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20 June, 2010

A Virtual Vacation...Monet's Gardens in Giverny, France

IMG_0565 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. Sooo...I decided to repost my virtual tour since some of you haven't seen it. How does that sound to you? Pack your virtual bags and join me! We are heading for the little village of Giverny, France!

IMG_0595 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 Monet's Garden!

IMG_0508 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.

IMG_0517 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.

IMG_0515 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?

IMG_0520 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?

IMG_0527 The water lilies!! Monet's water lilies!! Don't they look just like his paintings?

IMG_0532 Here's a close-up. Amazing, aren't they? So beautiful! Oh, but it gets even better.....

IMG_0543 At the end of the little pond is the Japanese bridge...the green Japanese bridge! Doesn't it look just like the paintings? 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?

IMG_0505 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.

IMG_0504 There is such a profusion of flowers that you can't see the next path, so every turn leads you to a wonderful surprise.

IMG_0507 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?

IMG_0566 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!

IMG_0502 Ohhh!...Do you see there? Peeking above the flowers? It's Monet's house. Let's get a closer look!

IMG_0565 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, 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!

IMG_0582 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 !

IMG_0580 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!!

IMG_0568 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!

IMG_0571 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!

IMG_0590 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?

IMG_0589 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!

IMG_0543 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 water lilies for a few moments. Don't wait for me. I'll catch up...

January 1, 2011...A postscript to this post... The year that my ten-year-old grandson and I have been waiting for has arrived at last! This summer we will take the trip to Giverny that we have been planning since he was five when a wonderful art teacher sparked his interest in Monet! I cannot wait to share this experience with him in person! Plane tickets are bought and hotel reservations are made...all we have to do now is show up! Monsieur Monet is waiting for us!
Thanks so much for dropping by! See you next time! A la prochaine!

I am joining Layla at The Lettered Cottage for My Favorite Post of 2010


  1. Debbie, I just loved this trip. I'm so happy you posted it again. I feel more relaxed just looking at it. I never noticed the creperie next to the hotel. And I just love that church. Of course the gardens are amazing, especially the view of the water lily pond. Thanks for the mini vacation! Hugs, Kat

  2. You are a great tour guide, I feel like I was there with you. Wonderful pictures. I have a couple Monet prints, I'm going to check them out and see if the scenes are from any of your pictures.

  3. Oh, Debbie... glorious!!! I would love to see this so much, and I've enjoyed seeing it this morning through your eyes. How lovely!

    Two of my favorite artists are Monet and Matisse. I think they might well be my very favorites, but then I love Degas, Manet, Renoir, etc. The bottom line is, oh how I would love to see Giverny, and I'm so glad you gave us this guided tour!


    Sheila :-)

  4. Debbie, this tour was wonderful. I especially love those stairs leading up to the studio! Someday I hope to go myself, but in the meantime I will just go back through your post again! Linda

  5. I do feel refreshed after that little "vacation." :) It says a lot about him where he chose to be buried...

  6. What a wonderful tour guide you are! I really enjoyed seeing this beautiful place!


  7. Oh, you kind, generous friend!! This was a perfect tour, a perfect saunter through the familiar, a wonderful gift for the last day of Spring!

    We have the books and the paintings and the pictures, but these images---to immerse in the GREEN of them, the glory of them---that's a sharing which goes beyond most.

    Thank you so very much for this so-wonderful trip into the past and the present which are this glorious place.


  8. What a fabulous tour! Loved it! The beauty of this is we can go again and again! Lovely, lovely post!

  9. Debbie, you have so many wonderful pictures of your time in France and you always take us on the best tours with the most wonderful narative. I feel like we were there. Hope you are having a super weekend. Hugs, Marty

  10. Debbie,
    Well after beig over here I do't eed to go on my trip, I won't need anyone to tend to my plants now...Thank you girlie.

