1. The main problem with living somewhere like Paris, is that you can always tell yourself you’ll go somewhere – the Louvre, Normandy, Versailles – “sometime.” That’s exactly what happened to me with Giverny. Even though I’ve wanted to go to the place where Monet painted his famous waterlilies (known as the nymphéas in French) for as long as I can remember, I kept putting it off, telling myself I had tons of time to go. Well this year, in honor of my 30th birthday, Little Sister made this trip her present to me.
2. The garden itself grows semi-wild in front of the pink-and-green house where Monet lived with his family. On the June afternoon when we went, it was rainy, but somehow the stormclouds cleared for just enough time so that we could explore the grounds while remaining relatively dry.
3. It’s strange to be able to finally see the true scenery that so inspired Monet towards the end of his life. His rowboat pictures have long been some of my favorites, so seeing the green boat floating on the pond beyond the gardens was one of the highlights of the trip for me.
4. When the stormclouds returned, we took sanctuary inside the house itself. Here you can see some of Monet’s favorite paintings, many of which come from Japan and show where he got the influence for his Japanese bridge and gardens. But of course, I was most bewitched by the antique kitchen, including a swoon-worthy range, beautiful blue tiling, and copper pots throughout.
5. You could easily spend a whole day in Giverny, but if you’re not in Paris for that long, it’s not necessary. It’s a quick train-and-busride from the city, and we found that five hours total was sufficient to get there, visit at our leisure, and return to Paris via gare Montparnasse – which gives you more than enough time to spend the afternoon visiting one of the museums that are home to Monet’s masterpieces, like the Marmottan or the Orangerie, which has eight of his large-scale waterlily paintings.