Can you imagine riding a train and out the window you see a village that feels so right you decide to take up residence there? For most of us it’s just a daydream, but the great Claude Monet made it a reality when the quaint Giverny caught his attention. He made the village his home, studio and let it inspire him for 43 years. We went to search for our bit of inspiration in Giverny with kids.
Monet’s House and Gardens inspire everyone
When I read other blogs about this place, almost all describe the visit as their dream coming true. And forgive me for my lack of imagination, because I will do the same.
As a huge admirer of both the Impressionist movement and the painter, the master Claude Monet, visiting his home and stunning gardens was fulfilling a longtime wish. But even if you don’t know or particularly care about art and his work (honestly I can’t imagine you wouldn’t) this place is bound to impress you.
I call it a place where everyone wants to be an artist. While I don’t even know how to properly hold a brush, here I’d wake up everyday and try my best. It would still resemble more Pollock than Monet, but not for the lack of trying.
A farytale like house
Claude Monet lived in this amazing 40 meter long house with green shutters since 1883 till 1926. He used it for the home of his family, a studio where he created many of his amazing paintings and a welcoming place where he entertained his friends (and just imagine his friends were Renoir, Pissaro, Cezanne…).
The house is fairytale like inside and out. But what caught my attention and imagination was his bedroom. He had gorgeous views on the garden out of the three windows. Standing there, looking at the bed where he died, at the paintings above (by his mentioned friends) I felt such a rush of inspiration, of awe and a whole range of feelings I just can’t describe.
I’ve tried, just to inspire my kids: »You have a distinct privilege to stand in the house, breath the air and feel the power of a genius.« Nothing.
Due to the huge amount of tourists that descent to this place, it takes willpower to try and imagine this place as a peaceful and inspiring safe haven. It’s even harder to realize that after the WWII the house was in serious decay and the gardens abandoned. It took years, painstaking work and money to make the place look like it did when Monet reigned here.
Unorganized gardens for more inspiration
My other favorite places in his house were the kitchen with blue tiles of Rouen and yellow dining room and because he loved colors, he was the one that chose them for every room in the house.
But my kids loved the gardens the most.
They have two parts: a flower garden called Clos Normand in front of the house and a Japanese inspired water garden on the other side of the road.
He made the garden full of perspectives, symmetries and colors. My favorite idea was that he mixed the simplest flowers (such as daisies and poppies) with the most rare varieties. He was a true artist and he apparently thrived in unorganized gardens. He married flowers according to their colors and left them to grow freely.
The other garden has a man made pond and it is inspired by the Japanese gardens that Monet knew from the many prints he collected. Here is where you will find the famous Japanese bridge covered with wisterias and you will recognize it from his many paintings.
It is said Monet created his works twice. First by shaping his gardens just right and then paining them. And the gardens continued to inspire him for more than twenty years.
You will leave this place wanting to start painting too.
Some useful information on visiting Giverny with kids
- The gardens are open from March 28th to November 1st. Go in Spring because everything is in full bloom.
- You can buy tickets on-line and avoid the queues.
- To get here you can either take a car, bus or a 45 minute train ride from Paris.
- For more info: http://fondation-monet.com/en/.
- Drive further North and visit D-Day beaches while you are there.
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