A Travellerspoint blog


......a home visit



I've been a fan of Claude Monet as far back as I can remember. I have posters and books of his work. I love the colors and...of course, those water lilies. Claude has even inspired me to transform a small part of my garden pond to resemble his water lily bridge....I haven't started this project yet but the wheels are turning and at some point I hope to complete MY work of art.

On the way to Paris we stop in Giverny to visit Monet's beautiful home and gardens. He was a garden architect and artist. This is the original layout of his garden...it remains exactly the way it was when he lived here. It is breathtaking. His art studio was an added treat I did not expect to see...fit for one(1) painter and one(1) easel. From his bedroom window you can look out over the garden and just be in awe. I can see that if I lived here I'd have been gardening for sure but I'd also love to sit with a cup of tea and just stare at these beautiful displays of color. Monet designed each and every garden and also chose every variety of flower combination and which flowers he wanted paired and planted with each other and where. He gave daily instructions to his seven gardeners. To me, this is a living painting...his Japanese garden is my favorite but the Normand garden is just as unique! The scents and sights here are beyond comprehension.


Claude died at age 86 of lung cancer. It was a simple funeral with 50 people in attendance. He struggled all his life...he didn't earn enough to pay the rent so he moved his family frequently to find a new spot. He rented a house in Giverney and it was while he lived here that his fortune began to change for the better. The family built up the gardens and the surrounding landscape offered endless inspiration.He eventually earned enough money to purchase the property. His beautiful home and gardens were bequeathed by his heirs to the French Academy of Fine Arts in 1966. The Claude Monet Foundation through it's tours and gift shop fund the upkeep of these beautiful grounds...the symbol of this foundation is...the waterlily.


Monets paintings sell for big money these days...His painting of 1873 Le Pont du Chenin de fer a Argenteuil sold for 41.4 mil in 2008 at Christy's in New York... And another...A water lily...71 mil. In fact, Monet's work is in every major museum worldwide.

In comparison..Vincent Van Gogh sold one painting in his life....others were traded for paint and supplies so he could continue to paint. A struggling artist , for sure.

We have a short ride to Paris from here where we learn some of the customs of "Zee French". Information is spoonfed. They don't volunteer information. For example:

If you're looking for the tourist office and you ask a Frenchmen: "Do you know where the tourist office is?"

The answer: "Oui"

"Where is it?"

Answer: "Downstairs"

So, you go downstairs only to find out it's closed. Back to the Frenchmen you go and say "the office is closed".

"I know!" He says.

"Why didn't you say so?" you ask.

"You didn't ask!" He says.

This week is an important week for high school students all over France. Every year the students have to take an exam which is six (6) days long. It includes many subjects including philosophy which is a requirement in high school. This part alone is a four (4) hour written essay based on one question. The question one year was: why is dialogue necessary. Another year it was: Is happiness a private matter. It's an intense week. 85% of students pass. (I'm impressed)

We are dining together with our group in a French bistro this evening....Montagne Aix Bistrot in the Latin Quarter near the Sorbonne. Complete with entertainment we enjoy a Kir Royal (black current liquor with champagne), French onion soup, escargots, beef filet with peppercorn sauce and a pear Helene. It's a deliciously fun evening.


Posted by Linda Fluckiger 12:30 Archived in France Tagged garden japanese monet foundation claude giverneygiverney clos normond

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