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03 January, 2009

A Visit to Monet's Garden...or...A Little Virtual Vacation

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. 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!

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...
Thanks so much for dropping by! See you nest time! A la prochaine!


  1. Debbie what a fabulous tour. The pictures are just amazing, and it sent a shiver down my spine to see that shot of the waterlilies. Just beautiful and so relaxing. I could sit and stare at these scenes all day. You are a great tour guide! Stop by when you get a chance and pick up an award. Hugs, Kathy

  2. Debbie, thank you so much for whisking me away on this awesome tour! These pictures are wonderful! I also adore the house. Oh how I wish you would take me to France IRL! I know you could show me all of the best parts. laurie

  3. Chere Debbie,
    Je te remercie tres fort pour la jolie visite chez Monet. C'est super! J'aime aussi la musique de Chopin. Je joue du piano et la grande valse brilliante et une de mes compositions favorites a jouer. Je te verrai lundi. Linda (Je regrette la manque d'accents!)

  4. Oh~Wait for me! This is just my kind of day-trip...imagine a day-trip to France...I only wish!

    Thank you for taking me along via your beautiful photos - it was so inspiring! ...and that creme brulee - scrumptious!

    The gardens are heavenly!

    Where do we go next?


  5. Oh Linda! Je suis si contente de te voir ici!! Quelle plaisir de te trouver "chez moi." Oui, je voudrais bien refaire la visite pour de vrai! Je pensais à toi en chioisissant la musique. A lundi...Debbie

  6. How spectacular!
    Thanks for inviting us along for the tour Debbie. :)

  7. Oh Debbie I just loved this tour today of Monet house and gardens..I read alot about him and loved all his works..thank you dear friend..may you have a great week end..hugs and smiles Gloria

  8. Debbie, what a wonderful tour and you always make it so real. You're the best tour guide I've ever had. The best thing about this tour is I can visit it again and again. Thanks so much for the fun trip. I loved it. Hugs, Marty

  9. Debbie, I adore the Impressionists, and Monet is probably my favorite! Love him! And I loved this virutal tour! :-)

    Are you familiar with the movie "Impromptu" about George Sand and Chopin? I can't hear that piece that Chopin piece that's playing without thinking of it. If you haven't seen it, you must! It's wonderful... starring Judy Davis, Hugh Grant, Emma Thompson, Bernadette Peters, and Mandy (who's last name I can't spell).


    Sheila :-)

  10. Wow, that was an amazing tour. I would love to visit one day. My father used to paint, and at one point was really into Art. I remember looking through all of his books on Monet as a child.

    This tour was a great way to start my day off. Have a wonderful day.

    Thanks, Nicole

  11. Oh,I thank you so... much, for sharing this trip! I was just hoping my Monet of field of poppies was coming up! I wonder if the house in it is one of the places you have shown. So lovely! I now want daylillies on my creek bank. lol I am going back to look at the house. Hubby will not go for the lilly pads, I have tried. lol Thanks for taking me on this wonderful trip of excitement!

  12. What a lovely virtual visit to France and Monet's gardens ...just what I needed today....soothing, educational and inspirational ! Une poste formidable!!

    a la prochaine!

  13. Oh..i don't want it to be virtual (boo hoo hoo) let's pack our bags...let's go ! we can blog from the plane...we can blog from the cafes..we can blog from the gardens...!


    we can not blog at all...


  14. Can't begin to tell you how much I enjoyed this. Armchair traveling is all I'm ever likely to do, but with your wonderful pictures it is very satisfying. You are a wonderful tour guide.

    Your mention of creme brulee reminded me that my husband's supervisor gave him a creme brulee set for Christmas. DH wouldn't know what to do with it, but his supervisor knows I like to putter around in the kitchen. I haven't ever been able to justify the price of the torch for something that we have never even tried. Now I can play. Besides the torch the set includes four serving dishes and the generous giver also included an extra container of fuel.
    When I try it out, I'll let you know what DH and I think. Can't wait to try it.

  15. Oh Glenda! What a wonderful gift! I got one for Christmas last year and can't work up the nerve to use the torch, so you will have to tell me if it is too scary! I tried running them under the broiler...not the same. It is one of my favorite desserts. Do you have World Market nearby? They had a wonderful crème brulée cookbook...all sorts of variations. I made one that was half chocolate and half vanilla...yummy! Keep me posted on yours...Debbie

  16. Thanks...I needed a little vacation,and whom better to share it with than blog buds and Monet! Your post has the Artistry of Monet himself! Thanks for sharing!

