Sunday, March 29, 2015

QUICK TRIPS - FRANCE

CLAUDE MONET'S HOUSE AT GIVERNY

A visit to Monet’s beautiful house and gardens seems to be on the Bucket List of most Francophiles visiting Paris.

And why not?


The journey on the Autoroute A14 (with tolls) is just 55 minutes; and on the more suburban A15, it’s just ten minutes longer.


Actually, Giverny is a tiny village near the Seine surrounding Monet’s Estate, so on the maps you are looking to head for the nearby town of Vernon.

Leaving the A14 at Exit 16 onto the D181, head North towards Vernon, and cross the River Seine, joining Rue Claude Monet, and a few minutes later you’re parking the car.


Born in 1840 Monet may just be the most famous of France’s impressionist painters, certainly he was one of the most commercially-successful.

He was a wily bird and obviously made enough from his paintings to establish a very grand estate, building his large house and extensive gardens.

One of the best studies of his life and work are by the author and garden historian Caroline Holmes, but even though you may be attracted to Monet’s style, the Estate is another thing altogether.

The gardens are famous for the lily ponds and the Japanese arched bridge, but wandering among the sections you find just as many apparently wild and untrained areas, as formal beds.



It may look wild, but Monet was a canny gardener as well as a skilled painter. It was all carefully planned by the Master.

Mind you, he was wealthy enough to afford assistants to plant and prune, and the result is one of the most beautiful gardens you will visit.

French schoolchildren’s excursions happen every day during the opening period from April to October, and it was fun seeing the kindergarten class on our visit wander through the flowers.

There’s a very well laid-out flower shop, and a restaurant adjacent to the Estate, and my omelette avec jambon, and glass of Sancerre I had for lunch was just the thing after a fascinating and relaxing 90 minute tour.






If you enjoy fine art and fine gardening, this visit is a must if you’re visiting Paris.

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