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 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.

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.


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.

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.

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.

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 

The Early Spring Garden

January 20, 2015

giverny-windowThis is what Claude Monet could see when he gazed through his bedroom’s window in April. Last year spring was very early and the first colors were already there at the opening of the garden. Wallflowers make a striking effect combined with tulips, while daffodils and jonquils form islands of white and yellow flowers on the lawns. In the distance, the tall trees of the water garden don’t have any leaves yet. It is just a matter of days.

More Peaceful Than Ever

November 24, 2014


Fall atmosphere in Monet’s gardens at Giverny.

The picture was taken from the steps of the dock next to the water lily pond.

On the left, the green leaves of pontederias.

The red shrub on the opposite bank is a Japanese maple.

In the distance appears the pink house with green shutters, Monet’s home for 43 years.

On the right, through the branches, the third studio where Monet painted his biggest water lilies panels.

November at Giverny

November 10, 2014


Do you want to have a look at the Monet Garden while it is closed for the winter?

Here is the Japanese bridge as it was this morning.

Giverny is now closed for five months.

The village will awake again next spring.

The first day for visiting the gardens will be Saturday 28 March, 2015.

Fall Colors

October 22, 2014


Yesterday I guided very charming hawaian guests at Giverny. It was nice to look at Monet’s gardens through their eye from Hawai. They reminded me that fall doesn’t exist on their island. It is summer all year round. Discovering the special spirit of this season sounded very exciting for them.  Autumn has started to work its magic on the foliage. The three sweet gum trees reflect their reds and oranges into the water lily pond. For us, who know what will come next, this dramatic show of the saison, despite of its beauty, has a special flavour of nostalgia and melancholia intertwined.

A Taste of Giverny

October 8, 2014


Impressionist umbrellas featuring ladies with a parasol that hang upside down from a gutter,
and soap bubbles flying through the air and catching all the colors of light,
this is also Giverny, the village of the French impressionist painter Claude Monet.

Paint Box

October 2, 2014

Every last Sunday of September, the main street of Giverny “Rue Claude Monet” turns into a sidewalk sale. Hundreds of booths display a large range of used things, from antiques to books and toys. These so called Fairs to Everything (foires à tout) are extremely popular in the area of Giverny and attract thousands of visitors.

I photographed this paint box at the Giverny fair last week-end. It is a foldable one. I found it especially artful, if I dare say, because of the two little bumpers that prevent the two sides of the palet from sticking to one another when folded.
Below, the zinc box is partitioned to contain tubes of color and brushes, and a bottle of solvent.

Foldable means that the box was easy to carry outdoors for open air painting, the big revolution of the 19th Century. Thanks to the newly invented squeezable tubes of colors, artists were able to leave their studios and paint the landscapes they saw, generously lit by the sun.

I wonder whom this very paint box belonged to, and what paintings were made with it. The mystery contained in ancient objects is part of the fun we have going antiques hunting…

Blanche’s Bedroom

April 4, 2014

Blanche Hoschedé-Monet was at the same time Monet’s step-daughter, because he married her mother, and his daughter in law, because she married his son. She inhabited Monet’s house at Giverny until she died in 1947, taking loving care of the estate.

Her bedroom has been restored this winter and is now opened to the public. The furniture -bed, commode, bed table- had been left in the house. What was missing was carefully hunted in antique shops. The result is very charming, lively and poetic. On the walls hang several authentic paintings, including a Grainstack, snow effect (circa 1890) by Blanche, who was Monet’s pupil, and a Mother and Child (circa 1906) by Manzana-Pissarro.

2014 in Giverny

January 6, 2014

Happy new year, and best wishes for 2014!

Here is the stunning ‘black’ garden of the Musee des Impressionnismes Giverny (Museum of Impressionisms).

The garden was created twenty years ago, this is why it indulges in this modern fashion for so called black flowers. Aren’t they amazing with their dark foliage or petals?

Of course black doesn’t exist for flowers, it’s always very dark red or purple, anyway unexpected hues for flowers.

Planting them together like here, and not just as accents, produces a very special effect, surprising and maybe a little bit disturbing, doesn’t it? I like the black garden, but I love the white one next to it!

The American impressionists will be back in 2014 in the gallery of the MDIG, that used to be the Museum of American Art Giverny, founded by Daniel Terra. The first exhibit will open on March 28, 2014 and is entitled “Impressionism and the Americans”. Featuring works by Cassatt, Whistler and Sargent, among many others, it will last until June 29, 2014. And for sure the impressionist painters used all the colors of the palette, not only black and white.

This exhibition will be followed by a second one focusing on Belgian artists, “Brussels, an Impressionist Capital” from July 11, 2014 to November 2, 2014.