Entries from May 2008

Monet’s Bust

May 30, 2008

A bust of Claude Monet by the sculptor Daniel Goupil can be admired in Giverny.

Surprisingly enough, the tribute to the master of Impressionism is not exhibited on a well exposed location, in front of his home for instance. On the contrary you have to look for it to find it.

The artist wanted Monet to face the landscape he loved, the meadows and the poplars of the Seine valley.

 The bust is situated on the very spot where Monet painted several canvases.

 It is to be found on the back of the main parking lot ‘La Prairie’, slightly hidden by a big weping willow.

Main Alley

May 23, 2008

Monet’s flower garden is divided by a broad alley.

 He designed the whole garden except this walk which existed when he settled into the house.

When they came to Giverny this alley was lined by spruce trees. It was dark and full of shade, what pleased Alice: she could walk out in the garden without a parasol. But Monet disliked the spruce trees because flowers would not grow in their shade.

The couple had many arguements about these trees, and it is obvious who won.

Did Alice give up, as a smart lady? Monet kept the two yew trees at the top of the way, and he cut the other ones at a four meter height. The trunks looked like columns. Monet grew climbing roses on them and between each pair of columns he had arches also with climbing roses.

The result was lovely in spring. Now, only the arches and the yew trees remain.


Monet’s home

May 21, 2008

Monet was 42 when he arrived in Giverny.

 Let’s say he was in his forty-third year, and he spent forty three years in Giverny. Exactly half of his life!

 When he arrived he was looking for a big house to live with his family. He was lucky enough to find this one.

He felt so happy there he never wanted to move anymore.

Blooming Wisteria

May 14, 2008

The wisteria is at its peak over the Japanese Bridge in Claude Monet’s garden.

Its flowers look like long grapes. They are a soft tone of lavender and produce a delicious scent which recalls to the scent of jasmine.

It is an incredible feeling to stand on the bridge and be surrounded by the blooming wisteria all around you.

The beautiful effect doesn’t last very long, but Monet had thought of a special jocker. A second later wisteria will follow the lavender one when it is over. The second one is a white wisteria.


Japanese Garden

May 7, 2008

This part of Monet’s water garden at Giverny ‘looks like Japan’, as the painter would have said.

Monet was inspired by his large collection of Japanese woodblocks when he landscaped his water garden. He planted many exotic species of plants he could see on the prints, like azaleas, rhododendrums, wisterias, bamboos, Japanese maples and of course water lilies. Monet imported peonies in trees from Japan. Many plants in his garden had never been seen before in Giverny.

However his garden is not a true Japanese garden, the spirit being very different.

Lily of the Valley

May 1, 2008

Just in time for May 1st, the lily of the valley is blooming in Monet’s water garden at Giverny.  It is a shy flower that likes to hide but its scent betrays it.

In France the tradition is to give a sprig of lily of the valley on May 1st to the ones you love to bring them luck.

Here is my sprig for you, be lucky all year round!