Skip to main content

A day in Claude Monet’s garden, Giverny, France



Oh what a beautiful world Claude Monet created around his home in the small village of Giverny, just about an hour out of Paris.

The plantings are casual – drifts of nasturtiums, bold beds of geraniums, and blocks of other brightly coloured flowers dance around the garden but the effect is soothing.

It provided inspiration for this famous painter for more than 20 years and it’s not hard to see why.





I visited the garden with a Trafalgar Insider tour and Travel Director Sarah told us that Monet actually thought he was a better cook than painter.  From the size of his dining table, meals must have been a popular event and the large kitchen was well equipped to handle a crowd.  

The dining table is long and set with a white cloth and 14 yellow chairs that often featured in his paintings. A long row of shiny copper pans hang on the blue tiled kitchen walls but the now the wood stove is cold. You can’t take photographs in the house but I managed to capture a glimpse through the kitchen door.



The house was damaged during the World War II and then later the staircase collapsed and floors and ceilings rotted. After 10 years of restoration work, Monet’s house and garden was opened to the public in the 1980s.  Visitors can wander through the gardens and the house from April 1 to November 1 each year. When the property is closed the gardens are replanted for the following year’s opening.

There are two sections to the garden - a flower garden called Clos Normand in front of the house and a Japanese inspired water garden on the other side of the road. Today the water garden is reached via 
a subway but in Monet’s time he merely strolled across the road.







The water garden is where you will find the famous green Japanese bridge draped with wisterias.  There are other similar small bridges and graceful weeping willows all surrounded by a swath of flowers. As I wander the willow-shaded pathways, my Trafalgar Travel Director, Sarah, reminds me to look at the reflections, not just the view, as the reflections feature strongly in Monet’s paintings.

After I’ve had my fill of the garden and house it’s off down to the historic Giverny village for lunch at the café.  It seems to be the only one around but that certainly hasn’t made them complacent and the food and coffee are good.





There’s a short, self-guided walk through the village which has a lovely church to view. 

Monet’s spirit remains in these flower-filled gardens, in the studio filled with paintings just as he liked to view them and in the garden view through the wide open windows visible from his comfortable bed.

Disclaimer: Kerry Heaney travelled to Monet’s Garden  as a guest of Trafalgar on a Trafalgar Insider tour



Comments

Popular posts from this blog

Brisbane's top 10 'chew with a view' restaurants and cafes

It's a beautiful day! Where can you go and dine in the warm sun with a view that you'll never want to leave?

Here are ten top places in and around Brisbane to while away a lunch hour or a whole afternoon when the weather is warm and the skies are blue .

River Quay, South Bank

South Bank’s River Quay precinct has plenty of opportunities to relax in the sunshine and just about any restaurant at River Quay will offer a great spot for a winter lunch with a large, grassed lawn rolling down to the river bank.  You can even lie in the sun if you so desire.

Stop for champagne, oysters and more at Cove Bar and Dining, enjoy French provincial food at Aquitaine Brasserie, take in the river view from a Balinese daybed while you tuck into the contemporary menu at The Jetty, feast on Italian cuisine at Popolo or sip a long drink on the riverside deck of Stokehouse Q where the menu draws on local produce combined with bold flavours from the Mediterranean.

River Quay is the spot for Sunday …

Thar she blows - how to hunt whales the friendly way

A grunt and a spurt of seawater rising into the air show the position of a mother humpback whale and her three-week-old calf.

I'm on purpose-designed whale watching boat and we have motored for an hour over the calm seas of the great sandy straits up the coastline of Fraser Island





Captain Phil tells the 50 or so people aboard that the tip of the island is where we will see the whales and he is right.

Our first mother and calf are a little shy at first, keeping the boat at a good distance but I can clearly see the much smaller calf swimming strongly beside its mother.




I'm fascinated by the large circles of calm water that float past us and Phil tells us these are whale footprints

"They break the water tension when they flick their tails to swim down resulting in the clear circles on the water,” Phil says.

Sailors used whale footprints to track whales back in the bad old days when whales were valued more for their blubber than their beauty.

Our next mother and calf are a l…

Lunch amongst the lavender in the Scenic Rim

It was time to brush the cobwebs off the motor bike over Easter and head out of Brisbane into the beautiful Scenic Rim.

We started down the highway towards Beenleigh in beautiful autumn sunshine and stopped for a coffee at The Outpost Cafe at Canungra.  This is a well known bikies hangout but don't expect too much in the way of chains and dreadlocks - it's more favoured by the middle aged bikie enjoying the freedom of the road second time round.

The road less travelled is always our favoured route for this type of outing and we back tracked through Rathdowney before reaching our destination for the day, Kooroomba Lavender Farm about 65 minutes from Brisbane in the Scenic Rim at Mt Alford near Boonah.

Autumn is not the premium time for viewing either the vineyard or the lavender but the view across the valley to the mountains was still outstanding.  The building has a New Zealand lodge feel to it with plenty of stone walls both inside and outside, complimented by timber and ex…

Ten top things to do in Noosa Heads

It doesn't matter how many times I head down the hill on Noosa Drive towards the ocean, I still get a little shiver of excitement every time. This very special part of the world has achieved international recognition for its unique environment and I am privileged to be able to dip my toes into it on a regular basis.

Here are ten of my favourite Noosa pastimes.





1. Although it’s always tempting to sleep in, I don't like to waste a moment of the day when I wake up in Noosa. The best way to start is in the coffee queue at Sails on Hastings Street and then a stroll along the winding boardwalk to the National Park, koala spotting along the way.





Depending on my mood and energy level, I continue the walk through the park to enjoy the beachside views. Some like to run it. You can pick up a coffee at the information hut in the national park as well.





2. After a bit of exercise there's nothing like a big breakie at Aromas and a spot of people watching. With t…

Lots to explore at Brisbane's South Bank

Four markets in one day - what a way to spend a Sunday!

We started at the organic markets at Downy Park, Windsor which was not such a good idea. Why? Well we took the dog and the place was full of puddles - he's a corgi with very low legs - it all ended up being very messy.

Also, these markets definitely finish up on their advertised closing time of 10.30am.  Call me slow or just plain lazy but I find it hard to get out and about early on a Sunday morning. We arrived primed for breakfast at 10am just as everyone was shutting up - they had even run out of bread for French toast!

However, this market was just the first on our list. Next, we drove to South Bank Parklands to explore the Young Designers Market and the Granite Belt Flavours Market - both on the same day.

Several designer/clothes/jewellery purchases later, K2 subdued his inner male and agreed to look for the Granite Belt Flavours market which was not in its usual spot.  On the way, we walked through the regular South Ba…