Giverny

Giverny (pop. 560) is a modest French village that lies in the Haute Normandie region between Rouen and Paris. It has been nicknamed the impressionist city, as it is best known for being the inspiring rural retreat of the ‘artist of light’- Claude Monet. Monet lived here from 1883-1926, painting his Séries works, often using the surrounding landscape as his subject matter.

 

EURE Claude Monet GivernyGiverny’s biggest drawcard is the Maison et Jardins de Claude Monet [27620 Giverny, France  +33 232519132 , www.fondation-monet.com, ad/ch € 6/3.50]. It is the pastel pink house of the late impressionist painter, surrounded by seasonal flowers, featuring the iconic Jardin d’Eau (Water Garden) and the Japanese Bridge. A guided tour of the place is recommended to make the most of your visit.

Further down, is another ode to the impressionist art history of Giverny - the Musée des Impressionnismes Giverny  [99 rue Claude Monet,  +33 232519465, http://giverny.org/museums/impressionism/guide/ ad/ch € 6.50/3]. Replacing the former Musée d’Art Americain, this museum also sits amidst a garden, displaying the works of many impressionist painters ranging from Pierre Auguste- Renoir to Henri Rouart.

Another interesting and perhaps oddly placed sight would be the Natural Mechanical Museum [2 rue Blanche Hoschedé-Monet 27620 Giverny,   +33 232212633 , ad/ch €5.50/3] - a local effort to preserve the names and works of the Guillemard family, this museum’s collection was gradually built by sieving through almost a century old pile-up of engines and mechanical parts. The museum exhibits vintage mechanical parts, of which the biggest is a 28 ton 1908 diesel engine, named the Carles 1908, which is surprisingly, still running!

One of Giverny’s historical treasures is the Chateu De Bizy [Avenue des Capucins 27200 Vernon, +33 232510082  http://giverny.org/castles/ ad/ch € 7.50/5], which was built by Constant d’Ivy for Fouquet, Duke of Belle-Isle, Marshal of France, around 1740. Grand, old trees sheathe the majestic castle which comprises of 18th century Baroque-style sculptures and fountains and a main building that imitates Italian architecture. It is home to a historic park, formal royal courtyard and stables, resembling those in Versailles. The castle has a lineage of well-known owners, including King Louis-Phillipe and it is still inhabited by the Duke’s heirs today.

Being surrounded by flowers, museums and castles, you would just need one more thing to complete the picture- music. Giverny’s International Chamber Music Festival [64 avenue Aristide Briand 92120 Montrouge,  +33 146565544  http://vjp.i-arts.net/MAG/], is a world- class celebration of chamber music (a form of classical music written for small ensembles). The festival is held from August to September at various locations around Giverny, featuring a mix of budding and accomplished international talents.