  17. Thanks for the breathtaking tour! Beautiful gardens!

  18. What a wonderful treat!!! Thanks so much for being our guide on this beautiful tour. Better than Calgon! The flowers are just beautiful. Day lilies are among my favorite flowers. And the water lilies make me want to put in a water feature so I can try my hand at growing them. I'm not much of a world traveler so this little tour was a special treat for me. Thanks so much.

  19. Thank you so much for taking us on a tour. Now I am so facinated by Monet that I must learn more about him.

  20. Hi Debbie,
    Wow that was a fabulous trip, and no jet lag..... Thank you, loved it.


  21. Oh Deb, this is one my dreams, to go and see Monet's gardens and home.Thankyou so much for sharing this wonderful experience.The pictures were wonderful and the way you described everything is like being there.What a wonderful trip you had and thank you for taking us along memory lane. I loved it ,Kathysue

  22. as I was trying to find inspiration for my seed order this year...I looked at this garden ...and another one that was inspired by it! Then I came here for the full meal deal! thanks girl...I love the views...and I needed this vacation!

  23. Bonjour Debbie (my dear sister's name also)
    First time here and even though I should be in bed... here I am enjoying your beautiful tour. Loved my visit.
    Claudie (Claudette) from Canada

  24. Debbie, what a beautiful "virtual" tour. I could imagine myself strolling through the beautiful gardens..You made us feel as if we were there... Thanks for swinging by.. I'll certainly be glad when all of this mess is behind me..It has been a long drawn out process...just a couple more days and then it's up to me the fun will begin with putting it all back and creating new vignettes...right up my alley... :-)
    hugs ~lynne~

  25. I have had a wonderful visit to Monet's garden, absolutely idyllic. Thank you for stopping by French Essence today - lovely to have found you, xv.

  26. just saw your pink sat comment lol about the cap and pony tail :) lol
    when i got to choose my first after chemo/rad hair pieces i tried one of those! lol

    i looked like i had a beaver tail growing out of my skull lol...
    needless to say, i passed on that one ! LOL

  27. Oh how absolutely cool. Wonderful information too...not just pictures. Thanks for the educational virtual vacation on this dull Sunday afternoon. I was briefly transported to a world that alas I may never see.
    Teresa Jane

  28. Oh my goodness, Debbie! You couldn't have picked a better virtual tour! Those gardens are beautiful and how interesting to see Monet's inspiration and models for his painting.

  29. I feel like I'm just received an enchanting and wonderful education! Wow...the beauty of these pics is amazing and you can see how it all must have been such an inspiration to him. Thanks taking us along on your vacation! :-)

  30. EVening, Debbie and what a wonderful tour! Thanks for your continued prayer for my Mother, she was better today. I appreciate you so much.
    Be a sweetie,
    Shelia :)

  31. Il a été un long chemin parcouru. Il a été une bataille âprement. Oh oui, ce petit chapeau rose est mon badge d'honneur!
    Vous êtes gentils. Comment ai-je écrit, sans votre présence? :) Vous faites partie de la Muse de l'univers! Je suis très reconnaissante!

  32. Hi Debbie... my first visit to your blog via Muse... I had to come and comment on your pig poetry... I loved it.. must be the country girl in me... but pigs are beautiful creatures... well... as long as they're little and pink, or fried up on a plate!

    Love your pics... the interior of the cafe is sooooooo French... Thanks for the virtual vacation, but I'm with Muse... I like reality!

  33. Just loved your tour of Monet's Garden and those beautiful rose gardens, you could almost smell their sweet scent. Thanks for sharing your knowledge of a truly great artist.

  34. Bon Jour, Debbie, I am a first time visitor, and didn't expect to be taken along on such a wonderful trip, plus dinner and a night in a quaint hotel. I have seen most of the usual pictures of the grounds at Monet's enchanting home. But the ones of the creek are the ones I liked the best, I always like to know whats beyond the garden gate. Adieu.

  35. Hi............I just found you and came for a visit.......not knowing that I was going on vacation with you........Thanks so much for taking me along on your lovely journey. I had a very good time. Wishing you and your family a wonderful 2009..........Come visit me when you have the time.

