- FRANCE - PART ONE -

Giverny and Monet's Garden : Part 2

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

HOME PAGE : FRANCE PART ONE
PARIS HOME PAGE
GIVERNY
ROUEN
NORMANDY (Honfleur and Deauville)
NORMANDY (D Day Beaches and Bayeux)
MONT ST MICHEL
TOURAINE
LOCHES en TOURAINE
ORLEANS
FONTAINEBLEAU
LIST O' LINKS INDEX
GUEST BOOK
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The water lilies inspired a number of Monet's paintings.

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The Japanese bridge was built of beech wood by a local craftsman on Monet's instruction. By the time the garden was restored the bridge was too damaged to be saved and was rebuilt by a firm from Vernon.

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The village dates from ancient time. Gallo-Roman graves are said to have been discovered there in 1838. In 1860 coffins made out of plaster and dating from the first century were found while restoring the churchyard. A ruined megalithic monument close to the church named after Saint Radegonde indicates that neolithic people used to live there.

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Monet died on 5th December 1926 and was buried in the family vault beside the village church. After his death his son Michel inherited the house and garden. He did not live there and it was Monet's step-daughter, Blanche, who took care of the property. After the Second World War the house and garden became very neglected.

In 1966 Michel Monet bequeathed the property to the Academie des Beaux-Arts. André Devillers with the help of Georges Truffaut, a distinguished gardener who had often been invited to Monet's table, began to reconstruct the garden to the plan set out by Monet.

It took ten years to restore the garden and the house their former glory. The glass in the greenhouse and the windows in the house had been reduced to shards by WWII bombing. Floors and ceiling beams had rotted away and the main staircase had collapsed. Trees were even growing in the studio. The pond had to be re-dug. and the top garden soil was removed to restore the original levels. The same flower species as those introduced by Monet were planted. The property eventually opened to the public in September 1980.

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When Monet moved to the village there were about 300 inhabitants. The majority were farmers in addition to several middle-class families.

The village consists of two streets on the hillside with houses many with pink or green roughcast walls and slate roofs. The walls are often covered with vines, wisteria or Virginia creeper.

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As early as Merovingian times grapes were grown in Giverny. The local Saint-Wandrille Abbey owned several vineyards. Apple growing now predominates in Normandy.



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