Broad Strokes

A couple of weeks ago on my aforementioned trip to Paris, I had the good fortune of visiting Giverny, the house and garden of the painter Claude Monet. For whatever reasons, his paintings have never been high on my “love list”, but the guy had a garden, so what the hell – that bumps him up a few notches.

The bridge

It was an overcast morning as we peddled through the town of Vernon out to the estate on a pair of rickety rental bicycles. After the initial surprise of how small it was (Isn’t that always the case? Like seeing a celebrity on the street.), we locked up the bikes, cut though the crowds and made our way into the gardens.

It was a really lovely experience. There is something about a garden in the last stages of summer/early autumn that I love. Something that is sort of busted and broken but still insanely beautiful that makes me feel good – a garden giving it’s last hurrah before the impending frost. Everything was a colorful mismash, but because of the scale of the plants and the way they towered over one’s head, it exuded a sense of confidence and power – not in any way fussy or indecisive. The water lily pond was sensational. Maybe it was knowing that I was in Monet’s garden, maybe it was having seen those water lily paintings a thousand times – whatever it was, every willow leaf and water ripple seemed like a brush stroke. It was nice.

  • The rose arbor with nasturtiums.
  • I love a fruit tree. And dahlias!
  • Very, very tall helianthus.
  • Water Lily Pond
  • The pond
  • Rose trellis at the pond
  • From the front door
  • Giverny green benches

The house was pretty great too. No surprise, he had a way with color. The walls were all lush, saturated shades, be it stamen yellow or spring sky blue. Picture taking was a no-no, so I have nothing to show you. But no matter, the gardens were the best part. Enjoy!

4 Comments

  • Lydia

    → Reply

    Well done! I so enjoyed reading your posts. You write beautifully. In a few words, you captured the essence of the place.

    I visited Monet’s garden last year in October and the day was also wet and overcast, just as you described. Your insight captured the garden to its core and evoked a flood of memories. I was also there in Spring one year, and it is quite different. Spring is a different kind of beauty altogether, delicate and prestine. You captured the feeling of the fall garden so beautifully that for an instant, I was back in that wild and reckless beauty with the daliahs towering over me.

    Keep writing. You are very good at it. I enjoy your power of observation and the ability you have, like most gifted artists, to distill the spirit of something and delve beyond the surface appearance.

    All the best,
    Lydia

  • Kelly

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    I’m loving your blogs. Lydia already said it; you write beautifully. I get the feeling I’m there when I read your descriptions of Monet’s gardens or the ethnicity of your designer. So, I must thank you for taking me to Paris or New York- for free! Keep up the blogging, you make it sooo un….bloggish! XO.

    k

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