The unfortunately rather bare garden
The unfortunately rather bare garden

So it would seem that spring is finally here – and about time too!  Although the last signs of winter had not quite yet shifted, the sun was out last weekend for a trip to Giverny.  An 80km journey from Paris, this little village found in the Haute-Normandie region is especially known for Claude Monet’s house and gardens.  After seeing Monet’s water lilies a month ago at the Orangerie, I was now to appreciate his source of inspiration.  Having spotted Giverny from a train window, the Frenchman set his heart on living there and rented la Maison du Pressoir and its grand gardens – and thus put the tiny village on the map.  The property is now open to the public to visit, with the house displaying replicas of the artist’s work.  Now known as the centre of Impressionism, Giverny is home to the Musée des Impressionismes dedicated to the movement which is currently running an exhibition of some of Signac’s works.

Monet's house
Monet’s house


Due to the abnormally prolonged winter, a lot of the gardens’ flowers were yet to have blossomed, which was a shame – though a good thing for the hay fever!  Though I did have to slightly use the imagination and picture the archways covered with climbing plants and entwined with vibrantly coloured shrubs.   Whilst the foliage was far from at its best, the Japanese water garden was beautiful.  With little footbridges traversing its clear waters curving in various asymmetric twists and turns, one can quite literally lean over and check out their reflection.  Surrounded by weeping willows and a bamboo wood and not to mention the famous water lilies, I felt very far away from the smoggy streets of Paris.

Around this time of year, this is a perfect little day trip for anyone wanting to be at one with nature before returning to humdrum city life.


Japanese watergarden
Japanese watergarden



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