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The Gardens of Monet in Giverny, France

Updated: Oct 6, 2022

A wonderful destination for a river cruise along the Seine River

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The iconic water lilies, Japanese Bridge, weeping willows, purple wisteria and green bamboo… they all look just as they did when Claude Monet captured them with his quick impressionist brushstrokes – and just as inspiring. Even for those who’ve never strolled through them, the gardens instantly evoke a familiar feel and are surely a part of any art lover’s bucket list.

Claude Monet, born in Paris in 1840, is sometimes referred to the Father of Impressionism. The term ‘impressionism’ came from the title of his painting Impressions, soleil levant (Impression, Sunrise). Artists Monet, Manet, Renoir, and Degas were the first to begin a new way of expression, changing the face of art forever, although at first they were widely mocked and criticized. Up until then, paintings were more traditional. Monet used short, quick brushstrokes to illustrate movement and the play of light. He painted outdoors when artists at that time only used their studios. He was both a revolutionary and a visionary.

In 1883, Monet first saw the pastoral town of Giverny, population 301. To an artist born and raised in the hustle and bustle of Paris, it was a quiet utopian paradise where he could move his family and draw inspiration for his paintings for most of his life. After moving in, he quickly set about designing the home and garden. Each room in his house has a distinct color scheme, chosen by the master himself.

Of course one of his signature masterpieces is his iconic garden, forever memorialized in his many paintings. Nowadays, a Monet water lilies painting could sell upwards of eighty million dollars, but since the 1980s, the garden has been open to the public for all to enjoy.

It was meticulously designed and tended to by Monet with the specific intention to paint the landscapes he created. Vibrant flowers, unique plants, and stunning landscaping are a thrill for horticulturists, landscapers, and architects alike along with art lovers and historians. Monet spent over forty years of his life painting in and around the garden. Indeed, the landscape is so bursting with color and flowers in full bloom – that it may almost be difficult to distinguish the gardens from the artwork.

On our French river cruise on the Seine next year, one of the stops is in Vernon. From here, we’ll have a chance to tour Monet’s home and gardens in Giverny.

For non-art lovers, another option is to visit the Chateau de Gaillon and the Gardens d’Acquigny. The chateau was built in 1502 and originally housed the best fountain in France, over 22 feet high. A fire burned the cathedral in 1764, but later the chateau was rebuilt.

My husband Sean and I are excited for this cruise, and I can’t wait to have you join us, if you’d like!

I have some group space blocked out just for you, so if a river cruise has been on your bucket list, you should come with us! There are different room categories and price points available, and all of your food and excursions are included on this magical cruise on the Seine River!

In a previous post, I talked about a couple of other stops, the Beaches of Normandy and Caudebec-en-Caux. Click to read more about them.

If you’d like more info on the cruise, click here. It’s happening Oct. 14-21, 2023, and I’d absolutely love to have some friends come along!

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