Claude Monet, The Artist’s Garden And Home

Monet's Garden

“I need flowers, always flowers, even flowers to pick… so that I can paint them on rainy days”

Claude monet

To better appreciate Claude Monet’s paintings, visit his home and famous gardens in Giverny, a small village 50 miles northwest of Paris, in Normandy, France. I dreamed of seeing his beautiful gardens for years and when I actually did make my way there, it was raining yet it was still an unforgettable experience.

Claude Monet’s home and two gardens, The Clos Normand and The Water Garden should be on the “must visit” list of travelers who love beautiful gardens and art history. You must plan well ahead, as the small village of Giverny is one of the most visited sites in Normandy. Unless it rains, you can expect crowds and long lines as over 600,000 people visit the gardens in the 7 months it is normally open each year, from April to October. If it does rain, you will have the beautiful gardens almost to yourself as my husband and I did on a rainy day in April years ago. Going inside Claude Monet’s home, I could almost envision him painting flowers in his studio on a rainy day more than a hundred years before.

Monet's home and garden
Monet’s Home And Gardens Are Beautiful Even On A Gray And Rainy Day

“It is in Giverny that you should see Monet in order to know him, his character, his taste for life, his intimate nature. This house and this garden, it is also a masterpiece, and Monet has put all his life into creating and perfecting it.”

Gustave Geffroy, a French journalist, art critic and one of the earliest historians of the Impressionist art movement

Monet bought the estate in 1883 and lived there with his family for more than 40 years until his death in 1926. The pink color of the stuccoed walls of the home and the emerald green trim were chosen by the artist himself and were unusual colors for this part of France. He had a pergola added to the front of the house that was planted with climbing roses and Virginia creeper so that all the colors would blend in perfectly with the surrounding gardens on three sides of the home.

the grand alley in Monet's garden
Vine Covered Iron Arches Line The Grande Allée From The House To The Back Of The Garden

“We all took to gardening; I dug, planted, weeded myself; in the evening, the children watered. As the situation got better, I did more and more.”

Claude monet

An apple orchard and vegetable garden originally surrounded Monet’s home but as he become more financially sound, he hired a staff of six to assist him with the gardens. He had a greenhouse built where exotic plants were grown. They replaced the orchard with cherry and apricot trees and turned the vegetable gardens into flower gardens. He had trees uprooted that blocked light and had metal archways built and planted with flowering vines to take their place. His newly created flower gardens were filled with thousands of daffodils, tulips, irises, roses, oriental poppies and peonies, depending on the season. During our visit in April the gardens were filled with four varieties of pink tulips massed together, blue forget-me-nots planted underneath, yellow iris and flowering cherry and crab apple trees were all in bloom. It was a sea of pinks, mauves and lilacs as well as blues and yellows with little touches of red offset by all the greenery. Even on a rainy gray day, we were surrounded by color and it was magnificent. Monet once described his garden as “my most beautiful masterpiece” and I agree.

During our visit to the gardens, the rain grew harder and we didn’t get a chance to visit the famous Japanese inspired Water Garden on the other side of the road and railway. That is where you will find the surprisingly small pond and the green Japanese footbridge that were the inspiration for his famous “Water Lilies” paintings. He had the water garden planted with wisterias, water lilies, weeping willows, bamboos and herbaceous plants. While it was disappointing not to have an opportunity to visit The Water Garden, we enjoyed what we saw. We were still looking forward to seeing inside his home.

Monet’s Water Lily Pond, Green Harmony, from 1899

Monet’s home definitely reflects his personality and love for using light and color. Here again, Monet had his hand in the details of renovating the former farmhouse and turning it into a lovely manor house he restored for his family, even so far as to selecting the china. The kitchen and dining room were the heart of the home and were my favorite rooms.

Blue and yellow were one of Monet’s favorite color combinations both in his gardens and in his home. The entire dining room was all done in shades of brightyellow and the floors were red and white. The furniture which was considered modern for the time was also painted yellow. There were glass cabinets that displayed blue earthenware and his yellow and blue chine that was used for special occasions. In the connecting kitchen, the walls were covered with blue and white tile from Rouen and copper pots lined the wall over the impressive stove and fireplace.

