Through Monet’s Window

by Ariane ~ November 15, 2023

Monet’s bedroom overlooks his garden, offering views on the Norman Enclosure and the landscape of the Seine Valley. This picture was taken in October, the time of asters and helianthus blooming.
2023 was a record year with 750 000 visitors in Monet’s house and gardens. The estate is now closed for the winter. Reopening on 29th March 2024, for the easter week-end.

Flower Power

by Ariane ~ October 1, 2023

Frédéric Bazille, Fleurs, 1868
© Ville de Grenoble / Musée de Grenoble – J. L. Lacroix

The fine arts museum ‘Musée des Impressionnismes Giverny’ has a new exhibition that will last through January 2024. It is dedicated to flowers in art and encompasses so many styles, times, forms of art, subjects and purposes that everybody will find something to feel moved, impressed and amazed. No Monets, though he painted many flowers, but canvases by his friends Bazille, Boudin, Cézanne, an extraordiany Fantin-Latour… Up to present day flowered dresses and Warhol series of flowers… Let it bloom!

Water Lilies at Giverny

by Ariane ~ August 4, 2023

The water lily pond in Claude Monet’s garden at Giverny

We are having a cool and rainy summer here in Normandy. Despite the temperature that would be more suitable for September, the water lilies look good on Monet’s pond. Their colors range from white to pale yellow and pinks of all hues. There is even a dark red one that looks almost black. Can you see it in the center of the pond ? It is the one with very few pads.

On Which Bench Would You Like To Sit?

by Ariane ~ July 9, 2023

In Monet’s flowers garden at Giverny, little stone benches invite to sit down among the flowers. Would you like this one in the roses ?

Or would you prefer walking through the orange day lilies to reach this little corner out of the beaten path?

Giverny at Roses Time

by Ariane ~ June 5, 2023

Roses are in full bloom in Monet’s gardens at Giverny. They climb on trees, on trellisses, they grow in bushes, they weep from big umbrellas and look like trees… Many are very fragrant.

Not only Monet’s garden, but the entire village is full of roses.

On the parking lot, huge ramblers hang down from trees in a striking effect.

And pink climbing roses ornate the old walls of the former farm ‘Ferme de la Cote’.

The wisteria at its best

by Ariane ~ May 12, 2023

These last years, late frost killed invariably the tender buds of Claude Monet’s wisteria over the Japanese bridge. The following blooming was unimpressive.

But last winter, the Giverny gardeners installed a spray system that coats the buds with ice when the temperature drops. It worked outstandingly well! The wisteria planted by Monet is gorgeous again.

It will be followed by two more wisterias, one with long flowers and another one with white flowers. There are all very fragant. May is a nice time to visit Giverny! 🙂

Through Monet’s Bamboo Grove

by Ariane ~ April 14, 2023

In Claude Monet’s garden at Giverny, the bamboo grove is still the same as in the painter’s time. It shows how much the impressionist leader was influenced by the Far East, that he knew through Japanese woodblocks. Monet was a keen collector of Japanese prints and covered the walls of his home with these exotic pictures.

A Yellow Bouquet in Monet’s Dining Room

by Ariane ~ April 11, 2023

Claude Monet’s dining room at Giverny

In early spring, a bouquet of forsythia is a must to match the yellow hues of Claude Monet’s dining room at Giverny. The gardeners help themselves in hidden corners of the garden to compose lovely bouquets that follow the seasons.

This winter, Fondation Monet took advantage of the break to redo the lightning in Monet’s house. New standing lamps and light inside the buffets give a new twist to the house. Monet’s home looks brighter and lively. Come and have a look by yourself! 😉

Opening Day at Giverny

by Ariane ~ April 2, 2023

Monet’s gardens at Giverny, 2023, 1st April / Photo Ariane Cauderlier

Visitors are back in Monet’s gardens in Giverny, enjoying the first flowers of the season: daffodils, tulips, pansies, hyacinths, fritillaries… Trees blossom in pink and white. The first water lily pads are appearing on the pool.

