Located about 50 miles northwest of Paris, Giverny is an idyllic French village known for its most famous resident: Claude Monet. The Impressionist artist lived and worked here from the 1880s until 1926, finding inspiration in open-air scenery. Read on to learn about Monet’s famous home and see how you can step into some of his masterpieces on a tour of Giverny.
Monet once said of himself, “I’m good for nothing except painting and gardening.” As the founder of the Impressionist movement in France, he championed an all-new style of painting. Nature was the premier subject for the Impressionists, and no one embodied this more than Monet. He worked tirelessly to transform the landscape around Giverny into the ethereal place made famous in his artwork. Today, Giverny’s flowerbeds and tranquil pond are as much masterpieces as the work they inspired.
The tranquil greenery of Monet’s Giverny estate served as the setting for much of his later work. He cultivated beautiful gardens and a water lily-filled pond, complete with a wisteria-covered, Japanese-style footbridge and willow trees lining the banks. The iconic structure was built by a local craftsman “for the pleasure of the eye and also for motifs to paint.”
As the colorful flowers rippled in the water and the light shifted throughout the day, Monet would study these changes and capture the scene in his paintings. This Water Lilies series—which consists of around 250 paintings—conveys a sense of peacefulness that comes when surrounded by nature.
More than 200,000 different types of flowers and plants grow at Giverny today. Another impressive sight, and scene Monet captured in his work, is La Grande Allée. Nearly overflowing with greenery and blooms and shaded by archways of climbing vines, La Grande Allée is the verdant pathway leading up to Monet’s home. It was once lined with tall pines which Monet removed, leaving just two trees for his wife to admire.
While you can find different Water Lilies paintings from the series at museums all around the world, the ideal viewing place is at the Musée de l’Orangerie in Paris. Here, eight massive canvases stretch across the walls of several oval-shaped rooms, creating the calm and reflective space that Monet intended. Want to explore Monet’s famous gardens for yourself? Visit Giverny by adding an excursion to your tour of Paris, and get inspired by the stunning landscape.
**Have you visited Giverny on tour]? Is there an artist whose work you’d love to dive into while you’re traveling? Explore our Art & Culture tours to get a more in-depth experience wherever you decide to visit.