I have loved the works of Claude Monet ever since I was a teenager, and every time I have visited France I have wanted to take a trip to his home and garden at Giverny. But there always seemed to be too many other things to do, and too little time. Finally, finally I got the chance to visit this summer, and it was everything I had dreamed it to be. It was literally Monet's famous paintings come to life!
It is easy to see where Monet got his inspiration for his Water Lilies paintings. Because it was summertime, there were water lilies blooming everywhere around his pond.
Of course, since it was summertime, the gardens were absolutely chock-full of visitors. All of the paths were crowded, and it took a lot of patience and creativity to take photos without other people in them. The Japanese bridge that appears in many of Monet's paintings was always filled with people either posing for a photo or taking one.
Monet's flower gardens were absolutely bursting with colorful blooms. The gardens were divided into multiple areas and each area had its own color palette. Since I work at a public garden, I know how much work goes into maintaining a place like this, and I was really impressed.
Unfortunately, we spent so much time outside that we simply ran out of time and could not visit the inside of Monet's home. The line to enter was simply too long.
To visit Monet's garden at Giverny, you can drive, take the train, or book a guided tour. We chose to book a tour, which is the most expensive option, but since we had limited time, we decided it was worth it. We booked a half-day tour with prerecorded audioguide (slightly less expensive than a group tour with a personal guide). It turned out to be a good decision because we did not have to wait in the (long, long, long) line to enter. Group tours have a separate entrance and we walked straight in.
Next time we visit, I think we will try getting to Giverny via train and spending the whole day there. Just outside the gardens, in the town of Giverny, there are places to eat and shop, so it really is a nice day out.