May 15, 2012

A trip long overdue: the Monet Garden

Ever since I was a student in Minnnnesota, I have dreamt of visiting Claude Monet's garden in Giverny. At College, the (long) break between first and second semester was called Interim. Students were encouraged to use this time for internships or independent study projects. These credits came in very handy as an International student simply because you got to go home for 6 weeks over the festive season.

At the time I submitted my project. It was to be about Claude Monet's garden in Giverny. I figured hopping over to France after visiting my mum for Christmas in the Swiss Alps (where she was living at the time) would be a piece of cake. Turns out, the 921 km were too much of a stretch compared to the fantastic slopes I had wating for me in front of my doorstep. I skied for six weeks! I eventually submitted my paper on Switzerland's fourth National language: Romantsch (easy).

This was in 1987. Twenty five years down the lane I finally made it to the Impressionist's Garden thanks to my friends from Michigan who invited me to join their tour today.

And what a splendid day it was. We were chauffered to Vernon where we hopped on a bike and pedalled the last 5km into Giverny. It felt like we had been set back 150 years in time.

We stopped off at Claude Monet's grave at the Église Sainte-Radegonde de Giverny before we reached the large family house set inside the 8,100 m2 estate where the family (Claude had 8 children!) worked and built up the gardens and Monet's fortunes began to change for the better. The famous Water Lilies were all painted on his property at Giverny. We learnt that he actually created his very own species of Water Lilies. The mind boggles!

 He wrote daily instructions to his gardener, precise designs and layouts for plantings, and invoices for his floral purchases and his collection of botany books. As Monet's wealth grew, his garden evolved. He remained its architect, even after he hired seven gardeners.

Words cannot describe the magnificent colours, fragrances and sounds of our delightful stroll through the garden of past times where Monet's presence was definately still perceivable. Just don't wait twenty five years until you decide to experience this pleasure for yourself.

A big Thank You goes out to my American friends for taking me along on their adventure. Needless to say my Giverny experience will always remain linked to America's Midwest in my heart and mind!


  1. Beautiful photos and lovely descriptions. Monet has been my very favorite since I was in college. Thanks for sharing it with us. One of your American friends and Blog lover! J

  2. You'll just have to come back next spring to visit the gardens again with me! ;)


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