Why is Giverny Closed in the Winter?

December 30, 2016


If you live in another corner of the world it may be hard for you to imagine what Giverny looks like in the winter. Monet’s gardens and house, as well as the museum of Impressionisms Giverny, are closed from November to the end of March (March 24, 2017 is the re-opening day). 

The reason therefore: there isn’t much to see. Monet’s garden is a painter’s garden full of flowers and colors, and right now, it is too cold for flowers. On a nice sunny day, it may be lovely to walk around the pond looking for interesting reflections. But on an overcast or foggy day the experience lacks of charm.

The flower beds are being replanted for the next spring. A few green leaves indicate where stunning fox gloves or colorful wallflowers will stand in a few months.  Even with a lot of gardener’s imagination it is impossible to figure out the magical feeling of their full bloom in springtime.

Monet himself didn’t paint his garden during the winter. He preferred the seaside, snow effects in Norway, or cityscapes in London or Venice.

If you still intend to tour Giverny while the garden is closed, be prepared to stay out of Monet’s Foundation. The village itself is peaceful, just like any village in the countryside. You will see a few places that Monet painted, poplars along the Epte, the banks of the river Seine, the old mill and the church of Vernon. Don’t forget to pay him a visit on his grave next to the church of Giverny. The cemetery  is open year round. 

The Most Expensive Monet in the World

November 21, 2016


Claude Monet, Meule (Grainstack) 1891, private collection

This very colorful sunset at Giverny behind a grainstack has just sold at auction for 81.4 million dollars, setting a new record for a work by Claude Monet.

For this sale Christie’s has published a very interesting booklet that you can read on line here. It details the making of the work and its significance in art history. You will also read why it is not a haystack!

Thank You

November 10, 2016


Thanksgiving is a typically North American feast that we don’t have in Europe, but I wish to borrow it for a moment to say a big end-of-the-year Thank You.

Thank you to all the people who visited France this year, and to those who traveled to Giverny.

Thank you to the staff of Giverny, especially to the gardeners, for making it such a lovely place to enjoy.

Thank you to the sun that was so present last summer and autumn.

And thank you to mother Nature for creating all the heart shaped leaves that I like so much and love discovering in the gardens.

A Feast of Colors

October 21, 2016


Is it worth visiting Monet’s gardens in October? Yes it is!

While the other gardens open to the public have closed or are already preparing their winter borders, at Giverny the fall flowers are at their best.

They have been patiently selected for their longevity to last till the end.

If frost waits for a few more weeks as it is suppose to do, the show will go on until closing day (November 1st).

The Flowers of September

September 16, 2016


September is a magic time at Giverny. In Monet’s gardens, all the summer flowers had ample time to settle and offer generously their fascinating beauty. It is an endless surprise to discover the latest varieties of giant dahlias, picked out from the thousands of existing cultivars. They combine in the pink border above with cleomes, sages, zinnias, roses and ageratums, displaying all the different tones from pale pink to deep purple.

In yellow beds, it is time for huge sunflowers of all kinds, coreopsis and black eyed Susan, anthemis, and for some contrast the strange shapes of amaranthus caudatus, whose common name I’m not so fond of: ‘Love lies bleeding’.

This sad name is certainly not in tune with the atmosphere of flowery feast that reigns in the Giverny garden. The alleys are full of lovers that walk hand in hand with a happy smile on their faces. The borders are so high in this season that they provide intimacy. It is a wonderful experience to feel merged in flowers.

Giverny’s Water Garden

September 2, 2016


Early in the morning, the rising sun shines through the foliage in Monet’s water garden at Giverny, in a corner that is shaded the rest of the day.

Follow me on Facebook

August 15, 2016


I’m posting a photo of Giverny a day on facebook.

I would be please to see you there!

These pics are taken from the perpetual calendar I published.

If you wish to order it, just drop me a comment and I will be in touch.

The Giverny Joie de Vivre

July 4, 2016


The birds are not the only ones that sing at Giverny. Today I heard a gentleman whistling a melody in the tunnel leading to the water garden. It was so on key and sounded so well that every body stopped to listen.

A bit later, a little girl sitting under the weeping willow hummed a nursery rhyme. A group of teenagers “that had been singing in the coach all the way from Paris to Giverny” according to their teacher continued in Monet’s gardens with all the good old hits of the Eighties they knew.