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I hope that you will have the opportunity to wander through Claude Monet’s gardens one day. If by chance the weather is predicted to be drizzly, don’t let that stop you from visiting the gardens, as they are delightful even on a rainy day. Monet had a passion for plants and once said that all of his money went into his garden and I think he would be pleased to see how his beloved home and gardens have been restored.

“it’s maybe because of flowers I’ve become a painter”.

Claude Monet

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50 thoughts on “Claude Monet, The Artist’s Garden And Home

  1. I wish I could have seen it when I was there in 2010, but it was not open for the season yet. Instead we went to the Palace of Versailles. Happy Easter!

  2. We were supposed to go to Giverny last Fall, but out trip to Europe was cancelled because of the pandemic. So appreciate seeing your photos and happy you had the opportunity to experience Monet’s house and gardens.

  3. I agree, it is a must-see and should be on everyone’s list. I loved it when we visited 3 years ago. I just finished the chapter in Amanda in France where she visits Monet’s garden. It was like revisiting this amazing place all over again.

  4. That’s a great dining room table! And the kitchen is SO pretty. Haven’t been to Monet’s house, want to go — one of my favorite early modern painters (technically not “modern” I suppose, but you know what I mean). Fun post — thanks.

  5. I probably won’t have the opportunity to wander through his gardens, so thank you for sharing the photos. Several years back, I attended a garden club meeting where the presenter was a local gentleman who had volunteered there for a month each summer. He had wonderful slides and stories. I can imagine it would be a wonderful adventure.

  6. Beautiful!….I love Monet, and maybe I will visit this house since Normandy is one of the places I would like to go….Lovely post!……Abrazotes, Marcela

  7. When I walked into Monet’s kitchen and dining room, I gasped — that sharp intake of breath where you cannot believe your eyes. If I could transfer any two rooms in all the world — from the greatest palace to the coziest home — those are the two I would choose. I’m sorry you missed the water garden, but oh, isn’t just being there the very best?

  8. OH! OH! OH! That kitchen! And his gardens are spectacular. I hope get there one day… you never know. Thank you for sharing!
    Happy Week to you my friend!

  9. This is a wonderful share karen! The gardens and images of Monet’s home are beautiful. We travelled to Paris mamy many years ago and have wonderful memories of the Gardens Of The palace of Versailles..Hope you are well:))

  10. Claude Monet is one of Joe’s favorite artists. He loves the impressionist art and could sit for hours looking at paintings in a museum. Seeing his home must have been like living the dream! The gardens are so beautiful, how could they not be the inspiration for his work! Lovely post Karen!

  11. The word that comes to mind is “abundance.” The gardens are lush and gorgeous and I can almost pick up on the scent, even from here. 🙂

  12. We were in Giverny in the rain in 2019. Feels like a lifetime ago. The gardens were beautiful but we did not stay too long as it was bitterly cold, and we were not dressed for it having come from Normandy 🙂

  13. That must have been a lovely trip, Karen! Never thought about taking a painter-inspired trip. That blue kitchen looks like I’d feel right at home there 🙂

  14. ooooh, I love this!! how incredibly beautiful. I would love to visit there one day. Must be so amazing to walk around and see the “paintings” as you do — in the garden. And that kitchen! Just gorgeous. 🙂 ~Valentina

  15. As you may remember from a recent post, his garden and home are among my most favorite places in the world. I do truly hope we can return someday soon. Thanks for the lovely photos and memories.

  16. I love Monet’s paintings so this post was really interesting to me. Wish now we had visited his home. It’s easy to imagine all the great colors there and his beautiful garden. Thanks for sharing!

  17. I visited there about 10 years ago- lovely gardens! Of course, Monet also loved to cook and there are several cookbooks out with his recipes. I made his ‘Peaches à la Bourdaloue’! Can’t wait to return to France.

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