I won’t pretend to be knowledgeable about art. I mean, I can tell the difference between impressionism, cubism and surrealism. But if you were to start discussing post-impressionism in great detail or ask for my opinion on baroque, I’d probably look for a polite excuse to escape before my eyes dried up and fell at your feet. It’s not for lack of interest, mind you, but more that I’ve never learned art history and have next to nothing to contribute on the subject.
I can tell you, however, that one of my favourite artists is Claude Monet. Like countless others I’m particularly drawn to his Water Lily series. There’s something about the light he’s captured in each painting that I really like, but can’t put into words.
In fact, my favourite art gallery in Paris is Musée de l’Orangerie mostly because I absolutely love the purpose-built rooms where I can spend as long as I want gazing at his Nymphéas (Water Lilies). And I love this piece of useless information: Monet donated the paintings to the French state, stipulating that the massive panels be displayed exactly as they are seen today – in twin oval rooms oriented from west to east, following the course of the sun. The changing natural light from above gives you an idea of what he saw (and painted) while he worked on these paintings.
During one visit to Paris several years ago, which happened to coincide with peak garden season, I hopped on the opportunity to visit the town of Giverny. More specifically to Claude Monet’s home, where he was inspired and painted his masterpieces. I’m also a big fan of gardens and flowers so the idea of spending a day out in the spring sunshine surrounded by beauty, away from the hustle and bustle of the city was wonderful.
Monet’s garden is split into 2 parts and each is equally as beautiful. There’s a flower garden called, “Clos Normand”, in front of Monet’s house as well as a Japanese inspired water garden on the other side of the road (accessible by foot path under the road). Each garden contrasts and complements the other.
I arranged transportation with France Tourisme and opted for the hotel pick-up, making my day as stress-free as possible. Once the bus arrived at Giverny, we were shown to the entrance and left for several hours to wander the grounds at our leisure before returning to the meeting spot for our return trip to Paris. Easy peasy and I highly recommend it if you’ve got time for a day trip from Paris.
Click here if you’d like to see the rest of my Giverny photo album.
And here’s a neat article by Mental Floss if you’re interested in learning a few facts about Monet’s water lilies.