Exhibition ‘The Children of Impressionism’ in Giverny, spring 2023

In the nearby Musee des Impressionnismes Giverny (MDIG) the current exhibition is called ‘The Children of Impressionism’. It is packed with works by Renoir, Monet, Morisot, Pissarro, Boudin… full of fatherly or motherly tenderness. The exhibition will last up to July 2, 2023. Enjoy!

Spring is Back!

by Ariane ~ March 22, 2023

Rue Claude-Monet, Giverny, 21 March 2023 – Photo Ariane Cauderlier

The main street of Giverny is still very peaceful and the shutters are still closed on Monet’s house, but strollers, if any, can notice that winter is over. A warmer air, a brighter sunshine, wind and short showers are giving a boost to nature. The large saucer magnolia next to Monet’ second studio couldn’t wait to open its buds. I hope it will still be beautiful on April 1st, when Monet’s house and gardens will open again after the winter break. Anyway there will be lots of colorful flowers to turn the gardens into a feast for the eyes. I can’t wait! Will you be back too?

12 Giverny Travel Tips of an Insider

by Ariane ~ January 15, 2023

My name is Ariane, I work as a local guide in Claude Monet’s gardens at Giverny.

Here are 12 tips to make most of your time if you intend to visit Monet’s place :

Monet’s house and flowers garden on May 1st, photo Ariane Cauderlier
  1. Buy your ticket ahead of time to skip the line
    to be on the safe side, because you don’t want to waste your precious vacation time standing for half an hour (or more) to buy your admission ticket, do you? This will also prevent you from travelling to Giverny when it is closed for the winter. (!) Fondation Monet is open 7/7 from April 1st to November 1st. Here is where to buy your ticket. For 2023, the sale starts in March.
  2. Consider staying overnight in the area
    The best time to tour Monet’s gardens is either early in the morning or late in the afternoon from 4 to 6 pm when groups are gone. Staying overnight in one of the lovely B&Bs will give you a unique chance to enjoy the village in the evening when it is peaceful, as well as the charming countryside.
    Check here the availability of accommodations around Giverny.
A snail on a bench in Monets garden: an example to follow 🙂 – Photo Ariane Cauderlier

3. Give yourself enough time
I know there is a lot to see in Paris or Normandy, but it is a pity to have to rush through Monet’s gardens just because there are too many places to see on your list. Slow down, take your time… Count at least two hours inside of Fondation Monet, + one or two hours to explore the village and the Musee des impressionnismes. You can plan to spend a full day in Giverny and Vernon, you won’t get bored.

4. Dress appropriately
Check the weather forecast the day before to make sure you will have enough layers to feel comfortable for a day outside in the open air. Giverny is generally a bit cooler (or colder) than Paris. You will walk around a pond, it can be windy or rainy. Rain is not an issue as long as you have one umbrella per person.

Giverny Water Garden on May 16 – Photo Ariane Cauderlier

5. Don’t miss the water garden !
The water lily pond where Monet painted his famous Japanese bridge and many, many water lily paintings is located on the other side of the road. Once you’ve entered the gardens, you need to take an underpath to get to the water garden. Make sure you’ve seen the water garden, the flowers garden, and the house before you exit. The way out is by the huge water lily studio, that has been turned into the gift shop.

The medieval church of Vernon boasts a pipe organ of the 17th Century – Photo Ariane Cauderlier

6. Explore Vernon, an hidden gem
Located 3 miles (5 km) away from Giverny, Vernon is a little town that has 25 000 inhabitants. If you travel by train, you will get out of the train at the Vernon train station, that bears the name Vernon-Giverny. Before or after you head to Giverny, take some time to enjoy Vernon. It has old narrow streets next to the beautiful gothic church, quaint half-timbered houses, a medieval tower and a fine arts museum that is definitely worth a visit.

7. Eat local

There are lots of restaurants in Giverny or Vernon that serve delicious food. If you are on a budget or want to save time, an option is to grasp a bite in one of the boulangeries of Vernon or Giverny. At Giverny, the only bakery is located 73 Rue Claude Monet not far from the church.

8. Rent a bike or an e-scooter

Beside the traditional ways to get to Giverny from Vernon’s train station (bus shuttle, tourist train, taxi) you will find bikes (normal or electric) and electric scooters for rent. They will enable you to get a bit more out of the beaten tracks to explore on your own. The bicycle road along the river Seine is absolutely lovely, and also a nice place for a picnic.

