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16 May, 2009

Sunday Favorites...or...A Visit to Monet's Garden

Welcome to Sunday Favorites with our wonderful hostess, Chari at Happy to Design! I am back from meeting two of my favorite blogger friends, Barb and Kathysue, but I am waiting for Barb to return so we can tell you all about it together. Sooo...in the meantime, I thought you might enjoy another visit to Monet's garden in Giverny, France!


I don't know about you, but I need a little virtual vacation! The beautiful country home and gardens of the French artist Claude Monet have been on my mind this week. How does that sound to you? Pack your virtual bags and join me for a tour! We are heading for the little village of Giverny, France!


We will be staying at the only hotel in the village..La Musardière. The accommodations are simple and the owner is friendly and welcoming! Bonjour, Madame! Why are we spending the night? Ohhh...but you will see! First let's drop off our bags and then head across the little street....yes, across the street...to Monet's Garden!


Monet came to Giverny in 1883 and spent 43 years here. The atmosphere of this beautiful rural village inspired much of his greatest work. He spent many hours painting in these gardens so you will recognize some of the places that we are going to see. The gardens surrounding his home are divided into two sections...the flower garden and the water garden. Let's visit the water garden first. On the way, stop and turn toward the house. Here's the most famous view of the flower garden with the Grande Allée and its arches. In Monet's time, this would have been your view coming through the main gate.


We go through a tunnel under the road, which was added in recent times as a gift from a group of Americans, and emerge to see a little stream surrounded by daylilies and trees bending slightly toward the water.


The path meanders alongside the stream where the tall trees and bamboo thickets provide shade from the summer sun. Ahhh...I'm starting to relax already! Are you?


The trees open up to a little clearing and we can see that the stream feeds into a small pond. Ohhh!!! Are you seeing what I see?? My heart still races with excitement looking at the photos! Do you see them?


The waterlilies!! Monet's waterlilies!! Don't they look just like his paintings?


Here's a close-up. Amazing, aren't they? So beautiful! Oh, but it gets even better.....


At the end of the little pond is the Japanese bridge...the green Japanese bridge! Doesn't it look just like the paintings? Look...you can even see the reflection in the pond. It's still a perfect impressionist painting, isn't it? And do you notice anything??? Not a single tourist in this shot! We are here an hour before closing time. All of the day trippers are gone. We are spending the night, remember? Isn't this wonderful? Aren't you glad you came?

Now let's go back through the tunnel and head for the flower garden. Once again, we'll follow the paths that lead us toward his house. The flowers that are in bloom vary greatly by month. We are here in early June so there is an abundance of daylilies and roses.


There is such a profusion of flowers that you can't see the next path, so every turn leads you to a wonderful surprise.


Some of the paths are not accessible, like this one where the flowers are spilling into the walkway. Can't you just imagine Monet wandering through his garden, studying the effect of the light on his flowers?


In the beginning, Monet did all of the planting himself, but by 1890, he was wealthy enough to hire six gardeners and to build two greenhouses. Imagine how much care it must take to maintain these beautiful gardens!

Ohh...do you see there? Peeking above the flowers? It's Monet's house. Let's get a closer look!


Here it is...his wonderful pink house with the masses of geraniums planted in front. The French seem to love geraniums. They are everywhere! I love the vines growing on the house and the green shutters! Once again...not one single tourist spoiling our perfect view! I have to admit that I sat on a bench entranced by the house for about half an hour. If you know me from Rate My Space or MicasaStyle, you will recognize this as my avatar...the little picture that represents me. If it were at all possible, I would duplicate this house for myself...inside and out. However, we are saving the house for another visit. Sooo...I'm getting hungry! What about you? I know a great place to eat. Let's go!


There is one main street in Giverny...Rue Claude Monet, of course! Just a short walk down from the gardens is the Ancien Hôtel Baudy. Ancien in this case means former. This used to be a hotel where many young American artists came to worship at the feet of Monet, who did not think very highly of them at all. However, he finally relented and permitted his step-daughter to marry one of them !



Today, it is a very charming restaurant that serves wonderful food. It even looks like a painting, doesn't it? Let's try the eggplant caviar for starters...a yummy spread for the crusty French bread...with a bottle of rosé. Then how about guinea hen with tarragon sauce and crème brulée for dessert? All of my favorites...yum!!


The restaurant keeps a fabulous secret. In the back are the most beautiful rose gardens that I have ever seen! The customers are allowed to wander freely and explore them at their leisure, so let's take a quick tour! Aren't the roses amazing?...massive bushes full of blooms!



These steps lead up to a little studio that was used by the Americans who came to stay in Giverny. I think even I could manage to be inspired in this wonderfully charming little village!
We need to hurry now, though. I don't want to miss our last stop!



Isn't this a quaint little church? Virtually every little village in France has one. This one has something that none of the others have, though. Not many tourists seem to know, so we are here alone. Can you guess what we have come to see?


