Tuesday, September 18, 2007

Normandy Weekend - Monet's Home and Gardens

I had a wonderful (yet very busy) trip to the Normandy region of France this past weekend! The weather was absolutely gorgeous which made it all the better. Our adventures started bright and early at 8AM when we left on a very nice bus from the American Women's Club.

Our first stop was to Claude Monet's home and gardens in Giverny, France.

Monet and his family settled in Giverny in 1883. Monet discovered the village of Giverny while looking out the window of a train he was riding. He made up his mind and rented a house and the area surrounding it. In 1890 he had enough money to buy the house and land outright and set out to create the magnificent gardens he wanted to paint. His most famous paintings (water lily and Japanese bridge) were of the garden in Giverny. Monet lived in Giverny from 1883 until his death in 1926.

Me overlooking the water lily pond (my favorite area in the gardens):
It was amazing to see all of the different kinds of flowers (many of which I could never identify). The whole experience was so peaceful and calm. Monet must have lived the most stress free life of anyone during that time.

We were also able to tour his home. I am a huge fan of color and really hate white walls...and Monet seemed to be the same way although his taste was a bit more 'bright' than mine! We were unable to take pictures in the house, but I can assure you he loved color!

The outside of his home has bright pink stucco walls contrasted with forest green shutters whilw inside, brilliant yellow hues brighten the dining room and lovely watery blues and greens grace the entry. In the kitchen two tones of blue burst into a riot of color, highlighted with copper pots and blue and white tiles from Rouen.

On display in the dining room are the matching yellow china cabinets filled with a collection of blue and white china pieces as well as the yellow and blue banded dinnerware he had commissioned in his own design. In the center, a large table is set for the family and guests. A pretty fireplace at the end of the room shows off blue and white tiles under a mantle decorated simply with an arrangement of bottle green vases. Japanese prints cover the walls.

The home is one room deep and about five rooms wide, each with windows overlooking the magnificent gardens where great care was taken in the planning and planting. Monet eventually expanded his land to include a small stream, pond, and waterlily gardens on an adjacent property. At one point he employed a staff of 6 gardeners to care for the grounds and keep the gardens supplied with flowering blooms.

Bedroom: Dining Room: Kitchen:

2 comments:

  1. Julie7:16 PM

    These are gorgeous.... Monet was my favorite growing up. Especially high school and college days.
    It was such a treat for me to see his inspirations from his grounds and home.
    Thanks Tippa!

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  2. WOW - now I see where Monet got his inspiration.
    I would love to visit the beaches of Normandy. There are just certain places on earth that we can feel God's presence.

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