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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.
March 6, 2016
I’m not used to reviewing books on this blog, but I need to make an exception for the newly published Gardens of Awe and Folly by Vivian Swift (Bloomsbury). It is the kind of book that puts a smile on your face when you look at it on the coffee table. The book that you want to re-read as soon as you’ve finished it. Humorous, imaginative, poetic, tender, insightful, and absolutely beautiful because of the many lovely watercolors by the author.
Vivian Swift made her very personal selection of gardens that matter to her and tells stories about them. As she puts it, “If all you ask of a garden is What?, then all you’ll probably get in reply is a planting list. But ask, instead, Why? How? When? and, most of all, Who? and then you’re in for a nice, long conversation. This book is a collection of the conversations I’ve had with nine gardens that had a lot to say.”
For an idea of chapter one, you can have a look at Vivian Swift’s blog. You will see how much she loves Paris… If you browse to older posts, you will learn more about Vivian’s next project: a book on Giverny, especially on how to paint Giverny. She makes it sound so easy and fun!
November 22, 2015
Giverny was very peaceful but not totally desert this afternoon, due to a reasonably sunny Sunday.
The shutters on Monet’s house are locked for the winter.
Although it is not possible to enter any museum or garden, although cafés, restaurants and gift shops are closed, the village itself seems to attract people looking for a nice stroll.
Along the streets the flower beds continue to provide some flowers like sages, fuchsias, roses and dahlias.
They will resist until frost, or until the gardeners decide to pull them out.
One day, in the next months, they will be changed for spring flowers.
November 2, 2015
Monet’s gardens are closed for the winter since this morning.
In the water garden, the show goes on for nobody except for the black birds and finches, still singing occasionally in the branches.
I wonder if the carps in the pond can see the gorgeous colors of the sweet gums over them.
Reopening of Giverny on March 26th, 2016 with a brand new spring garden in pale pinks and fresh greens.
August 9, 2015
A flower hedge at the edge of Monet’s garden
For a French tongue, pronouncing the English words starting with an h is not that easy. The French language doesn’t have this sound, thence it is a special effort to say these words right. I do my utmost. I apply myself. I concentrate. I don’t mix up edges and hedges, ear and hear.
Today however, at the end of my tour in Monet’s garden, a gentleman came to me. He told me that there is a word that comes several times in my commentary that I didn’t say right: heir. Monet’s heir, his son Michel. As a lawyer, he explained, it is a word he knows only too well. It is not like the hair, but like the air.
Wow. Isn’t it disconcerting? I expected exactly the contrary, that I had forgotten the h. I was very grateful, because it was done with kindness. It felt like receiving a little gift.
My English has improved a lot since school, thanks to the native speakers I meet every day. But very few take the trouble to correct me. I suppose a certain quantity of mistakes is acceptable, just like for you when reading this blog. I’ve improved because I paid attention to the right phrases, grammar, or pronunciation of my interlocutors. But I never realized this very mistake, although lots of visitors have asked me about Monet’s heirs. Because it is not relevant in French, I didn’t notice that the h was missing.
May 20, 2013
The first studio occupied by Claude Monet is part of his main house at Giverny. In this room, Monet stored the paintings he didn’t want to sell, to keep a record of the steps of his career.
Nowadays, the furniture is still authentic, as well as the objects decorating the room, but the paintings are all copies. Monet lined them on the walls on several rows up to the ceiling.
This studio was restored recently, it looks as if Monet had just left it.
April 20, 2013
Monet’s property at Giverny is surrounded by high stone walls. This is nothing special in Normandy, as many estates and gardens are a so called ‘norman enclosure’, in French ‘Clos normand’. The walls are a good protection against rabbits and deers, and excellent for privacy.
Here is a pic of Monet’s second studio seen from the main street of Giverny, rue Claude Monet. This building is not open to the public. It houses offices and reception rooms for the administration of Fondation Claude Monet.
At Monet’s time, it was used as a studio where Monet stored the paintings for sale, and completed them if necessary. Monet designed the studio to receive northern light.
The big green gate was the gate to the garage sheltering his car, a Panhard Levassor that he bought in 1900.
On the far left, Claude Monet’s main house appears in the distance.
March 26, 2013
After five months of Winter break, Giverny will open again on Friday, 29th March
instead of the traditional April 1st. This early opening is meant to welcome visitors on Easter week-end.
I’m thrilled to be back again soon in these magnificent gardens to share their beauty with you!
Photo: Giverny, April 20, 2012
February 3, 2013
7:30 a.m. at Giverny, 4 May.
The sun appears behind the hill, enlightening the soft mist lingering over Monet’s pond.
The garden is quiet, peaceful.
Birds are singing the new day.
And light starts its magic on the surface of the water.
April 20, 2008
Welcome to Giverny.
This is my first post. I work as a guide in Claude Monet’s gardens and home at Giverny, Normandy, France.
It is a unique place created by the painter himself, an avid gardener.
Monet landscaped his garden, using all what he knew about colors and composition to compose the flower beds or design the alleys.
He considered it his most beautiful artwork because it was a living one, changing with the seasons.
Then he painted it, over and over again. He wanted to render the changing light, the impression of the moment.
I would like to try and render my everyday impressions too and share with you the beauty of this garden, and generally my passion for Monet and his works.