The impressionist artist Claude Monet once said "My garden is my most beautiful masterpiece" and his living legacy is his garden at Giverny, Normandy.
During the winter months, the garden is closed to the public so that the eight gardeners who work here, have time to feed the soil, sow bulbs and prepare for the spring. On March 24, 2017 the gardens open to the public, filled with spring flowers and blossoms, ready to reveal to visitors the extraordinary living artwork that the great artist left for all to enjoy.
Go any time between March and November when the garden is open and see the garden at its best. In the summer months it gets busy on the walk ways as coach loads of tourists arrive to admire the beauty – this is after all the most visited private garden in Western Europe. If you want to avoid the crowds, go first thing in the morning and have the place almost to yourself.
Around 2 – 3 hours will allow time for a gentle stroll, to stop and wonder and to visit Monet’s house. Filled with colour and light it’s like a time capsule, and has a feeling that the artist has simply popped into the garden to pick some flowers and is about to return. His bed is made, his armchair has a plumped up cushion, his paintings hang on the wall alongside those of artists he admired. The table is set and the kitchen feels cosy and inviting.
There are two gardens, the one closest the house is like a living paint box, swathes of colour that change with the light during the day. The second garden is across the road behind the house. A railway line once crossed here and in fact it was from a train that Monet spotted the house and fell in love it. The train tracks are gone and there is now a road, cross underneath it via a tunnel and you’ll emerge into the water lily garden, Monet’s obsession.
Whether you go in the morning or afternoon, make time for lunch in the town of Giverny and to take a wander. There are several restaurants and places to picnic in this small and very pretty village. There’s also a museum of impressionism, a helpful tourist office and a charming church where Monet is buried just minutes from his beloved house and garden.
There are lots of places to stay in the area but for a true taste of Norman tradition, the enchanting Maison de Vacances at Dampsmesnil with its beautiful garden full of flowers is a real treat.
Find loads more gorgeous gites and charming cottages for your French holiday here on French Connections and details for times and opening of Monet’s Garden here.