Located 50 miles outside the turmoil of Paris, Giverny is known to the world as the location of Claude Monet’s garden and home. The impressionist artist made up his mind to move here while traveling on a train when he noticed the little village through the window. He rented the house in 1883 and later on, as his reputation and success grew, he bought the house and the surrounding land. Since 1890 Claude Monet began cultivating the garden that would evolve into one of the most significant source of inspiration of his art and lead to his most well-known works. Claude Monet lived here together with his wife Alice and their eight children from two families until his death in 1926.
There are two parts in Monet’s garden that contrast and complement one another: a flower garden called Clos Normand and a Japanese inspired water garden. The flower garden is in front of the house, but to reach the second, one have to pass through an underground passage (at the time of Monet it was necessary to cross the railway and the road).
Clos Normand spans over one hectare (2 1/2 acres) of land and is full of dozens of types of flowers arranged by color and size to create depth. The garden’s design is constructed around a main aisle with flower beds on each side. Most of the flower beds are laid out in straight lines with few curved edges, but the flower clumps of different heights soften these lines. In addition to the flower beds there are also fruit trees, iron arches or other elements of supports for climbing vines, such as clematis or roses.
Climbing roses. Photo source: giverny-impression.com
Clos Normand was designed to have interest throughout the year. If you decide to visit it in spring and summer you will be delighted by the bright colored flowers, while in the cooler months, sunflowers and red and orange dahlias dominate the landscape.
As opposed to the first garden, the water garden is full of asymmetries and curves. Being a true admirer of the aesthetic and visual qualities of Japanese art, Monet was able to bring that to his garden too. One of the most famous pieces of this second garden is the Japanese bridge covered with wisterias, followed by the water lilies which bloom all summer long. The famous artist would find his inspiration in this water garden for more than twenty years.
The Japanese bridge. Photo source: giverny-impression.com
Monet’s garden was opened to the public in 1980, after 54 years from the death of the painter. In 1966 Michel Monet, the painter’s son, made the Academie des Beaux-Arts his heir. Almost ten years were necessary to reconstruct the garden and the house as they were by the time of the master.
Today around 500 000 visitors from all around the world come here to admire the place where lived and created half of his life one of the most famous practitioner of impressionism.
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