And then, the smiles. I love to see how people look happy when they come back from standing on the Japanese bridge, after they have realized that they are there, for real.

And all the bright smiles visitors have for the camera. The funny poses they strike.

I too must smile at the school children on a day trip that yell, super excited: “Here are the water lilies! We found them!” 

I share the exhilaration of keen gardeners looking at all the botanical marvels of Giverny. I can feel the concentration of the artists sitting on benches and drawing.

Why is Giverny so popular? Because it is the perfect place to feel a perfect moment of joie de vivre!

Fairies Made Visible

June 21, 2016


Thanks to Louise, the fairies that fly in Monet’s gardens at Giverny can be seen at last. Look at this handsome little guy reflecting into Monet’s water lily pond… It is no problem to walk on the water as long as you’ve got dragonfly wings and a magic wand!  (click to enlarge and see all the lovely details).

Louise sent me a few of these adorable works she’s done using my photos of Monet’s garden as a background. I love the delicate and sensitive way she peoples the garden with airy little beings. If you want to see more of them, please write a comment.


Edit of 27 June 2016

Thank you for your comment, Carol, here you are!

Giverny in June

June 16, 2016


In June, all the water lilies flower on Monet’s pond, beautiful and delicate corollas in different tones of pink and soft yellow or white.


The foxgloves stand out everywhere in the garden, like giant sentinels that tower far above our heads.


The long lasting columbines team with other small flowers like geums and catchfly to offer a light foam of little dots of color. Elsewhere, annual poppies turn the garden pink or red.


June is the month of roses. At Giverny they stand or climb on dozens of metallic structures or on fences. Their scent is a delight…

The War Grave of Giverny

June 10, 2016


In the cemetery of Giverny, a grave indicated by British flags stands out. “These seven air men fell and were buried together”, it says. Seven plaques with a personal sentence remember their names. These young men were flying a Lancaster that was hit by the DCA and fell in the fields not far from the Seine river, the day after D-Day (7th June 1944). A photo taken probably shortly before they died shows them all.

The tomb is much visited. People leave stones, or flowers like the paper poppies.  On June 7, two English ladies had decided to pay these soldiers a tribute by leaving a hand written message on the grave. “On this, the 72nd anniversary of the loss of you all, such brave and such young men, it is due to your sacrifice and others like you that we are free today. Thank you. We come here to remember you and to pay tribute. From Deux Anglaises.”

The Flowers of Mid-May

May 15, 2016


After tulips, what kind of flowers steel the show at Giverny? Among my favorite are aquilegias, for their delicacy, strange shapes and wide range of colors including white and black, yellow and blue, and pink. Their light foliage is a beauty.


Camassias are late spring bulbs that grow rather tall.


Pink tree peonies are short lasting little wonders,


just like this one that looks more modern.


Irises are just starting.


The vines are at their best. Here the wisterias over the Japanese footbridge,


And the Clematis montana covering the trellises in the flower garden.

The Big Tulip Show

April 30, 2016


In late April, Monet’s flower garden at Giverny shimmers of the colors of thousands of tulips and other spring bulbs. Used like little dots of paint on a canvas, their planting is so subtle that it combines mass effect and delicacy.


The Grand Alley sports patches of fresh colors.


The ‘paint-box’ aligns little beds of pure colors side by side, like tubes of paint in an artist box. The result is a rainbow framed by the trellis.


Delicate, dainty? Forget-me-not needs some popping red in order not to look twee.


On the western side of the flower garden, rows of tulips recall the tulips fields in Holland that Monet loved and painted. The colors chosen for this side of the garden are those of sunset: yellow, orange and red.

Vintage Curtains and Daisy Planter

April 21, 2016

A stroll through the village of Giverny leads you very soon to unbeaten paths. In the tranquility of streets that few visitors dare explore, little wonders await the passer by.

I like the loving care taken to decorate this window. The curtain is made out of an antique tablecloth, a rather ingenuous upcycling, for who still uses tablecloths like this one?

The little pompom daisies in their vintage terracotta planter add just the perfect amount of freshness and spring flair. I like their simplicity.


April 15, 2016


There are no water lilies yet, but their pads don’t loose a minute to look picturesque…