A Heaven of Peacefulness

by Ariane ~ July 21, 2020

The pandemic is clearly a disaster for tourism, but it has some positive effects. At Giverny, the few visitors of 2020 can enjoy Monet’s gardens in a way that had long been forgotten.

Last year had been a new record year with 715 000 visitors coming from all over the world. During the last decade, the painter’s little paradise had won a reputation of being over crowded. If not every day, it was often the case.

This was in the past, up to 2019. The corona changed it all, reducing the number of visitors drastically to a mere 15% of the previous years visits.

Visitors must wear a mask, sure. They must also buy advance tickets on line. A very limited amount of tickets are for sale. And not a single group over 5 people is accepted.

As a result, touring Monet’s gardens and house has never been that comfortable, with nobody to shrub shoulders with. It is all one way to ensure physical distancing. On the way back after walking around the pond, staff help people over the road to the flower garden. Visitors enter the house by the studio, which is great.

When, by any chance, I give a guided tour in the gardens, this year it is always a private tour. It is easy to find a spot where to stay and talk. We take our time. No rush. The gardens are gorgeous.

I’ve been there a dozen of times this year. Instead of around 200 the previous ones, when the gardens opened in March and admitted all the visitors willing to enter.

Each time was a feast. And at the same time it broke my heart, because I can’t live anymore from this job I love.

Monet’s gardens open June 8

by Ariane ~ May 28, 2020

Roses are at their peak at Giverny

At last the date is known: Fondation Monet will open again to visitors within ten days, on Monday June 8 at 9.30 am. Previous purchase of tickets online will be mandatory, and possible from May 29 on. Access will be denied to people without tickets or not wearing a face mask.
Entry will be through the former ‘group entrance’ in Ruelle Leroy. Visitors will have to follow a one way path and keep off from other people (at least 1 meter away). All this sounds only natural and logical due to the pandemic. Good news, guided tours are allowed! Hope to see you soon at Giverny!

This Special 2020 Spring

by Ariane ~ April 26, 2020

While everybody is staying at home, Monet’s garden glows.

The gardeners are the only ones to enjoy the beauty of the tulips.

The weather has been exceptional this month. Since the first self-isolation day on March 17, it has rained only once at Giverny. At night.

The gardeners must water, for flowers wouldn’t stand it that long in the drought. They work as usual, standing apart. A strange mood floats in the air, made of quietness, disappointment and worries. They miss the visitors, they feel concerned by health issues and by the future.

The Foundation Monet won’t accept groups in 2020. When reopening will be allowed, it will be for individuals only. If we look to the bright side of life, we can forecast there won’t be any crowds in Monet’s gardens and house this year, which will make the tour even nicer.

Giverny still closed

by Ariane ~ April 1, 2020

The season’s opening is traditionally April 1st at Giverny, but this year the gardens created by Monet will stay closed, at least until May 1st. Is it necessary to explain why?

There are very few cases of coronavirus in the area, but the rule is the same everywhere in France : we must stay at home.

If the pandemic peak is over by May 1st, it will be in time to see the beauty of the wisteria covered footbridge designed by Monet.

Stay safe and take good care!

Im Monet’s Bedroom

by Ariane ~ February 21, 2020

Claude Monet was a huge fan of Paul Cézanne. When the master of Giverny eventually became successful and rich, he started collecting eagerly the most beautiful works of his less renowned yet 10 year older friend.
Copies of these masterpieces are now exhibited in Monet’s bedroom at Giverny. The originals were either sold by Monet’s son, or now belong to the collections of Musée Marmottan-Monet in Paris.

At the Church of Giverny

by Ariane ~ December 13, 2019

The Sainte-Radegonde Church of Giverny, western side

The church of Giverny is located within walking distance of Claude Monet’s house and gardens, about one kilometer away. It is an excuse for a nice stroll on the main street of the village.

Monet is buried on the eastern side of the church and you will certainly want to stop by at his tomb. You can also enter the church itself, which is well worth a visit. You shouldn’t miss the village’s graveyard on the hillside, especially because of its WWII graves.

The little square on the western side of the church displays a memorial to the soldiers and civilians that fell during the world conflicts. The large stone next to it is known as the Sainte-Radegonde stone. It used to be the top of a menhir built around 2000 B.C. The menhir was Christianised in the 6th Century. It was said to cure skin diseases.

Painting by Petals

by Ariane ~ September 29, 2019

In the impressionist garden of Claude Monet at Giverny, each petal is like some paint on the canvas.

The blue tibouchina is at its best in September. It is grown in a planter as it must be kept in the greenhouse over the winter.

Dahlia Time

by Ariane ~ August 31, 2019

One of the many beautiful dahlias at Giverny

Late summer is a great time of year to visit Giverny, especially because of the fantastic dahlias that are now at their best in the flower beds.

