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Monet's Garden

Jul 16, 2008
You can visit Monet's garden at Giverny in France - it's a truly wonderful experience.

The artist Money created a lasting and wonderful garden in the small town of Giverny near to Paris. The garden was where he did many of his paintings and the inspirational scenes remain today. Visiting Monet's garden is like walking around inside an impressionist painting.

Giverny is less than an hour to the west of Paris. The garden is open from April to October except on Mondays - it's a wonderful place to visit but beware - it's very popular with tourists - and you're not likely to find a quiet time or place for reflection.

The water lily pond with the Japanese bridge that features in one of the artists most famous - and certainly most reproduced - paintings forms the centre point of the garden. The plants grow in great drifts of colour and you can clearly see where the inspiration for the impressionist style of painting came from. Not all of the garden is based around flowers. Some of the most pleasant sights are of the lawns and shrubs planted by Claude Monet - his eye for design and balance is to be found everywhere you look - even in the smallest details.

Monet lived in the house by the garden from 1883 until he died in 1926 and he believed that the garden was his greatest masterpiece - a bigger work than any of the paintings that the garden gave life to. The gardens are maintained by great squads of gardeners and helpers who work from dawn to dusk year round to ensure that the gift to the world left by the artist is regenerated year after year.

The best time to visit Monet's garden is probably in May or June when the rhododendrons are in full bloom and the wisteria is draping itself over the Japanses bridge - but to be honest, the whole place is overwhelmingly beautiful at any time of the year.

You can get to Giverny by taking a train from the Gare Paris St Lazare to the nearby town of Vernon. The journey takes about forty minutes and there are five trains a day. Once at Vernon you can either take a bus from the station or rent a bike and enjoy the short cycle to the outskirts of Giverny. You can also take a bus from the centre of Paris to Giverny itself - a pleasant and quiet small town with many nice cafes and bistros.

Near to Monet's garden is the Musee d'Art Americain - a large museum devoted to the work of the American artists who came to France at and around the turn of the century to sit at the feet of the great impressionist masters.

As a day trip from Paris - or as part of a specialist garden tour - a visit to the artists garden at Giverny is a wonderful way to pass the time. You can step back into a time when the world was a different place and when life truly ran at a different pace. Take your camera (and maybe your sketch pad) and perhaps you'll be inspired too to create either a work of art or another great garden of your own when you return home.
About the Author
Gary Hill is a travel journalist from Scotland. He has a special interest in Europe vacations and his writing career started after one night in Paris in the nineteen seventies - dont ask! He now lives and works for part of the year in Barcelona.
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