This enchanting country village owes its fame to the family home of the great Impressionist painter Claude Monet, who came to live in Giverny in 1883 and stayed until his death in 1926.
A visit to the pink house with the green shutters is moving: you can admire all the original interiors that belonged to the painter, such as the yellow dining room and the blue-tiled kitchen or the personal collection of Japanese prints.
But the real wonder is the garden, which in the spring and summer months overflows with flowers and colours, a true paradise for the eyes: the painter had the course of the river Epte diverted to feed his Japanese-style gardens with small bridges and canals. This is where Monet spent many hours, travelling in his little boat and painting the series of paintings that made him famous, the Water Lilies.
The Claude Monet Foundation looks after the gardens and Claude Monet’s house with great dedication. The gardens are divided into 2 parts: the Water Garden with its water lilies and its famous Japanese bridge, and the Clos Normand which is next to Claude Monet’s House.
Claude Monet spent many years in Giverny. His gardens, which he modelled, shaped and tended with incredible care, were an endless source of inspiration. Art lovers and lovers of the Impressionist period will not miss the opportunity to visit, with incredible emotion, the places that come alive in his world-famous works.
The estate remained in a state of neglect for a long time and it took about fifty years for the garden to shine again with the same features that were immortalised by the French painter.
The visit starts at Claude Monet’s house, with its iconic pink façade with green shutters. The climbing vines and colourful flower beds, with their apparent disorder, are actually the result of constant care, creating a magnificent harmony.
Inside, you will find that you enter on tiptoe, in an almost religious silence: in fact, everything seems to remain exactly as Monet left it. In the house are paintings, writings, photographs and a magnificent collection of Japanese prints: everything has remained intact, his objects and furniture from everyday life, as if the painter were to return at any moment.
The yellow dining room instils a sense of great intimacy, with the table set waiting for the master of the house, as does the blue tiled kitchen, conveying all the painter’s enthusiasm for colours and their ability to convey emotions. The huge cooker with its copper cookers and utensils seems to be waiting for their owners to return.
Then you can visit his studio, where he worked meticulously, and the flats on the first floor, with the family’s most intimate rooms: they are the result of a meticulous work of scenographic reconstruction, based on the artist’s memories and paintings.
Exactly opposite the house and the atelier is the Clos Normand, a small French garden, desired and conceived by Monet: the painter-gardener never stopped perfecting it to make it the garden of his dreams, apparently untidy, but in reality the result of immense planning work.
Monet, after endless discussions with his wife Alice, decided to cut down the estate’s fir trees and replace them with great arches of climbing roses. The apple trees were replaced by Japanese cherry and apricot trees and thousands of flowers covered the ground: daffodils, tulips, irises, oriental poppies and peonies creating incredible palettes of colour. In fact, as a great gardening enthusiast, the painter applied his knowledge of painting to create perspective effects, create patches of colour and thus shape nature to suit his art.
The play of light and the reflections of clouds on water have always fascinated Monet, who immortalised them countless times throughout his artistic life. When he moved to Giverny, he bought land near the Clos Normand and diverted the small arm of the Epte, the Ru, thus creating a water garden to paint.
He had a Japanese bridge built, certainly inspired by one of his prints, and had it painted green, to distinguish it from the red traditionally used in Japan. He thus succeeded in creating a rarefied oriental atmosphere, made perfect by the choice of plants: bamboo, ginkgo biloba, maples, Japanese tree peonies, lilies and weeping willows, which beautifully framed the pond, populated by water lilies. Monet introduced a new plant species to the water garden, presented at the 1889 Universal Exhibition and obtained by crossing white water lilies with tropical varieties.
In 1897, he began painting water lilies at Giverny: in his constant quest to reproduce the atmosphere of the sky reflected on the water, Monet produced one of his greatest masterpieces and pushed his painting to the limits of abstract art, where the vibration of colour is enough to evoke a world of sensations and emotions.
The Water Lilies cycle is exhibited at the Musée de l’Orangerie in Paris.
This tiny village of only 500 inhabitants looks like something out of a vintage postcard from the late 19th century. It is the quintessential French country village: idyllic and bucolic, full of low houses with sloping roofs, surrounded by intimate, perfectly manicured gardens overflowing with flowers and fruit trees.
The atmosphere is poetic and despite a few touristy shops selling Monet and nifee-related items, the village of Giverny is a real feast for the eyes: picturesque alleyways, art galleries and tea rooms.
In the past, many artists of the Impressionist movement, including Cézanne and Rodin, travelled to Giverny in search of inspiration and frequented this mythical place.
In this old guesthouse, now converted into a gourmet restaurant, penniless painters used to meet to exchange impressions and confidences, hosted by the indulgent owners Angélina and Gaston Baudy.
If you would like to learn more about the role the village of Giverny played in the development of the Impressionist movement, then a visit to the Museum of Impressionism is recommended. It is housed in a modern building with large windows, flooding the interior with light, and beautiful gardens landscaped by landscape architect Mark Rudkin.
The museum explores life in the village when various Impressionist artists and American painters moved to Giverny, forming a veritable colony of artists. Wonderful works by Maurice Denis, Maximilien Luce, Wendel and a work by Monet’s stepdaughter, Blanche Hoschede Monet, are exhibited, thanks to the patronage of some important American and European museums such as the Musée d’Orsay.
In the following map you can see the location of the main places of interest mentioned in this article
The picturesque village of Giverny is inhabited by only 500 inhabitants and offers a very meagre hotel scene: the few available establishments fill up quickly, especially in the most popular months of spring and summer, when Monet’s gardens are at their most flowery.
On the other hand, there are several family-run B&Bs nestled in the idyllic French countryside: with well-kept gardens, they are always impeccably managed and elegantly furnished.
A good alternative is to find a hotel in Vernon, a small town only 6 km from Giverny.
What's the weather at Giverny? Below are the temperatures and the weather forecast at Giverny for the next few days.
Giverny is a small village located in the Eure department in the Normandy region, about 70 kilometres from Paris.