Way-Back Wanderlust: A Day in Monet’s Garden

Two things: (1) it’s been a long time since I’ve been anywhere worth writing about, thanks for nothing ‘Rona, and (2) it’s spring and I’m craving color and flowers. So I thought it might be nice to take a few (or ten) turns in the way-back machine and show you snaps from Steve’s and my visit to Claude Monet’s garden, in September 2010 – more than ten years ago now, which seems incredible.

I had wanted to visit Monet’s garden since I was a little girl and read the classic Linnea in Monet’s Garden. When I was a bit older, my school used to take field trips to the Clark Art Institute in Williamstown, Massachusetts; I loved the entire – extensive – collection of French Impressionists, but Monet was my favorite. So when Steve and I planned a trip to France in 2010, I knew that Giverny was a must.

Like most visitors, I imagine, our top priority sight was the famous water lily pond. Living in D.C. by then, I had made many pilgrimages to the water lily paintings in the Smithsonian’s National Gallery.

The iconic bridge!

Although I was most excited to see the water lily pond, I surprised myself by loving the gardens closer to the house even more.

Monet’s pink house with the green shutters, hung all over with ivy, is iconic. (We walked through the house, but photos aren’t allowed inside. No matter – I had no problem blowing up a memory card in the garden.)

I loved the riotous green pathways, leading in every direction, with flowers of every color reaching up for the sunlight.

I had intended to ask my grandmother for a painting of this wheelbarrow, but never did. Maybe I’ll have the photo printed on canvas or wood, instead.

The crowds seemed to all head for the water garden, and we had entire pathways to ourselves, to wander and feel the enchantment of being in the place that so inspired Monet. A few days later, back in Paris, we visited his great masterwork at the Musee de l’Orangerie.

Someday, I hope to find myself back in Giverny. Until then, I’m contenting myself with these photographs from more than a decade ago, and remembering the warm sunshine and the heady aromas of the artist’s garden.

Are you looking back at old vacation photos to cope with COVID wanderlust, too?

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