Entries Categorized as 'Giverny'

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.

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.

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.

The Ideal Bench

April 6, 2016


Did you ever try and grow a hyacinth in your kitchen? If so, you certainly remember how fragrant a single bulb is. So imagine being seated on this green bench in Monet’s garden, wrapped by the scent of hundreds of hyacinths… This is an early April rapture at Giverny.

The brand of the bench, le banc idéal – the ideal bench – has nothing to do with the floral wonders of Giverny. But it sounds appropriate, doesn’t it?

Giverny opens on March 25th

March 15, 2016


Although the water garden designed by Claude Monet still looks very peaceful, everybody is working hard at Giverny. The Fondation Monet (his home and gardens) as well as the Musee des Impressionnismes Giverny reopen in ten days, on Friday, 25th March. It is earlier than normally, because Easter is especially early this year.

Just out of the Winter, the gardens are not overloaded with flowers, yet pleasant to walk around. They look fresh and shiny. The first signs of Spring can be noticed. Jonquils are already out, illuminating special spots with their bright yellow. I took the picture above this afternoon.

The Musée des Impressionnismes will display an exhibition of works by Gustave Caillebotte. This hugely talented impressionist was a keen horticulturist. His garden and rare flowers were among his favorite motifs.


Winter Time

February 20, 2016


This is not the winter we are having at Giverny this year. The last time Monet’s water lily pond looked that way was in 2012.

It was so beautiful then! I roamed in the gorgeous yet closed garden and couldn’t look and shoot enough.

The landscape turned white is not that frequent at Giverny. Although we do get a few flakes every winter and a few nights of frost, generally the weather is more humid than cold. It is overcast, it rains, but not cats and dogs, only kittens and puppies, you know.

Patience. All this will soon be over. Fondation Claude Monet opens rain or shine on March 25, 2016, and the seven-month flower show wil be more beautiful than ever.

Giverny’s Weekly Mass

January 29, 2016


Once a week, on Thursdays at 6.00 pm, a mass is celebrated in the church of Giverny. Everybody is most welcome, especially tourists, even if they are not Catholics, even if they don’t speak French, as long as they are respectful.

Expect locals to smile at you with some curiosity in the eyes. They are eager to know who you are and where you are from, but won’t ask.

The mass starts soon after the old bells stop chiming. There are two of them, a little one that has a high sound and a big one that is lower.

If you are like me, you will prefer not to sit on the first row of chairs, to mimic the faithfuls who know when to stand up or sit down. It feels good to be among them, because churches are not monuments only. Their stones retain all the faith of the humans who built them and prayed in them. The parishioners of today are their beating heart.

A Bakery at Giverny

January 15, 2016

bakery-givernyThis is big and good news at Giverny: a bakery has opened! It is located in the main street rue Claude Monet in the direction to the church on number 73 Bis.
The last one closed decades ago, so it is a joy to see a bakery again in this little village of 500 inhabitants.
Nothing means life in a village more than a bakery and a school.
The bakery’s name, Au coin du pain’tre, is a pun. Au coin du pain would mean To the Bread’s Corner, but with an additional ‘tre ‘ it reads To the Painter’s corner, an allusion to the painting destiny of Giverny. Logically, the shop sign is in the shape of a palette. Artisan boulanger means that breads and pastries are home made.

When the museums are open, so is also the bakery, 7 days a week from 7.00 am to 8.00 pm. The bakery is established in a lofty shop that used to be successively a garage for renting 2CV cars, an antiques shop, and lately a restaurant. There is room enough for tables and a nice walled terrace, where the Coin du pain’tre also serves light meals.

Christmas Time

December 24, 2015


Next to the former railway station of Giverny-Limetz now converted into a ‘salle des fetes’ (community hall), the big fir tree proudly sports Christmas light garlands.

In winter, simplicity and peacefulness reign in the little village of Claude Monet, inhabited by 500 persons only.

631 000 visitors flocked to the water lily pond in 2015, from late March to early November.  Now that they have gone, it is like night after day, a time for relaxing and dreaming.

The Christmas tree shines for the Givernois (inhabitants of Giverny) and for the passersby driving on the Chemin du Roy.

