I’ve seen a lot of botanical gardens in my life but none quite so enchanting as Claude Monet’s home and garden in Giverny. On my last visit to Paris in September, I set aside an afternoon to take the train to visit Monet’s home and it was worth the journey.
These gardens served as a living canvas for Monet and inspired some of his most celebrated works. Giverny is a small commune in the Normandy region of France, 50 miles outside of Paris. It is the location where Claude Monet chose to spend the last 43 years of his life and to artistically cultivate the gardens that inspired so many of his paintings. It is here that art enthusiasts can witness the scenery that captivated the master painter.
A ticket to enter gives visitors entrance to Monet’s home and freedom to roam his cultivated gardens, divided into two main parts: the Clos Normand and the Water Garden.
The flower gardens in front of Monet’s house are vibrant flowerbeds arranged in a symmetrical pattern, which create a visual feast for the visitors. The gardens are cultivated by rows and the flowers grow wild. One can meander slowly to admire the botanicals in bloom that dance in the sunlight.
The gardens are extremely well tended, I noticed the landscapers discreetly dead heading each perennial so that every plant presented new buds and full blooms. One can’t resist pausing to take countless pictures of individual flowers in their fullest most perfect bloom.
Across the road lies the tranquil Water Garden filled with water lilies on a mirror like pond surrounded by weeping willows, the same blooms immortalized in Monet’s series of iconic water lily paintings. The water garden is very peaceful place to spend time in contemplation and take in the surrounding nature. I imagine the pinks are more vibrant in late spring and throughout the summer.
My visit was in late September just as the lilies were fading and the fall leaves were beginning their show, I could feel the change of season in the air.
A visit to Monet’s Gardens at Giverny offers a blend of art, nature, and history, making it a unique destination for those seeking a sensory and cultural experience. It is a place where art and nature converge, where one can feel both serenity and gather inspiration from the surrounding gardens.
Exploring Monet’s residence provides a glimpse into the life of one of the most influential figures in the history of art. Inside the residence you can admire several famous original works up close.
A walk around the interior of the house allows visitors to step back in time with its preserved furnishings and hues. Just like his paintings, within the chateau every color is represented from pale lilac to cerulean blue to intense yellow.
The best time to visit is April through October. How to get there by train? Buy a ticket at St. Lazare in the 8th arrondissement, the train that takes visitors directly to the town of Vernon/Giverny where you hop off and then take a bus or trolley another 15 minutes to the gardens. Be sure to book your tickets in advance before showing up, there is a window of time when you can enter.
We arrived in the afternoon when it was crowded and I had to wait 45 minutes for a tour group to pass through to really enjoy the gardens. I’d recommend going earlier in the morning to avoid crowds. You can spend an hour or two exploring the neighboring village of Vernon or find a bite to eat at the village or Giverny after strolling through the gardens.
Have you had a chance to visit this very special place in France?