Pros: Beautiful Gardens!
Cons: Can be way too crowded.
I've recently returned to Epinions after an extended absence. Just looking through my old reviews (and reliving some of my previous travels), I came across my review of Monet's Gardens. When I posted it in June of 2000, there was not a specific category and I listed in under a general France category. Now, there is a proper place to post it, so I have updated it here... Thanks for reading!
On a previous trip to Paris, we planned two day-trips out of the city. One place in particular I had wanted to visit for quite some time. The place is Monets Gardens.
"Claude Monet was born in Paris in 1840. As a young man, he met many contemporary painters, a few who introduced him to the pleasure of painting outdoors in natural settings. After some years, he settled in Giverny in 1883 and shortly thereafter, he wrote, I am filled with delight, Giverny is a splendid spot for me.... He would rise every morning at five oclock to wander along the paths of Giverny and it was here that he began his Series which later made him famous. He died here at his home in 1926."
Hoping to avoid some of the tourist crowd, we arrived promptly at opening time. I highly recommend arriving early as it gets very, very crowded. We first explored the flower gardens. Here, we wandered the paths, row after row of the most vivid and abundant blooms you can imagine. (We visited in late May.) I wanted to take pictures at every turn. It was an explosion of brilliant color. Claude Monet did not prefer organized gardens. He placed flowers according to their colors and left them to grow freely. I wasnt prepared for the beauty that I would see here in the gardens. There were hundreds of varieties of flowers, in every color imaginable. Being a novice flower gardener, I was truly in awe of the dazzling palette. I have always admired Monets works and now to have seen these beautiful gardens, I can better grasp his source of inspiration.
Eventually, we crossed over to the water gardens. These were created on a separate property, but are connected by a passage under the road. It was cool and refreshing. In the ponds, grows every known variety of water lily. Surrounding the ponds were weeping willows, heather, rhododendrons and azaleas and wisteria. In other areas were several varieties of irises, peonies and other flowering shrubs. Monet found inspiration in this water garden. In my mind, I could so clearly see Monets paintings of these ponds.
Finally, we went back to explore Monets house. Without a doubt, the crowds had arrived and there was a mass of people. Im sorry to say that the extreme heat had arrived as well. As we entered the house and reading room, the air was stifling, as the room was filled, body to body. Although what we saw was splendid, we opted for a quick exit. The furniture is authentic to the house. We did tour the dining room, painted in bright shades of yellow. The remaining pieces of Limoges dinner service was lovely. The final room that we toured was the charming kitchen. I loved this room, as it is decorated in blue and white, as is my own kitchen. Im sure the rest of the house was just as wonderful and it would be nice to see it with a smaller crowd.
Monets large, open studio now houses the gift shop. Actually, they did have a lot of nice items, especially if you enjoy the style of Monet's works.
We really enjoyed our day in Giverny and especially visiting Monets Gardens and Home. The gardens are open from April 1 through October 31, daily, except Monday. Taking pictures is permitted in the garden, but only from the walkways.
Current admission prices are:
adults : 5.5 (house and garden)
garden only : 4
house only : 1.5
students : 4
disabled persons : 3
children from 7 to 12 : 3
children under 7 : free
When visiting Giverny, be sure to stop at the Musee dArt Americain Giverny. This modern building houses a fine art collection. There are also special exhibits, art introduction courses, concerts, films and tours.
From Paris, we took the RER to Versailles and rented a car (Avis is located inside the train station). From here, it was an easy drive to Giverny. You can also take a train from Paris to Vernon, then a bus or cab for the short ride to Giverny.
For anyone visiting France, especially those interested in gardening will delight in a day spent in Monet's Gardens.
For another interesting, less known place to visit in the area, read my review of Les Andelys http://www.epinions.com/content_103577849476