Paris & London/Chelsea Flower Show
May 17-26, 2008 Tour

May 20, Day 4.

Today, a full day excursion to Giverny, where Claude Monet lived and worked during the last (and most productive) part of his life. His house and gardens remain, known as the Foundation Claude Monet, and everywhere you look is a familiar garden scene you have seen in countless artwork.

“If, I can someday see M. Claude Monet's garden, I feel sure that I shall see something that is not so much a garden of flowers as of colours and tones, less an old-fashioned flower garden than a colour garden, so to speak, one that achieves an effect not entirely nature's, because it was planted so that only the flowers with matching colours will bloom at the same time, harmonized in an infinite stretch of blue or pink."

The house, with its pink roughcast façade, where the leader of the Impressionist School lived from 1883 to 1926, once again has the colourful decor and intimate charm of former times. The precious collection of Japanese engravings is displayed in several rooms, as the master of Giverny himself had chosen to. The huge Nympheas studio, a stone's throw from the house, has also been restored. It houses the Foundation's Shop. The gardens have been replanted as they once were and offer for the admiration of visitors the "painting from nature" which Claude Monet's contemporaries considered one of his masterpieces. The rectangular Clos Normand, with archways of climbing plants entwined around brilliantly coloured shrubs, lays varying colours of the painter-gardener who was "ecstatic about flowers". Lastly, the Water Garden, formed by a tributary of the Epte, lies further away, shaded by weeping willows. With its famous Japanese Bridge, its wisterias, azaleas and its pond, it has once more become that setting of sky and water which inspired the pictorial universe of the water lilies….stunning!

After visiting the gift shop we are lead out the back way which just happens to be the way to the Hotel Baudy and further on the church where Monet is buried. This lane is so beautiful, on either side profusions of iris and roses all the way, I would think for a good two to three blocks. There are little shops and places to sit and drink and each one has its own garden brimming with plants. Along this way there is a garden that belongs to the Musee d/Art Americain Giverny presenting the unique collection of the Terra Foundation for the Arts, in a setting that calls to mind the Impressionists landscapes painted by American artists in France during the time of Claude Monet. The gardens are ‘rooms’ each containing different types of plants and was really a delightful surprise to see.

and then the Hotel Baudy Rose Garden for Lunch.

‘In the Spring of 1886, the American painter William Metcalf appears in the doorway of Angelina and Gaston Baudy’s cafe and grocer’s shop in Giverny. He is looking for a room to rent, but the lady of the house does not have any, and besides, as she told later, this tall fellow, who looks like a tramp and speaks gibberish, makes her nervous. He returns a few days later though, along with three other Americans - painters like him. Madame Baudy cooks them a meal, and even offers them her room. They are amazed to hear that Claude Monet, the impressionist master, lives but a few yards away. He in fact asks them over and treats them to lunch. Back to Academie Julian, in Paris, they are enthusiastic: Claude Monet lives in Giverny. That’s a small village in Normandy with a boarding house where you get room and board at incredibly low prices !. From then on, hordes of young and bearded merry young men jump off the local train every week-end. It is the rush to the cafe and grocer’s shop in Giverny. A first painter’s workshop is set up in the garden, soon to be followed by two more. Now the boarding house has become Hotel Baudy, where one has fun late into the night, where walls get covered with paintings, tokens of friendship... or of payment. Renoir, Rodin, Sisley, Pissaro, stay at the hotel. Monet and Clemenceau are often seen talking together for hours in the park. However, the majority of patrons are painters from over the Ocean : Metcalf, Sargent, Robinson,Hart, Butler, Beckwith, Watson, Young, Mc Monnies, Frieseke, Mary Cassat, Collins, Perry... and so many others that the hotel eventually becomes known as the American Painters Hotel.



  • New Eden
  • Kids Garden
  • Plant a Row Grow a Row