Monet in Giverny | Light, Colour & Reflection
As part of our recent trip to France this Summer we were lucky enough to visit the gardens of Monet in Giverny. Of course we’ve all seen photos or paintings of the green Japanese bridge over the lilypond or the pink house peeking just above the flowers, but its a remarkable experience actually being there. And it isn’t just his garden; the entire village is botany mad! Driving to Giverny it’s fascinating to watch the landscape transform into one which becomes quickly familiar through the haybales, open stretches of fields and water. You realise just how imprinted his works and landscape are on your mind for the first time.
Claude Monet lived for just forty-three years, from 1883 to 1926 in this house in Giverny and created this giant jungle of colour using it as inspiration for his art (alongside his water garden which satisfied his interest in light and reflection). The assault of colour continues in from the thickly planted garden full of long straight narrow paths (giving you the impression you are almost walking through a flowerbed) and into the house.
Monet’s love of colour continues inside the house with his azure blue kitchen and bright yellow dining room (complete with yellow painted furniture which was considered extremely modern at the time) and this brings a strong feeling of being in the heart of the countryside. The house creaks under the weight of the tourists straining to look at the famous artwork and personal possessions displayed and they aren’t dissapointed. The walls are bursting with paintings and photographs, interrupted intermittently with welcome expansive windows overlooking the garden, it is a true artists home.
And it isn’t just the house and gardens which you can explore but numerous gardens, galleries, shops, artisan dwellings and fields within this village which is predominantly pedestrianised. We escaped the masses by taking a short drive out of the village finding a rather unconvincing dirt track which took us most of the way through some trees and into a clearing. A short walk later and we were on the untamed banks of the vast and wild river Seine. One marvellous picnic later and Paris was beckoning.
Travelling back in the car we reflect on how much love, work and passion there was in the home and garden. There is a quote from Claude Monet which translates as ‘Beyond painting and gardening, I am good for nothing’. That may be, but he was a master of both.