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“My garden is my most beautiful masterpiece”. With these words Claude Monet, the famous French impressionist painter, used to talk about his beloved garden in Giverny. Loving arts and especially painting so much, it was an absolute dream of mine to visit Monet’s iconic gardens and see what inspired his work. I finally got to make my dream true recently and couldn’t wait to share the beauty of this place with you.

Monet and his family settled in Giverny in 1883 and lived there until the painter’s death in 1926. His house is well maintained and open to visitors. Being in the room that used to be Monet’s original studio was a truly inspiring experience: you could observe and admire all the furniture, the high ceiling, the abundant light coming in from the windows and the beautiful views over the garden. Unfortunately there are no original works of the the artist in display, but only reproductions thereof. The garden right in front of the house, the so-called Clos Normand, is a true feast of colours and scents. The central alley is defined by iron arches full of hanging roses. The rest of the garden is a mix of simple and rare flowers that grow freely, a true riot of colour!

The story behind Monet’s water garden is even more interesting. In 1893, ten years after his arrival at Giverny, the painter bought a neighbouring piece of land and dug a small pond. The news were not very well received by his neighbours who opposed Monet’s project fearing that their plants would get poisoned. But this didn’t stop the artist, who progressively enlarged the pond to create what’s there at present. The Japanese-inspired water garden is a dreamy place: little bridges covered with wisterias, weeping willows, countless colourful flowers, a peaceful bamboo wood forest and of course all the famous nympheas depicted in Monet’s finest works of art. It was as if I could see him seating there and painting. Monet was obsessed with his garden; it stimulated, inspired him and was his constantly evolving workshop as shapes, reflections and shades were changing throughout the seasons.

Having completed my visit of Monet’s property, I strolled around Giverny. The village is lovely and peaceful despite the large number of visitors. Definitely a place to see!

Address: Rue Claude Monet 84, 27620 Giverny, France
Telephone: +33 2 32512821
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Sandy (@smarksthespots)