Just outside Paris, we spent a day at the wonderful gardens of impressionist painter Claude Monet in Giverny. This lovely spot (designed by the artist in the late 1800s) is a totally different experience from the formality of Versailles.

Monet’s painting of the pond

Smaller and more intimate, in perfect relationship to the charming pink and green house, this garden is more my style! The beds are overflowing with a multitude of colorful flowers carefully chosen by the artist for their progression of color and form throughout the seasons. Structure is subtle with a geometric layout formed by gravel paths, low fences of cordoned apple trees, and tall iron arches overgrown with climbing roses.
A second garden at Giverny lies across the road: here Monet created the pond full of the water lilies which became one of his favorite subjects for painting. He had his famous arching Japanese bridge built and grew purple wisteria all along it. Today you can wander the path all around the pond, enjoying one beautiful vista after another. The surrounding trees and bushes create privacy and solitude: how wonderful it must have been for Monet to float quietly in his boat painting the lilies all around him!

Water Lilies

Where: Giverny: Claude Monet’s Home and Gardens
What to do there: gardens, artist’s home, art exhibits, gift shop
Company website: giverny.org/gardens/fcm/visitgb.htm
Country Visa info: US citizens may visit France for 90 days without a visa
Where and how to get there: 75 km from Paris: Bus tours available: Train to Vernon Station (then shuttle bus to Giverny)
Cost: 10.20 Euro adult, 7.5 Euro children
Time: Daily 9:30am to 6pm (March 28 to November 1)
Food: available at kiosks and restaurants outside the gardens
Family experience: Everyone will enjoy exploring the gardens; older children may be interested in the house and the art exhibits