Water lilies, colorful ponds, cliffs, and sunrises. We can admire all of this in the remarkable work of the one and only Claude Monet. A leading figure in the Impressionist movement, Monet is also remembered as one of the best painters of landscapes. His work can be seen in museums all around the world.
It all started when he decided to move together with his family to a charming little commune in the Normandy region of Northern France called Giverny. Impressed by its surroundings, he decided to build a house there and it is said that this was the magical place where he drew some of the most famous of his paintings that we all know today.
Not only Monet was a painter, he was also a prominent art collector and some of his most favorite works belonged to well known Japanese landscape artists. These artists inspired him to create the most stunning gardens in the country which are maybe even more visited than his house.
The house, with its unbelievable interior and the colorful exterior, it is reputedly one of the most beautiful properties in France. The interior designed reminiscent of some of his paintings with the shades of blue on the walls of the kitchen and the green and yellow tables, chairs, and doors in the dining room.
The whole atmosphere inside is very cheerful and calm because of the amazing color contrasts that the artists chose. On the ground floor is the reading chamber, favorite to his wife, and Monet’s art studio in which he created some of his best works.
This was his first studio, which later was moved to another area and the empty space was converted into a sitting room for his family and friends. Upstairs are the bedrooms and his wife’s dressing room. Paintings by some of his closest friends such as Renoir and Cezanne hang on the walls of Monet’s private chamber. It was opened recently to the public and here visitors can see some of Monet’s personal items and paintings.
The color of the facade is pink and it has many large windows with green frames. It looks like it was swallowed by the gardens because the walls are covered with ivy. Monet’s gardens are renowned all around the world because his most famous series of paintings were created here, the Water Lilies series.
Divided into two sections, they are known as the Water Gardens inspired by Japanese landscape with little ponds and bridges, and the Clos Normand which is more elegant and made in romantic style. The flowers and trees that Monet planted here were very different from the surrounding nature of the area and at one point the neighbors were afraid of the new plants thinking that they might poison the water. But, after they blossomed in many different colors, the site became breathtaking and no one disputed it anymore.
In these perfect gardens, Monet planted thousands of plants including apple, apricot and cherry trees, tulips, roses, iris, and narcissi. The roses are lined on the central path and visitors can admire their beauty before entering the house. As in everything else, Monet used his pictorial knowledge to arrange them choosing the right perspectives and colors. After he finished Clos Normand, he created a solar garden which is the most visited today.
When Monet died, the property was inherited by his son, Michel. But it was his step-daughter Blanche who maintained the property until World War II when it was partially ruined and neglected during the Nazi occupation. After the war, almost a decade was needed to restore the house and gardens in their former beauty. Today, the property is run by the Claude Monet Foundation and hundreds of thousands of visitors come every year to see the place which inspired so much of the artist’s work.