Whether you are planning a Seine River Cruise or a day trip to Paris, a visit to Monet’s house and garden in Giverny is a must-do. Here is some of the history of this beautiful destination, as well as a few tips for enjoying your visit.
Any trip along the Seine is not complete without a visit to the house of the revolutionary impressionist painter Claude Monet in Giverny. This stunning property has been restored to the beauty it exhibited at the time that Monet lived there and is now open to the public. Visitors here can experience the care with which the painter crafted his surroundings while feeling as if they have been transported inside of his work.
Monet spent the first half of his life living in cities. Born in Paris, he soon moved with his family to the port town of Le Havre; later he returned to Paris before eventually settling in the outskirts of the City of Light. Whether doing landscapes or portraits, Monet loved to paint outdoors, so once he had found some success it is no surprise that he opted to leave the hustle and bustle of the city for a quieter existence in the tiny town of Giverny along the Seine.
Monet purchased the pink cottage in Giverny in 1883 and spent the last 43 years of his life there. He immediately got to work making it the home of his dreams. The inside of his home was carefully curated, with each room given its own color theme and filled with his collection of artwork, including a large number of Japanese prints.
However, it was the gardens adjacent to the house that were Monet’s true passion. First was the Clos Normand garden, which Monet transformed into a brilliantly colorful exhibit of nasturtium, roses, poppies, peonies, iris, tulips, and many others. He later acquired an adjacent piece of land that included a small portion of the Epte River. By diverting this river, Monet created a pond that became his Japanese Water Garden, with a green Japanese bridge, willow trees, and the water lilies which were the template for the series of paintings that may be his most famous work.
After his death, Monet left his house to his one living son. However, his son was uninterested in its upkeep, and it was Monet’s widowed daughter-in-law, Blanche who took charge of caring for the grounds instead. After her death, the house and gardens fell into disrepair until they were restored in the late 70s. In 1980 the Claude Monet Foundation was formed, and the house in Giverny was opened to the public. Because of these efforts, we can now all enjoy the breathtaking wonder of Monet’s home.
My top tips for making the most of your visit:
- I highly recommend purchasing your tickets in advance in order to avoid disappointment: visit the Claude Monet Foundation website for more information.
- Consider booking a guided tour in order to get a deep understanding of all the beautiful sights (most River Cruises on the Seine will offer a guided tour of Giverny to their passengers).
- Give yourself enough time to truly savor the beauty of this place.
- And finally, do not assume that a rainy day will spoil your visit! I happened to go on a very drizzly day, and the gardens were extraordinarily beautiful.
I hope that this was helpful! Please reach out to me if you have any questions about this destination or a Seine River Cruise.
Kira Gartner is the owner of Blue Sky Destinations, a boutique travel agency specializing in river cruises, luxury expedition cruises and customized European vacations. For years she has helped curious travelers plan vacations that allow them to unwind, reconnect, and immerse themselves fully in a destination. Reach out to her for a free consultation - and let her start designing your dream vacation!