  11. Debbie, Thank you so much for this tour. We missed Giverny on our trip to France. The day we planned to visit the weather turned really nasty and we cancelled our plans. Next trip Giverny is a priority.
    xo, Sherry

  12. OK, it's official...I'm homesick for France! I just love the green on the shutters and the gorgeous flowers everywhere.....and the window boxes in the little café. Sigh.....Linda

  13. We were there, last year in May in drizzling rain, but it was still one of my favorite places on Earth!

  14. Debbie, beautiful tour...Monet's house is gorgeous with all the geraniums in the foreground.
    I have acquired my first piece of Red Cliff, a small pitcher with grapes, which I am assuming is a creamer, it is about 4" high.

  15. Oh how I needed that trip, your timing was perfect!! OH my, the photographs are truly awesome! Thanks for the special trip!


  16. Oh Debbie thank you so much for taking me on this trip. That garden is beautiful as are all his paintings too of course. Your pictures are wonderful and show us exactly how it is. You know, this is going to be on my wishlist for the next time we go to France. maybe in September.
    Have a wonderful week.

  17. Thanks for taking me along on your trip ...It was beautiful ..and I really, really needed a vacation.
    Hugz ...Betty

  18. Thank you so much for taking us on that lovely trip! and we didn't even have to pack. You got some amazing shots of an almost mystical place. To think of being in the very spot that inspired such amazing art. Thank you again.

    Come enjoy "Summer Sundays". We'd love to have you participate or just visit!

    - The Tablescaper

  19. thanks so much, i needed a mini break

  20. Thanks that was so beautiful!

  21. Hi Debbie,
    That was the best virtual vacation ever! You are such a charming hostess and you know your stuff!
    The pics, just fabulous!
    My Mom has my Monet book, I think I need to run over there right now and get it.
    Someday I want to visit here for real!
    Hugs, Cindy

  22. Hi Debbie! What are your thoughts on taking a group of us blogger friends on a tour of france with you as the tour guide! I know I'd love it!

    XOXO, Bonnie

  23. What a wonderful trip! So much to see , and the price was fantastic!

  24. Oooooohhhh let's go! Let's go NOW;)!

    So gorgeous!


  25. So charming! Thanks for the virtual vacation- everything is beautiful!

  26. Dear Debbie,
    I was surfing blogs this morning and happened into your space and WOW! am I happy to have found you! I loved "our" trip to Monet's Garden! I think I will make Salade Nicoise tomorrow and serve it in my garden!!
    I'm new to blogging and am not very faithful at writing my own blog, yet, but I will start posting more.
    I loved your French music also, exquisite!!
    Hugs, Laura

  27. Merci for the tour: I loved it and look forward to seeing it in person someday. Meanwhile I will dream!

  28. Debbie, I so needed this little virtual vacation to one of my all time favorite places. Thank you! I love the serenity of this garden, so thanks for taking us back to the Japanese bridge to gaze upon the water lilies.
    Have a great week. ~ Sarah

  29. I LOVE your photos of France. I am so hoping for an opportunity to travel in Europe after retirement.
    Thanks for sharing. It was incredibly beautiful and relaxing.

  30. there are times in life, that one NEEDS to just slip away into tranquility...
    nicely timed!!! :)

  31. Hi Debbie dear, such a beautiful trip to Monet`s wonderful and charming garden!!! This is one place that I have alwys want to ride through!!!
    Thanks for this great inspiration today that is grey and rainy here at home.
    maria cecilia

  32. Oh, I loved this tour. All the charming little photos of the homes and gardens. Love that church!

  33. Deb, I love Monet, and just picked up a book on his life and art from an antique store for a super price of like $3-5 and it is a large coffeetable book. Many of the pics you have in this posting are featured among the ones he painted and the stories behind the inspiration of many of them. It's an interesting read! These photos are STUNNING! I would love to see this in person in Giverny! Johnny said he wants to take me to France for our 30th anniversary in two years. YES! Maybe we'll visit Giverny then! :) Hugs friend and thanks for the French Virtual trip to my favorite artists home! :) Hugs friend~ ~CC

  34. Thanks for sharing this beautiful place with us. I enjoyed the visit very much.


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