Giverny 365 Photos

October 19, 2015


perpetual-calendarHere is my new perpetual calendar featuring Monet’s house and gardens at Giverny.

I have carefully selected my best photos among thousands of pictures I’ve taken over the past years in the famous painter’s gardens.

The shots follow the seasons. Page after page, day after day, you see how spring arrives and settles, gets to its glory, turns into summer and its plenty, until autumn comes with more flowers than ever and fabulous colors reflecting into the pond.

Winter has unexpected delights to offer, for instance the garden covered with snow, the frozen pond, or gorgeous sunrises over the Seine.

To make sure the new picture is a new surprise every day, landscape views alternate with flowers close ups, streets of Giverny with details of the house decoration, and more.

Each picture has a caption in English and in French.

The calendar has been designed and printed in France by a nature-friendly manufacturer.

The size is 15×12 cm, (4.7′ x 5.9′) including a white stripe at the bottom for your notes.

The price is  19 euros. I am happy to ship worlwide for an extra cost of 3.5 euros. For instance, total cost for the United States is 25 US$, or 17 £ for Great Britain, or 34 CAD, shipment included.

To order, just leave a comment and I will get in touch with you. Imagine this little window with lovely garden pics next to your computer or on your kitchen counter or anywhere else, like a breeze of fresh air…

Flowered Letters

October 4, 2015


At Giverny in Rue Claude Monet, one of the mail boxes to send letters and postcards is located amid flowers.

In October, the helianthus are big enough to reach the height of the mail box.

Their yellow hues match the  official color of La Poste boxes.

Having to  make your way through the flowers to post your mail makes paying the bills just a little more fun.

An Invisible Pattern

April 25, 2015


Seen on a map or from the windows of his home, Monet’s flower garden aligns straight lines that ressemble almost a grid. But because Monet raised the flower beds, an oblique look through the garden doesn’t reveal the walkways. Instead, it gives the feeling of an endless flowered meadow full of striking colors. Blues are made by forget-me-not, while tulips, fritillaries and pansies provide all the colors of the painters palette. (Click on picture to enlarge)

A Degas Exhibition in Giverny

March 29, 2015

degas-mdig.jpgA beautiful exhibition has just started at the Museum of Impressionisms Giverny. Through 80 works signed Edgar Degas, (oil on canvas, pastel, brass, etc) it questions the painter’s membership in the group of the impressionists. His daring compositions, his motifs taking in the present day life, his free brushwork, last but not least his involvement in the organization of the impressionist exhibitions of the times make him an impressionist.

But Degas rejected open air painting, had a classical training, and hated the word impressionist itself. So was he, or not, an impressionist painter? Make your own opinion exploring this outstanding exhibition that displays many famous masterpieces, as well as less known works uncluding rarely seen Degas landscapes.

MDIG, 27 March-19 July 2015  More information 

Lace Curtains

February 26, 2015


This picture was taken in one of the bedrooms of Monet’s home at Giverny. The house dates back to the mid-1800’s and most of the fixtures are still original, so I suppose this window handle is too. It is a very common model that can be seen in lots of houses of that time. Here it is painted the same pale blue as the window.

What is certainly much more recent are the curtains, although they look ancient and charming. But it is rare to find old curtains in good condition because the light and heat behind the window damage them rapidly. I suppose those were replaced at the restoration of the house in the 1970’s. They are machine made with sort of a floral pattern that resembles lace.

When I was a child I wondered. How can a curtain let us see through, but not enable people standing outside to peep in? Now I don’t any more. I take them for granted. A new surprise awaited me: I’ve realised since I work as a guide and chat with foreigners that curtains, especially lace curtains look french. Do you agree?

They also look country, in my opinion. I must confess that I am a big fan of the Country Living magazine, both the US and UK issues. It is very exciting to explore the country spirit overseas. To learn what people answer to the question ‘What makes my home country?’. Here the curtains would belong to these features. Monet’s house is at the same time a painter’s house, a house of the 19th century, the home of an upper-middle class family, and, being located in the country side, it is definitely a country house.