At the gates of Normandy, halfway between Paris and Rouen, the village where Claude Monet spent half his life is an unmissable stop in Impressionist Normandy. The sites are open from March to October.
From 1883 to his death in 1926, Claude Monet spent more than forty years at Giverny. Fascinated by plants as much as by colours and painting, he designed his flower and water gardens as true works of art. The water garden was notably the source of inspiration for his Grandes Décorations des Nymphéas, or Water Lilies series, bequeathed by Monet to the French nation, and housed at the Musée de l’Orangerie in Paris.
In the house, visitors can discover the different brightly coloured rooms, and the astonishing collection of Japanese prints, arranged under the direction of Monet himself. A few paces further on, the extensive Water Lily workshop today houses the Claude Monet Foundation shop.
Every year, the Museum of Impressionism at Giverny presents two or three temporary exhibitions in cooperation with the Musée d’Orsay in Paris. Situated close to Claude Monet’s house and gardens, it offers a novel approach to understanding the history of the movement, and its impact on modern and contemporary art.
The former Hotel Baudy, which is now a restaurant, existed in Claude Monet’s time, and was frequented by numerous French Impressionists (Cézanne, Renoir, Sisley, Rodin and others) as well as by all the artists from the American colony. An artists’ workshop was built there in 1887 at the initiative of the painters. The room, which can be visited, still retains the feel of days gone by.
The Giverny cultural discovery path links the village’s historic Impressionist sites: the houses once inhabited by artists from the American colony, the school that Claude Monet’s children attended, and the church cemetery where the painter rests. Twenty explanatory signs are scattered around the village, and a map is available from the Tourist Office and the Museum of Impressionism at Giverny.