Tuesday, October 29, 2013

September 23- Giverny: Even Better in Person then in Monet's Paintings

We took the train to Vernon, about 45 minutes from Paris.  A local bus meets the trains for the 5 km trip to Giverny.  (Rick Steves suggests doing Giverny and Rouen in one day.  He must be much younger than us, or has long days.  We spent one day for each). 

Giverny is a small town, which seems to appear much as it did when Monet and his family lived there.

Monet first noticed Giverny when he was travelling on a train through the town. He started renting a home there in 1883,  In 1890, he purchased the home, and set about creating the gardens which he wanted to paint.  He lived in Giverny until his death in 1929. 

Monet's property has three parts- his house, gardens around the house, and the famous pond across the road.  Plus the gift shop- where one can purchase any item you can think of with either Monet's signature or one of his paintings thereon. 

Photos in the house are prohibited, so I am left to try to describe it.  It reminded me of Scandinavian houses- with blue and yellow rooms, and painted woodwork.  Monet's studio is at the far end, and filled with comfortable chairs. I imagine family and friends stopping to visit while he is working. The walls are covered with reproductions of his paintings. Photos of the room indicate that its contents are consistent with the room 's original contents.  A large kitchen, and even larger dining room- Monet and his second wife had 8 children between them.  A small sitting room and other rooms are filled with Japanese prints.

Upstairs, Monet’s bedroom and his wife’s bedroom plus a sitting room for each.  The children’s quarters at the other end of the house were not open for viewing. 

It was a wonderful change from all of the gold and gilt of Versailles and other chateaus.  I could picture a family living in the house, children running in and out, and good cooking smells from the many copper pots in the kitchen. 

Chickens in the yard adjoining the house.

Views of the house.  The gardens obscure most of the house.


The gardens around the house were not at their prime.  Flowers in bloom were geraniums, dahlias, roses.  The gardens filled the yard-and appeared to be much like the informal English gardens with plans spilling out over the walks.

The view of the garden from Monet's bedroom window.  The lily pond is not visible from the house. 



Walter Annenberg, an American philanthropist, has kindly provided a tunnel under the road which cuts through the property to cross to the pond.  We spent a couple of hours looking at the pond, and eating our lunch on a bench.  Al took a short nap- the sun and quiet were conducive to relaxing.

A stream that feeds the pond.












We walked back to Vernon.  The 5 km of railroad track has been converted to a well-marked biking/walking trail.

The Seine runs through Vernon -much wider than it is in Paris.

Thank you, Monet for creating a beautiful place to visit.

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