We love visiting the Lake District, and one of our favorite towns is Ambleside. It's a…
Filled with bright, colorful flowers and refreshing streams, Giverny is a garden paradise. It isn’t hard to imagine why Monet created this place, nor why crowds of visitors flock to it each year.
As we drove up to Giverny, we hoped that there would be few tourists there. But when we finally pulled into a parking spot, the lines of people stretched far down the street. The garden hosted hundreds of people even in September, far past the height of the tourist season. After 30 agonizing minutes of waiting, we finally received our tickets and hurried down the stairways, eager to see the famed gardens.
The Flower Gardens
We stumbled out of the gift shop and outside. Bursts of color, aromas, and light instantly assailed our senses. We were astonished at the variety and color of the flowers.
We wandered through the maze of paths at will, marveling the spectacle. The tunnel to the water garden was a welcome relief from the hot sun, though.
The Water Garden
The water garden was cooler and quieter, though still crowded with sightseers. Fish swam beneath our feet as we crossed the arching green bridges. We brushed against the weeping willows draping the banks and wandered amid tangles of vines.
An empty rowboat rocked gently, moored to a dock in the lily pond. A grove of chestnut trees nearby adorned the path with round marbles.
Next to some benches under a willow tree, sprinklers drummed on a leaf as big as a beach ball. After exploring all the paths, we drifted around the water garden for a time and then rambled back to the house.
Climbing up the porch, we dutifully waited our turn in line. From outside, we heard chattering people and noisy cameras filling the once-quiet rooms.
The drawing room that welcomed us showed Monet’s taste immediately – it was filled with Japanese prints and a bookshelf with ‘Encyclopedias of Horticulture’. A stern grandfather clock stood in the corner, ticking the time away.
A spiral staircase twined to the upper floor. We peered out of Monet’s bedroom window to enjoy the view of the flower gardens. We saw his wife’s delicate touch in the gold and blue peacock wallpaper in her room. A glass door, however, barred the remaining room we could see. I thought it might be a child’s room, because a china cat sat near the hearth.
A uniformed man ushered us downstairs into the dining room. It was a cheerful yellow, with twelve chairs and a long table to accommodate Monet’s large family. Gauzy white curtains filled it with sunlight. Monet mixed yellow, blue, and green with ease here, as the green jugs on the table and blue tiles around the fireplace showed.
In the roomy kitchen, blue patterned tiles adorned the walls. A large, black iron stove dominated the scene. Shiny copper pots and pans hung under a shelf. ‘Blue willow’ plant pots added to the room’s general color theme.
When our tour of the house ended, we lingered in the gardens a little longer. Afterwards, we pored the many choices in the gift shop. Our tour had ended, but our memories remained.