We all love the impressionist¬†Claude Monet’s paintings, don’t we? The bridge over the pond with water-lilies, the poppies, the cliffs of Etretat, sailing-boats, pretty ladies¬†and many more. The colours are wonderful¬†and the paintings soothing in their simplicity.

For the longest of times I have been wanting to visit this famous painter’s home and gardens in Giverny, 75 km Northwest of Paris. Last week I finally did, on the opening day of the season; the day before the Easter weekend started in France, so very much off season, which was a good thing as one of my friends explained. She had visited Giverny during ¬†high season almost 2o years ago, and she said this visit was a totally different experience and not much of a repeat at all, since she was now able to enjoy the visit so much more without the hoards of people everywhere. At times it felt like we had the home and gardens all to ourselves, almost. And it felt like we got a glimpse of the man himself:
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I can strongly recommend a visit there, so let me show you why:

I loved the house. It felt like stepping back in time, but still very much alive. Big light rooms, beautiful bedrooms with a view over the garden, an amazing bluetiful kitchen and a bright sunny yellow dining-room among others.

 

Only twice before I¬†have felt the urge to move into somebody well-known’s home right¬†there and then; Mark Twain’s home in Hartford, Connecticut, and of course the unforgettable Graceland, the home of Elvis Presley¬†in Memphis, Tennessee, but Claude Monet’s home is right up there, so lovely and¬†so inviting.

It might have been a bit too early to fully appreciate the magnificient garden with lots of different flowerbeds – and a bit unexpectedly chickens and turkeys… Having seen pictures from other times of the year, I think it is even more lush and beautiful then. But the upside is that we got to have it pretty much to ourselves, not feeling like we were in the crowds of Disneyland…

The Japanese Garden just took my breath away. So beautifully planned and executed; an oasis on the roadside. What a fantastic place to meditate, collect one’s thoughts or just enjoy. Instant tranquility. I loved it the most.

Practical tips:

Get your entrance tickets¬†over the internet and avoid the queues to get in, since you will then be allowed to enter through the less crowded entrance for groups…

If you get there by car and early enough there is a wonderful parking-lot [80 parking-spaces only]¬†in front of Monet’s home, otherwise you will find another two HUGE¬†parking-lots within walking-distance. In either case you should visit the aforementioned centrally located parking-lot, because¬†of the nice restaurant, Les Nymph√©as, and the quaint little shop next door. If it is your lucky day there will also be an icecream car…

The official giftshop is also well worth a visit with its huge Monet selection and friendly staff.