’s famous Water Lily paintings at MoMa in 2014, and now to have had the opportunity this past July to see the water lilies themselves (albeit many generations later) in the environment he captured them at Giverny, France, I feel most fortunate. (Click here to discover where each of his Water Lily paintings can be found throughout the world, and be sure if you are in Paris, to check out his paintings at Musée de L’Orangerie of which he gave strict instructions for them to be placed on a curved wall.)
Entrance to Monet’s gardens is just under 10 Euros, and I visited during the height of the tourist season. But as I overheard a local from the area commenting, visiting year-round, soaking up the beauty of each season, is a special treat.
While the images you see in today’s post as well as the video (see below) are void of tourists most of the time, the ample foliage camouflages well the hundreds of people who were basking in the natural beauty. In fact, at one point, while in the kitchen which I share images of below, I found myself after a few minutes of waiting to capture the stove sans tourist alone with only one other tourist patiently waiting to do the same thing. For more than five minutes it seemed, we had the room to ourselves, so we both looked at each other with ecstatic disbelief (and huge grins) and began snapping photos of the unobstructed view of all the copper detail.
Last spring (2017) I had the opportunity to review a new book which examines closely the history, the inhabitants and the grounds – both indoor and out – of Giverny during the time that Monet made it his home. While Monet’s stay began in 1883, many impressionist artists began spending much time at Giverny beginning in 1887, largely because of Claude Monet. He bought the property (house and land) outright in 1890 when he had enough money and lived there until his death in 1926. Upon buying the land, he wanted to create landscapes of which he could paint – the gardens, the ponds, etc. Titled A Day with Claude Monet in Giverny by Adrien Goetz, his images capture all that I am showing you here as well as much more. The color I discovered during my visit was striking to my eye, the clarity and brilliance. Arriving 30 minutes after opening (9:30 are the opening hours), I had the good fortune of a few more moments of morning light which was a bit gentler. But it truly was the grounds, the blooms and the French country blue sky that made all the difference as none of these photos have been heavily edited and most none at all.
“One can do something if one can see and understand it…”
Upon Monet’s death, he left the property to his son, who in 1966 left the grounds to the Académie des Beaux-Arts in 1966. The museum as it is called, the house and grounds, was opened to the public for visitation in 1980. Boasting fewer than 250 people during the late 19th century, the small village of Giverny now has just over 500 in its population.
A luxury for the eyes and the senses of sound, touch and scent, the popularity of Monet’s gardens is completely understandable, and to see the grounds in full bloom during the summer is something special. Each creative will find a routine and a way of life that is unique to their temperament, senses and craft, and Monet certainly listened and dutifully followed what his artist-self needed. Throughout the images below I have included a handful of his quotes about his craft, the gardens and life itself.
Have a look at the video compiled of my tour in Giverny below and for more time with many of the images seen in the video, they are also shared in the post below.
“My garden is my most beautiful masterpiece. ”
“It took me time to understand my waterlilies. I had planted them for the pleasure of it; I grew them without ever thinking of painting them. ”—Claude Monet
“I am only good at two things, and those are: gardening and painting. ”
The stove with a rare unimpeded view as described above.
“It’s on the strength of observation and reflection that one finds a way. So we must dig and delve unceasingly. ”—Claude Monet
~View more of TSLL’s French-Inspired posts here as well as listen to The Simple Sophisticate French-Inspired podcast episodes here.
12 thoughts on “Claude Monet’s Giverny: My Time with the Famous Waterlilies and Those Copper Pots & Pans”
Chère Shannon, merci beaucoup, tu as partager l’or , tes photos sont magnifiques! ???
Oh but to share such beauty, thank you! What a memorable visit you have enjoyed. Such memories accompany one for life and vibrates in oneself for years to come, bravo madame!
Amanda, Merci. Vous êtes très aimable. Les jardins ont été un plaisir de visiter. 🙂
You have wonderfully caught the beauty of the gardens. Congrats Shannon ???
Thank you Mary! It was quite a beautiful place to see with my own eyes.
Shannon your photos do the gardens justice. Beautifully captured. So thankful he was good at those two things!! A delight for allof us to enjoy any time of year.???
He was incredibly talented and never truly seemed to understand that as he was very self-critical. His legacy is quite magnificent for all of us to enjoy and find inspiration of our own. 🙂
You have inspired me to book my trip to France next spring and include a visit to Giverney. I too have seen the Water Lilies at MOMA. It is an amazing experience just sitting in the circular room trying to take it all in. The crowds fill the room most of the time so it is a challenge to see the paintings as Monet would like them to be seen. I love your video. My neighbor has an amazing garden full of dahlias, hundreds of them. I help him keep his garden in order by cutting flowers for myself which I spend hours of enjoyment arranging and rearranging. The next time I go I am going to video his magnificent collection of dahlias. Each blossom a little work of art. You had some very beautiful dahlias in your video. Merci beaucoup Shannon!
Dahlias really are pieces of delicate art, well said. The many blossoms, the temporal beauty is a lesson to us all to slow down and appreciate what is right in front of us as nothing is guaranteed. It sounds like your neighbor has a beautiful garden and what a gift to be able to share with his neighbors. I am so excited for your trip next Spring! Bon voyage!
I had the privilege of visiting Giverny with my Mom two years ago – in April. The trees were in full bloom with white and pink blossoms, and the gardens were bursting forth flowers. It’s so interesting to see what flowers were in bloom during your summer visit. Thank you for sharing your photos. This post brought back such wonderful memories of riding bikes, eating pastries and long garden walks (and talks!) with my Mom.
Thank you Sonya for sharing your experience in the spring. I can only imagine how magnificent that must have been. 🙂
Do read, if you haven’t, Mad Enchantment: Claude Monet and the Painting of the Water Lilies, by Ross King. I read it last year before visiting Giverny — after reading the book, when I was able to see the gardens and then those wonderful paintings at L’Orangerie, it was so much more interesting having had the background of that book. You and I both have a passion for France. I lived there for 1 year as a high school exchange student — changed my life — but when you’re 16, all the wonderful paintings, landscapes, etc. etc. etc. don’t mean quite as much as they do when you’re older and wiser (although being in love in France when you’re young is pretty darn fun)
Thank you for recommending the book. You are correct on all accounts, and coming with more background of the paintings and painter makes the visit all the more rich of an experience. Thank you for your comment Susan.