Probably the most visited garden in the world, it continues to provide inspiration for gardeners young and old and insight into the extraordinary artist, gardener and man himself.
Giverny is essentially a floral representation of impressionism and it is here, that Claude Monet created the garden scenes familiar in many of his much loved and greatest works.
As well as exploring the extraordinary garden, created by Monet, himself, his home and studio is open to the public for most of the year.
Plantings are arranged to enhance colours in the sunlight at very times of the day, with emphasis on dawn tones facing east for the best early morning illumination and west facing beds to glow with sunset hues at dusk. Bright colours lose less of their impact in the middle of the day. This was clearly evident on my visit in early May, when the gardens were ablaze with iris, tulips and more. Colours, in the section of the garden close to the house, literally danced. It was like being immersed in a great impressionist painting.
Under a bridge that safely conveys visitors under a modern road, is the lily pond garden, resplendant with the famous bridge covered in wisteria and the little boat. Azaleas took centre stage, alongside the wisteria, in full bloom on our visit and the water lilies themselves, croaking with very load bull frogs, whose mating displays were a further, if surprising attraction.
The house interior is a further joy, full of Japanese prints, original furniture and a devine blue and yellow kitchen, made richer with a decorative and practical array of copper cooking items.
The studio contains replicas of many of his famous works, so it too is worth savouring.
We travelled by train as a day trip from Paris and then took a bus to the village of Giverny. Queues at the entrance were long, so it's best to purchase your enrty ticket online, in advance. We spent 3/4 of an hour queueing to get through the entrance.
My best advice is to book accomodation in Giverny some months in advance, or nearby, to easily enable a full day at Clos Normand and also visit the nearby gallery of impressionist works, including those of Monet's, located at the bus and car park, at the entrance to the village. The tiny village of Giverny is in itself a delight and worthy of exploration!
We purchased a late lunch in the village and enjoyed a snack at the cafe within Monet's house. Food in Giverny, like elsewhere in France, was exceptional and reasonably priced for an iconic tourist destination.
If you ever have the opportunity, to get to Giverny, sieze it with open arms; it is an experience you will never forget and treasure.
Any exhibition of Monet's masterful impressionist paintings is similarly worth a visit, either in France itself, or elsewhere. The famous water lily series are housed as a permanent feature, within the Orangerie, in Paris. Shorter queues as Musee D'Orsay and as exquisite a collection of wonderful impressionist works and those of their contemporaraies. Don't miss Musee D'Orsay either!
The photos I took on my visit, should help inspire your own gardening and aspirations for seeing Le Clos Normand yourself!
Information, opening times and transport details.