France: you are one beautiful country! When I am writing this, my mother and I just got back from our road-trip through France. We are exhausted, but immensely happy when we think back of the beautiful things we saw abroad. Luckily, I captured most of these beauties and brought them home for both you and myself to enjoy!
This first blog post about our road-trip is about our first stop, Giverny. Here, we dived into impressionism, in all its forms – from photographs and paintings, to real-life.
On our first day in Giverny, we visited the Musée des Impressionismes, which is a small art museum located in the centre of the village. From July 31 until November 1, 2015, the museum focuses on “Photographing Monet’s Gardens: Five Contemporary Views”, which featured beautiful photographs from five different artists in five very different styles. We visited the exposition before we visited the gardens itself (spoiler alert!), so we had a good idea of what was to come and how we could photograph Claude Monet’s famous waterlily gardens.
The photograph above was made by Eiger Essen and here you can find a selection of my favorite photos:
But on our second day in Giverny, it was finally time to see Monet’s waterlily gardens in real-life. I was skeptical: would the garden be as beautiful as Monet had painted it, so many years ago? Short answer: it was. Long answer: it was every bit as beautiful and magical as you think it would be. The way all the plants and flowers reflect in the cool water, the way the light shines through the leaves of the trees in the most idyllic way possible and the way colors seemed to be brighter: the entire garden looked as if it was a painting. It was so easy to imagine Claude Monet painting everything and it was really inspiring to be in that same place where he created such beautiful art.
Thinking of visiting the waterlily gardens? My tip: buy your tickets in advance. The gardens draw a lot of tourists and to avoid standing in line for hours, you can access the gardens via a the group entrance, which is also the entrance for people with pre-purchased tickets. Another suggestion is waking up early and see the gardens in the morning, to avoid enormous crowds waltzing through your stunning views.
Apart from the breathtakingly beautiful waterlily gardens, the ticket will also grant you access to Monet’s house, which gives you an intimate look in the painter’s life. The house is a beautiful pinkish color, with shutters in a bright green that figures as a theme color throughout the gardens and the village of Giverny. You can visit his studio, where at least a dozen of his original paintings are exposed.
After a long but perfect day at Monet’s gardens and house, we went back to our lovely bed & breakfast, Le Moulin des Chennevières. It is located just outside of the village, but highly recommended. We had a lovely stay at Le Moulin, because our hosts were so very friendly and helpful, always around if we had questions and ready to answer them. Plus, we had air-conditioning in our room, which was a blessing, because the weather was blazing hot. The photo above is the view from the gardens, where you can relax in the lounge chairs and read a book.
Monet’s waterlily gardens and house in Giverny are really one of the most beautiful places in France and definitely worth a visit! You can combine your visit to the gardens with a visit to the Musée des Impressionismes, to get the full Impressionism experience.
A second photo diary post about our road-trip through France will be posted in a few weeks, so keep an eye out for part II! The post will be about our second stop, the city of Rouen, where we literally saw art come to live…