Monet loved dahlias. We know from his step-son Jean-Pierre Hoschedé that he was fond of a variety called ‘Etoile de Digoin’, a starry dahlia that can still be admired in the garden. The gardeners do their best to find old varieties, as far as possible. They also plant lots of modern dahlias, because Monet looked for the newest hybrids of his times.

Dahlias are said to be easy to cross fertilize. Monet himself is supposed to have made an attempt and obtained a new variety – unfortunately it is lost now. Each year new dahlias appear on the market, and they are just amazing. They range from tiny to huge, from one color to several, they have all kinds of petals, of shape, of hues… They play their part in the stunning beauty of late summer at Giverny.

Under the Beech

by Ariane ~ July 28, 2019

The entrance to Monet’s water garden

While many people enjoy being at the beach in August, at Giverny visitors like staying under the beech. The big copper beech planted by Monet is now a mature tree providing a wonderful shade in summer.

From this spot, we cannot see the water lily pond yet. It will appear in a few steps. The famous Japanese bridge painted so often by Monet is just in front of us.

Flowers Mean Colors

by Ariane ~ June 27, 2019

Monet’s flower garden in June

Monet’s garden is a painter’s garden. What matters are colors and light, the subtle and ever changing combination of colors in the light. In this upper corner of the flower garden at Giverny, the gardeners associate poppies of rich or soft pink with a blue clematis and purple roses. The little blue dots are corn flowers.

Under the Lime Trees

by Ariane ~ June 19, 2019

Monet’s second studio in the flower garden at Giverny

At the top of his flower garden, in the upper left corner, Monet built a studio in 1899. Aged 58, he was now famous, recognized as a master, and rich enough to turn his building dreams into reality.

A double row of lime-trees (tilia) linked this studio with the garden. Monet and his family loved to stay in their shade on warm summer days for a lunch in the open air.

In their times, the ground was sanded. Nowadays, a tempting lawn covers this cool area, but just for the pleasure of the eyes: it is not allowed to step, not to speak about lying on it.

In the background, against the studio wall, Monet installed an aviary where the children kept wounded birds that they tried to rescue.

Wisterias

by Ariane ~ May 18, 2019

Giverny, Monet’s bridge

Garlands of wisterias wrap Monet’s footbridge with softness and delicacy. They are of different colors and sizes of panicles, from small to very long, from mauve to white, and when the sun shines, they fill the air with their fragrance.

Vernon Seen From Above

by Ariane ~ May 11, 2019

The bridge over the Seine seen from the Ferris wheel

This is not a drone picture. It is the bridge in Vernon seen from the Ferris wheel that is staying until the 19th of May.

If like me you can have vertigo in an elevator, it is sure high enough to feel insecure, though it is not the biggest wheel in the world, of course.

But at the same time it is kind of magic to look at things from a different angle. Every day I walk or drive on this bridge over the Seine, it was exhilarating to see the place with birds eyes.

Visitors from the United States taught me the English name for what we call une grande roue, a big wheel. “Fairies wheel ?”, I asked. They spelled it for me.

The Short Season of Peonies

by Ariane ~ May 1, 2019

Vibrant colors are softened by bright greens in front of Monet’s house at Giverny

Peonies belonged to Monet’s most cherished flowers. Rare species were sent to him from Asia, needless to say that the painter was thrilled and took great care of them.

Their beautiful colors and fragile looking petals have still many admirers. The giant size of the flowers, their light scent and ornamental foliage make them must have in a garden.

At Giverny, they are combined with annuals and spring bulbs. The gardeners experiment new harmonies every year, which is a good tip to avoid monotony in your on garden. If by any chance you are not enthusiastic about the result, it doesn’t matter much because bulbs can be changed next year. And peonies flower for such a short time that the not-so-well-matching effect will not last.

Giverny at Easter

by Ariane ~ April 20, 2019

Claude Monet’s water garden at Giverny on 18th April

It is going to be a sunny and warm long week-end of Easter, and just as leaves feel like bursting out of the buds and bathing in the sunshine, we will be many to take advantage of these lovely days to walk out in the open air, enjoying the breeze on our face.

At Giverny, in Claude Monet’s garden, a special treat awaits visitors: many spring flowers are fragrant. Some smell like perfume, especially on sunny days.

Flowers live their own lives. They want to attract pollinating insects. They make lots of efforts, they dress themselves in bright colors, they produce these intoxicating scents to obtain the favor of insects visit. As human beings, we are not involved in this process. We are just observers, fascinated by their beauty.

After all the colors of the flower garden, the water garden of Giverny is a peaceful heaven where to relax and daydream. To make most of your day, come at opening time or in late afternoon. The best hour is the last one.