Giverny and Monet's Garden : Part 1

LINKS to other pages in the FRANCE PART ONE site and to the Colin Day Travelling Days series:

NORMANDY (Honfleur and Deauville)
NORMANDY (D Day Beaches and Bayeux)
MonetGard7.jpg - 80610 Bytes

GIVERNY AND MONET'S GARDEN. The Ru brook passes through the property and is a popular venue for local fishermen.

MonetGardtitle.jpg - 114661 Bytes

In 1883 the painter Claude Monet spotted Giverny village whilst looking out of a train window on a railway journey. The line has since been closed. He found a large house to rent called "The Press House", a farmhouse with vegetable garden and an orchard of over one hectare.

By the end of April in that year he had moved there with Alice Hoschedé, his lady-friend, his two sons and her six children.

MonetGard16a.jpg - 112847 Bytes

Monet would stay in the village until his death. In 1890 he became the owner of the house and gardens. A major transformation followed. In front of the house he planted the Clos Normand with thousands of flowers.

MonetGard10.jpg - 92220 Bytes

Monet's house (above and right).

MonetGard11.jpg - 73075 Bytes

His interested in Japanese art is reflected in the pictures found in the 'yellow room' of the house.

MonetGard15.jpg - 82617 Bytes

At the beginning of his stay in Giverny, Monet found inspiration in the surrounding countryside. But he gradually limited himself to his water garden and the Japanese bridge and the waterlilies became the focus of his attention.

From 1887 onwards a colony of foreign painters, mainly Americans, settled in Giverny. The painters Sargent, Metcalf, Ritter, Taylor, Wendel, Robinson, Bruce and Breck were the first-comers. They rented a large house in the village and made the café Baudy their main eating place

Over the next thirty years about a hundred artists stayed in Giverny, although they did not have much contact with Monet who considered their presence a nuisance.

MonetGard14a.jpg - 96133 Bytes

When Monet and his family settled in Giverny in 1883 the portion of land sloping down from the house to the road was planted with an orchard and enclosed by high stone walls. A central alley, bordered with pines, separated it into two parts. Monet had the pines cut down but kept only two yews close to the house to please Alice.

The area is divided into flowerbeds. Fruit trees or ornamental trees dominate the climbing roses, hollyhocks and the banks of annuals. Monet mixed the simplest flowers (daisies and poppies) with the rarer varieties of plants.

Iron arches on which climbing roses grow span the central alley. At the end of the summer nasturtiums intrude on the central alley. Claude Monet married flowers according to their colours and left them to grow freely. Always on the look-out for rare varieties he bought young plants at great expense. "All my money goes into my garden," he said.

MonetGard17.jpg - 60630 Bytes
MonetGard18.jpg - 65512 Bytes

In 1893, ten years after his arrival at Giverny, Monet bought the piece of land neighbouring his property on the other side of the roadway. It was crossed by a small brook, the Ru, which is a diversion of the Epte, a tributary of the Seine River.

Monet had a small pond dug. Later on the pond was enlarged to its present day size. The design of the area was inspired by the Japanese gardens that Monet knew well from the prints he had collected and included the well known Japanese bridge covered with wisterias, other smaller bridges, weeping willows, a bamboo wood and the nympheas which bloom all summer. Monet would find inspiration in this water garden for more than twenty years.

MonetGard6.jpg - 93802 Bytes
buttongo.jpg - 7212 Bytes
buttonnext.jpg - 5586 Bytes