Giverny in Normandy is a picturesque village that captured the heart of Monet, becoming his home town and inspiring many of his most famous works.
A place of pilgrimage for art lovers, especially those interested in Impressionism, Giverny is just how Monet painted it. An idyllic and charming village on the River Seine, Monet first sighted Giverny whilst travelling through the tranquil Normandy countryside on the Vernon-Gasny train. Having settled here with his partner Alice in 1883, by 1887 the village was becoming an artists colony as other artists including Cézanne, Renoir, Sisley, Pissarro and Matisse visited and painted with Monet. Today you can visit Monet's house and his famous gardens which he immortalised in so many of his masterpieces. Monet's house contains reproductions of many of his famous works as well as his huge personal collection of Japanese prints. The real draw is, however, the garden - planted so that the gardens bloom in different colours every month and with the famous Japanese bridge and lake, this is a serene and creative place which inspired a master.
Giverny now boasts a museum dedicated to the exhibition and study of Impressionist paintings, the Musée des Impressionnismes (formerly the Musée d'Art Américain), that explores the international nature of the Impressionaist movement with a focus on the Giverny colony and other artists in the Seine Valley, as well as highlighting the history of Impressionism, post-Impressionism and the Impressionist movements' influence on subsequent artistic movements in the 20th century. The museum also has its own garden which was awarded the Jardin Remarquable (Outstanding Garden) prize in 2006, a structured and contemporary garden that the Impressionists would undoubtedly have loved. In the village is the Hôtel Baudy, where many artists stayed, including Cézanne and Rodin, which is now a café-restaurant with a beautiful garden filled with old roses.
Nearby is the town of Vernon whose Old Mill, an unusual house balanced above the water, inspired Monet and he painted it 1883 soon after moving to Giverny. 7 bronze statues can now be found under the trees near the mill, made by a contemporary Giverny artist. Why not explore more of the area with the Eure Valley tourist train which leaves from Pacy-sur-Eure, taking in the delightful countryside of this attractive region of France?
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