A few days after getting a Mont Saint Michel card sent by Ara, I received another card from Normandy. This time Ara sent this card with some images of Monet's house in Giverny.
The village lies 80 km from Paris, west and slightly north, in the old province of Normandy. It is best known as the location of Claude Monet's garden and home.
Giverny rises to fame in 1883 when the painter Claude Monet discovered the village whilst looking out of the train window (the line has since closed down). Monet was enthusiastic about the spot. He found a large house to rent, "the Press House". By the end of April he had moved in with Alice Hoschedé, his lady-friend, his two sons and her six children. The house was a farmhouse with a vegetable garden and an orchard of over one hectare.
At the time there were about 300 inhabitants in Giverny, most of them farmers, and a few middle-class families.
dmtrphotos.com * photos © didier piquer
In 1890 he became the owner of the house and gardens and transformed them completely. In front of the house lies the Clos normand, full of flowers, (100, 000 plants replaced each year and 100, 000 perennials) on the other side of the road he had the waterlily pond dug. To achieve his aim he didn't hesitate and diverted a branch of the Epte River.
At the beginning of his stay in Giverny, Monet found inspiration in the surrounding countryside. But he gradually limited himself to his water garden and depicted tirelessly the Japanese bridge and the waterlilies.
From 1887 onwards a colony of foreign painters, mainly Americans settled in Giverny. But this seems to have been by chance and the charm of the place rather than the presence of Monet (which they did not know of). The painters Sargent, Metcalf, Ritter, Taylor, Wendel, Robinson, Bruce and Breck came first.
For thirty years about a hundred artists stayed one after the other in Giverny, although they did not have much contact with Monet who considered their presence a nuisance. However their art would be deeply influenced by impressionist techniques.
Monet died on 5th December 1926. He was buried in the family vault near the village church. - in: http://giverny.org/giverny/