Springtime in Giverny

Giverny, designed by artist Claude Monet, looks good in any season, but spring time visits are glorious! Bulbs, early spring flowers, blooming shrubs and trees, make it a impressionistic painting of flowers. Visually striking from the moment you step foot in the garden, most people upon entering, pause and let it all soak in before continuing.

The iconic lily pad pond: in the early spring, the lily pads are just starting
Lily pads are much more evident in September

Visiting Giverny

Giverny, a quaint Norman village set on the banks of the Seine which runs through Paris, is the scene of many of Claude Monet’s most famous and iconic works. Full of picturesque towns and lovely countryside landscapes, Giverny was the perfect backdrop for Monet’s painterly style of impressionistic landscapes of open countryside, quaint villages, and beaches. ‘En Plein Air’ was the coined term for painting outdoors using natural light- not a studio.

Plein Air painting uses natural light

Claude Monet lived in Giverny for 43 years, and continued to paint even though in later years, he was in poor health.  Monet’s most famous painting of the lily pads at Giverny is known all over the world and he designed and created those gardens. Painting Giverny at all times of the year presented him with an endless palette of flowers by season. Go to Monet’s Garden Calendar  to see the succession of flowers by month.

One of Monet’s paintings of Giverny

Edging of blue Campanula

In September the tulips are replaced with blooming dahlias
Nasturtiums cover the ground beneath the metal arches in September
In September the pathways almost disappear because of the overflowing abundance of flowers

Close Normand

I am happy to be visiting Giverny in April!

Next to the house is the Close Normand, with its metallic arches underplanted with bulbs and wildflowers. When I visited it in the spring, tulips were the main flower and in September it was the orange nasturtium. The flowers are carefully selected so that from early spring to late summer, a succession of color is on display. Just steps away from the front door, you can imagine Monet walking out with coffee in hand to the garden every morning to see what was blooming.

Go Go Red tulip along the pond drew my eye

To prevent people from treading on plants, the inner alleys are closed off to the public and visitors can walk on the side alleys to admire the garden.

Arches in Clos Normand at Giverny

A central alley separates the Clos into two parts and is a veritable mélange and symphony of colors. Flowerbeds, fruit trees, ornamental trees, climbing roses, annuals, perennials fill the area. You can tell that Claude Monet didn’t like organized or constrained gardens. He loved the billowing display of cottagey type of gardens. And he was a plant collector which I can relate to and spent a a lot of money acquiring rare and unusual plants. To read more about his long life, go to About Claude Monet and read about his interesting life.

Lilacs were starting to bloom

Alyssum or Basket of Gold edging a pathway
Pink tulips underplanted with forget me nots
I loved this fringed tulip
My traveling companion of the day, Sara, admiring a tree peony that is protected with a straw canopy

A pathway goes around the perimeter of the pond
Blazing azaleas were in full bloom


Water Garden

Water Garden

Venturing into the water garden, which is on the other side of a road, you go through an underground passageway and emerge into a different world entirely and can travel around the pond seeing it through different perspectives. The still water reflects everything!

As you walk around the very large pond, the flowers are grouped by color. You pass through a white area, red, blue, yellow, and pink areas that lead you along the pathway.

Spanish Bluebells
Looking at the pond through a Japanese Maple
Ferns and Wildflowers line the pond
White tulips
Red area of the pond

Monet was inspired by Japanese prints to create a man-made pond and diverted a river in town to create it. In keeping with the Asian theme, Monet planted bamboo, ginkgo trees, and Japanese peonies with weeping willows dripping into the pond.

Wisteria planted by Claude Monet and weeping willows drip into the pond

Photographing the scene is a photographer’s dream, with the reflection of the willows and bridge on the water. Japanese cherry trees and azaleas ring the pond with color mixed with flowering bulbs and pansies and violas for a riot of color. The famous Japanese bridge is covered with wisteria and was just starting to bloom when I visited this spring.

A riot of color covered every inch of space around the pond

Monet died in 1926 and the garden was taken care of by his step-daughter Blanche for a number of years. But after the Second World War, the property fell into disrepair from bombings and neglect. Over the course of 10 years Giverny was restored to it’s former magnificence with the pond having to be re-excavated as it had filled in. The house was fully restored and has been open to the public since 1980.

Entrance to the house has Kelly Green Trim
Monet’s studio with his paintings and artworks from his Impressionistic friends
View from an upstairs room
Yellow kitchen

Traveling from Giverny, we passed through La Roche-Guyon, which located about 10 kilometers from Giverny is labeled as one of the most beautiful villages in France. A place that I have put on my list as to go back to when I have more time!

7 Replies to “Springtime in Giverny”

  1. Claire- fabulous picture – I have been their twice – once in late spring and once in the late fall – so these beautiful picture round out the beauty of this special place for me – Thank you for sharing


  2. Thanks for the tour! It was a lovely way to spend some Mother’s Day time away to a magical place. You never fail to engage me..Happy Mothers Day!!

  3. My favorite place on the whole European tour! You captured the beauty of Monet’s gardens and home perfectly. Your post brings back many happy memories of this breathtaking place! Happy Mother’s Day!

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