Yes, it's Monet's grave. Amazing, isn't it? He loved this little village so much that he spent half of his life here and was buried here alongside the members of his family. No special fuss is made over his grave site. You have to look for it...just a simple headstone in a country church graveyard. Here is the resting place of one of the greatest artists who has ever lived!



Well...I guess it's time to head back. One good thing about a virtual trip is that there's no jet lag! I don't know about you, but I want to swing by the Japanese bridge one more time before I head home. I'm just going to stay here and gaze at the waterlilies for a few moments. Don't wait for me. I'll catch up...


I hope you enjoyed visiting Monet's garden! Please swing by Chari's to see some more favorite posts from our fellow bloggers! See you soon! A bientôt!

21 comments:

  1. Debbie, I loved your guided tour! I have been to Giverny in June and all I can say is - POPPIES! They were everywhere when we were there. I must admit there was so much I missed because there was so much to see. Thank you for taking me back again!!!!

    P.S. Now can we visit Hameau de la Reine?

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  2. Debbie,
    How beautiful!!! What a wonderful tour you have given us!!! I have never been and would love to see all of this beauty in person. Your tour is the next best thing!!! Thank you!!! LOVELY!!!

    Have a wonderful weekend!!!
    XOXO
    Cathy

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  3. Absolutely and totally lovely.

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  4. Glad you had fun on your trip, Debbie! I enjoyed going on this walk with you again. I never get tired of visiting Monet!

    XO,

    Sheila :-)

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  5. I remember this wonderful trip, It was just beautiful!! Thanks for sharing these wonderful photos with us. Nicole

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  6. Fabulous Fabulous!! Brought back alot of memories....it was one of our best days in France....I didn't know about the beautiful hotel and the great cafe you went to...just another reason for us girls to return.....Your pictures were wonderful....thank you for the grand tour!!

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  7. Debbie, Every time I see these pictures, I think "if I lived in that wonderful house with those beautiful flowers, I might be artistic too!! HA! HA! It is just so inspiring to look at these pictures that I can almost fool myself into thinking I could be an artist! laurie

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  8. I could just spend hours wandering around the village, gazing at the flowers and buildings. Thank you for the wonderful tour, Debbie! ♥ Diane

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  9. Deb, I love this post and the music that goes with it.I always feel like I am actually there with the way you describe everything so beautifully and the pictures are wonderful. If I never make it to France I can at least feel like I got a wonderful point of view from a very dear friend. Love ya,Kathysue PS tomorrow morning at 6:00 am they are featuring a tour on the Biltmore with Charles Osgood, I think that is what they told us. I am going to record it, 6:00 is a little early for my comprehension program,hehe

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  10. Debbie,
    Thanks for the virtual tour of Monet's gardens. I feel so relaxed now. I needed this vacation. Thanks! Everything was beautiful, makes me want to paint & I don't even paint.
    Kim

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  11. I loved our tour! It was beautiful and relaxing and a feast for the eye and I didn't have to pack or worry about catching a plane or...I loved it. I could do this again and again. I saw things I would never ever have seen..thank you! Virtual or not...I loved it!!

    Mona

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  12. I just love this post Debbie. What a wonderful way to start my Sunday morning! Hugs, Kat

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  13. Thank you so much for the tour! I love all of your photos!

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  14. Thank you for the wonderful pictures, Debbie! I love the great impressionist painters, Monet and Renoir are my personal favorites.
    Have a great Sunday!
    Bonnie

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  15. Oh Debbie I loved it! It's so beautiful! I bet you had goosebumps the whole time!! Everything is like a dream come true trip! I'm gonna sit with you for awhile...I'm in no hurry to leave! God Bless! Lauralu :)

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  16. Ahhh! Beautiful and relaxing. Thanks for taking us along on this wonderful trip!

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  17. Fabulous! What a great virtual trip, I'm glad I stopped by!

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  18. Thank you for the mini vacation. It makes my gardening heart sing.

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  19. Your post is just beautiful!! Now I want to go to France. Thanks for sharing. Miss Bloomers/Sonia

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  20. Hello Dearheart...

    I apologize at being so late at getting over here...I was away for the weekend and just now getting to the computer!

    Well my friend, I'm so glad that you joined in with Sunday Favorites and you picked the perfect post to share once again with all of us!!! I remember this post...ohhh sooo well!!! Monet's gardens are fabulous!!! Along with some of the beautiful photos that you showed, I could just see so many of Monet's famous works of art!!! I would love to visit Monet's home and gardens...maybe the next trip to France!!! They are absolutely breathtaking!!!

    I can hardly wait to hear about your trip and meeting with Kathysue and Barb...I just know that you girls had soooo much fun!!! I'll be watching for your posts!!!

    Have a wonderful week, my friend!
    Love ya,
    Chari
    PS...thanks so much for the sweet compliments on my Joyeux Noel post!

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  21. How I loved your tour! For so beautiful there! I will never tire of seeing it!

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Thanks so much for stopping by and taking the time to comment! I appreciate my wonderful readers!... Debbie