Many people travel to see great art, from the Mona Lisa at the Louvre to cowboy art in Oklahoma, to rock paintings in the Australian Outback. But there is a place you can see living art: at Oscar-Claude Monet’s gardens in Giverny, France. The gardens, carefully created and tended by the master Impressionist, inspired such works as his Water Lilies series, and Japanese Footbridge series, painted in the late 1800s and early 1900s.
Half a million visitors flock each year to the village in Normandy, where Monet lived for 43 years. They follow in the footsteps of many a painter, dating back to Monet’s time, when Giverny became something of an artists’ colony.
Here are some ways to immerse yourself in the life and work of Claude Monet.
Monet’s Gardens & Home
The gardens have two parts – the one-hectare Clos Normand flower garden, a free-flowing masterpiece of climbing roses, hollyhocks and vibrant annuals; and the Water Garden, where you will find the famous Japanese bridge, weeping willows, bamboo, and nympheas (water lilies).
You can also visit Monet’s home, which is filled with furniture and artworks that belonged to him. The house is long and narrow, featuring Monet’s studio with his apartment above, as well as several bedrooms for his four step-daughters, two sons and two step-sons. Wander through the bright blue sitting room where the children played; the bright yellow dining room, which features prints by Hokusai, Hiroshige and Utamaro; as well as the tiled kitchen lined with copper pans.
The gardens will be open daily from March 24 to November 1 next year, with tickets on sale from early next year (buy online to skip the line). Guided tours are given in English, French and German, but you do need to make an appointment.
If you don’t wish to travel so far afield, head instead to the village of Kitagawa in Kochi, Japan. Here you will find a replica of the Giverny gardens, created with the help of Giverny’s head gardener. It also features a flower garden and water garden (visit from July to October to see blue water lilies); as well as a special light garden, inspired by Monet’s expedition to the Mediterranean, which is filled with palm and olive trees.
More artistic inspiration:
Inspired by art: Brett Whiteley's Sydney
Eclectic mix: Discover Berlin's Alternative Art Scene
Monet’s paintings have travelled far and wide, gracing museums around the world. But if you want to go to ground central, as it were, visit the Musee Marmottan Monet in Paris, which features more than 300 of his works, the largest collection in the world. You’ll also find works by Impressionist painters Degas, Manet, Sisley, Gaugin and Renoir. Also in Paris, the Musee D’Orsay, the Musee de l’Orangerie, and Le Petit Palais house Monet’s works.
You will also find his paintings in California’s Norton Simon Museum, Harvard’s The Fogg Museum, Tokyo’s National Museum of Western Art, London’s National Gallery, and many more museums worldwide.
* Featured image: Getty
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