Spring is finally in the air and I can see gardens all around starting to bloom. I can’t think of a more beautiful garden than that created by the one and only Oscar-Claude Monet. We have seen many spectacular gardens around the world, but there’s something special and unique to be present in Monet’s preserved home and garden in Giverny, France.
If you love Monet and impressionistic art or if you enjoy gardens, this is an unforgettable tour you don’t want to miss in Paris.
Every year from the beginning of April until November, visitors can tour Monet’s home and garden. The guided tour lasts about an hour and a half and can be done privately or in a group. Either way, an appointment is required for guided tours.
You can self-guide from 9:30am -6pm daily, but make sure you allow yourself extra time to access the site. It’s recommended to get there early in the day to avoid the heavy crowds and queues.
ADMISSION: Adults 11.50 euros and Children 7.50 euros. Get direct tickets here from non-profit organization.
Insider Info: Guided tours are only possible with an appointment. Be sure to plan ahead if you would like this service. We recommend the guided tour because the history is fascinating and you won’t have to wait in a queue.Giverny. Org
In July of 2016, a week in Paris gave us time to venture out of the city and into places like Giverny, where we visited one of the world’s most famous artist’s home, Oscar-Claude Monet. He is known to be the French founder of Impressionist painting. We took a private tour that left from Paris to Giverny, only an hour and a half away.
The gardens and his home are incredible. I wanted to have my own paint and easel to create in the middle of his inspiring gardens. Every object you would have seen in his paintings can be found here- Lilies, Japanese Bridge, pond, Weeping Willow, His House-etc. It was charming and serene, the most beautiful gardens we have ever seen.
It took Monet 20 years to build his garden that became a masterpiece and is reflected in his famous artwork. The gardens cover roughly 2.5 acres of land and require over 20 gardeners to maintain it.
We felt like we just walked into one of Monet’s paintings.
The Famous Japanese Bridge & Lilies
One of the most recognized inspiration of Monet’s work is the famous Japanese bridge that appears in many of his famous works of art. After 10 years of moving his family to Giverny, Monet envisioned an Asian influenced water garden. Most of the plants he needed to build his garden were not native and the locals were against importing exotic plants into the city.
Fun Fact: Monet built his gardens himself and imported exotic plants and shrubs against his City’s policies. He was ardently his own worst critic and his work was not popular in the beginning. His best work began to show after the death of his first wife Camille.Travoodie Queen
Monet eventually won approval to build his garden and pond. It became his obsession and he then decided to paint it.
It took me a long time to understand my water lilies…. I grew them without thinking of painting them…. And then, all of a sudden, I had the revelation of the enchantment of my pond. I took up my palette.-Claude Monet, 1924
Under the Weeping Willow
Another distinction seen repeatedly in Monet’s work is the Weeping Willow Tree. I love its dichotomy, the tree looks sad but through its beauty brings joy to all who see it.
The Weeping Willow tree overlooking the pond was my favorite focus in the gardens because it felt like the most senescent subject. Monet painted this tree in several of his works as a mournful response to World War I. He was in constant fear for his only surviving son who served regularly in the fronts.
The inside of Monet’s house was full of his artworks. The living and bedrooms had many of his original pieces. His kitchen was amazing with really cool furniture, cookware, and appliances.
Here’s a picture tour of some of the rooms in the lovely home.
Monet’s First Studio
Fun Fact: Monet and his wife Alice each had their own rooms that shared a common bathroom. Spouses not sharing a room was typical for the Middle Upper Class.Giverny.Org
The Town of Giverny
After touring his house, we had some time to explore the small town of Giverny. It felt like walking through a tiny village in a storybook with cute cottages and hanging balconies with colorful shrubs. There were little Mom & Pop stores throughout mixed with a few touristy shops. We saw the church and gravesite where Monet and his family were buried.
Monet’s chapel where he and his family attended church and are now at rest.
R.I.P Monet and Family
Monet and his family are buried here in Giverny. Monet passed on December 5th, 1926. Monet rests together with his second wife Alice, his two sons Jean and Michel and their wives. Susan, a daughter of Alice, and Alice’s first husband Ernest Hoschedé.
Why in the world would Monet want to be buried in a family tomb with his wife’s ex-husband?
The ex-husband, Ernest Hoschedé died first and his children were raised by Monet. When he passed, the children wanted their father to be buried in Giverny so they could visit his grave. Alice had a daughter with the Ex and she died after him. She was buried next to her father. The burial continued to grow with his family’s deaths from there that it was only natural Monet would end up buried with them. Monet and Hoschedé never got along and it’s complete irony it happened this way.
Love for Monet
If you have love for Monet as I do, you will absolutely love this tour. To be able to see and feel the gardens and his home in person, you will better understand how connected he was to his inspiration. His impressionistic style and precision is one of the most distinct in the world. Simultaneously classic and modern is what makes his art timeless.
My wish is to always stay like this, living quietly in the corner of nature.-Claude Monet