  36. Ahhhhhh Debbie what a respite from the crazy world. The gardens are breathtaking! I think I'll just move in to the hotel for a while. I need to see the gardens in all seasons *winks* Beautiful beautiful post my friend!! Vanna

  37. What a beautiful tour, and with a better guide no where to be found! Your blog is beautiful!

  38. If we have a World Market nearby, I don't know where it is. There was one recipe included with the torch and I used that. It wasn't hard to do, though it did require several steps. Since the torch was technically a gift to DH, I set up the sugar and DH had the honor of torching my creation.

    He has seen the commercial on TV where the guy sets the kitchen on fire while using a torch, so was a tad apprehensive. I had made my bain-marie using a Pyrex dish. After the custard had cooked, I poured out the water, and placed the dishes of custard back into the Pyrex dish. We figured that way, there would be no chance of scorching the countertop. They came out really well and tasted delicious.

    There were several other uses listed on the box such as melting cheese on twice baked potatoes, the tops of casseroles, French onion soup, and browning meringues. Debbie, if I can do it, you can too. Just make sure you read your directions to insure safe operation, because you will be "playing with fire".

  39. What an amazing post! Monet is a favorite of mine. It was interesting to see the places he's been and the inspiration for his work. Thank you for taking us on this lovely trip

  40. Wow, this is a wonderful post. I'm coming back later to view it in detail when I get my TT post done. I love Monet's gardens! :-) Susan

  41. Thanks for your visit, Teresa Jane! Drop by any are always welcome!...Debbie

  42. Lovely! Debbie I left a little something for you over at my blog. Come take a look.

  43. Thanks for the notes on my crystal, I have 3 full length cabinets full, and still do not have all the collection. Did you find my field of poppies? lol

  44. Yes! Debbie it has thelady,child,and a house in the back ground,in the field of poppies. I have the Monet Field of Poppies in my parlor. Picture of it on my blog somewhere. I do love it so. I have three old prints above the piano, that are of ladies in a french market, buying flowers. Found two at garage sale 25 years ago, when we bought our Craftman's Bungalow, in the attic was a print of the french market of flowers. I do not know the artist,I may need to go take a look! The prints just look so great with the Monet, which was given to me while I was working out of state, a lady came to visit my daughter and saw my french market prints, and brought back the Monet, I have no idea who she was, but I love her. lol

  45. Debbie... thanks for stopping by French Lique... I invite you to read my very first post on my blog... it reveals the truth about "French Lique"... I now consider it my guilty pleasure... wink-wink

  46. be still my heart... all the things i adore in one place... gorgeous post!

  47. Beautiful trip, thanks for taking us!
    I love Monet , one of my favs. I have a print of Monet's hanging in my living room.
    Saw some of his actual work this last year at the Seattle Art Museum, amazing!

  48. I love Giverny! While living in Paris, a group of about 15 ladies {myself included} rented bikes and toured around for the day. When we passed the chapel, a very happy bride and groom were just leaving! It is one magical place and definitely on my list of favorite day trips near Paris. Love your blog!

  49. How well I remember Monet's Garden. It made a powerful impression on me. Once we went there in April and it SNOWED on us on the drive back to Paris. We ate at the American Art Museum that time and I had Goat Cheese Salad. It was delicious! Another time we went to Giverny in June and it was so hot we practically wilted. But each time it was perfectly beautiful. I will visit the church yard next time. Thanks for the virtual tour.
    Hugs, Laura

  50. C'est si bon..I am so happy to have found your blog. I spent two weeks in France on a cooking tour many years ago.It has become the inspiration for my cooking passion, and love of plates. Your visit to Provence was so similar to mine. You do have a few photos I wish I had from Gourdes which is where the home was that we stayed for a week with the writer of a french cookbook. Peter Mayle had a house down the street. I will always remember the fountains on so many streets, and of course the Louve's wall painting of Monet's white turkeys. Noone ever seems to remember those turkeys he raised. Can't wait for another day trip. Sorry it's taken me so long to find you, I am new to blogland. Would it be possible to share with me some of those photos in Provence from your retirement vacation? My email address is My mother in law took me there, she is no longer with us, but we did have the time of our lives together there.


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