9. Go and say hello to Monet on his grave

Did you know that Claude Monet is buried in the cemetery of Giverny? If you are a big fan of him, you may want to take some time to see his grave and medidate. It is located next to the church of Giverny.

10. Consider visiting with a local guide

It’s nice to be on your own, of course, but touring Monet’s gardens with a local guide is a unique experience if you like understanding what you are seeing. Here is the link to check the availability of a local guide.

The Musee des Impressionnismes Giverny (museum of impressionisms) and its garden in October – Photo Ariane Cauderlier

11. Tour a second outstanding garden steps away from Monet’s
200 meters down the Claude Monet street, the musee des impressionnismes Giverny offers fascinating exhibitions and has an incredible garden full of colors.

12. Go and see Hotel Baudy
A bit farther in the same street, Hotel Baudy used to be the meeting place of the artists at the turn of the century. It is now a restaurant and coffee shop. The back yard is accessible to customers. It is a rose garden under tall trees, famous for the old artist studio that Mrs Baudy built to please her guests.

Giverny Off Season

by Ariane ~ November 9, 2022

Photo Ariane Cauderlier

Monet’s gardens at Giverny are now closed until 1st April 2023, but the gardeners are still very busy preparing the flower show of next year. The Grande Allee has already lost its carpet of nasturtiums, its beds of dahlias, asters and sages. It will soon be replanted with spring bulbs, pansies and wallflowers.

Monet’s Bridge in Autumn

by Ariane ~ October 8, 2022

Giverny, 7th October 2022 – Photo Ariane Cauderlier

While the sun sets behind the bamboo grove, the wisteria covered footbridge designed by Claude Monet for his water garden in Giverny almost vanishes under the lush vegetation of October.

Giverny in the Observer

by Ariane ~ September 8, 2022

A guest of mine treated me with a very special gift: an issue of the Observer dated from the 12 October 1980, with the opening of Giverny on the cover. The article is signed Jane and Geoffrey Grigson, the culinary writer goddess and her husband, poet and editor, both keen on arts. Pamla Toler took the beautiful photos.

The text logically starts by locating Giverny ‘on the southernmost edge of Normandy‘ but to my surprise, instead of describing as usual the way from Paris, the journey begins in Le Havre. British visitors crossing the Channel in a ferry would probably land there. After underlining the shortness of the drive, the authors suggest a picnic in the countryside and a visit to Monet’s grave.

Their first impression of the gardens is that ‘it is better to speak of a flower-palette than of a flower composition‘. They note the many colors of the irises, ‘yellow, pink, white, cream, blue‘, and start the tour by the house. Their astonishment and emotion increase as they enter the dining room: ‘Has anyone, any painter, left more of himself behind in a room?‘ After evocating the colors, the Japanese woodblocks, the many visitors in Monet’s times, they enter the kitchen : ‘then comes a second shock, dining-room to kitchen, immediately alongside, yellow to blue, a blue-tiled kitchen as cool as the colour can make it‘.

The tour continues in the house, in the flowers garden and around the water lily pond, inviting, well written and well observed – the least for an article for the Observer.

The Magic of Giverny

by Ariane ~ August 16, 2022

My brand new book on the beauty and atmosphere of Monet’s gardens at Giverny

I am very proud and over happy to show you my new book The Magic of Giverny, a Year in Claude Monet’s Garden.

It is in the spirit of my French blog, Giverny News: a warm and poetic description of the seasons in the beautiful garden created by the impressionist painter. It is illustrated by tons of photos I took early in the morning, or after closing time, or even in the winter when it snowed.

My friend Vero Stark, a draftswoman, drew lovely sketches of the garden, to give the reader the feeling that s.he is sitting on the bank of the water lilies pond or on a bench in the flowers garden.

The book was published last year in French and sold very well, so this year we can enjoy its English translation made by an American translater named… Catherine Monnet!!! Isn’t it amazing?

The boat in Monet’s garden, Vero Stark, 2021

The Magic of Giverny is published by OREP editions. 96 pages, 18 euros. To have a look inside or to order, click here.