This summer we drove an hour away to the town of Giverny, where Claude Monet moved to in the 1880’s and spent the remainder of his life perfecting French Impressionism. He and his family secured a house and a large plot of land which the artist meticulously molded into a veritable explosion of flower gardens and lush green spaces. It sounds corny but walking through the property really does give the impression of walking through one of his paintings. No matter where you look your field of vision is filled to the brim with a dense pattern of small colorful pieces that are somehow noisy but harmonious at the same time. For a lifelong fan of Impressionism it was a surreal treat to walk in a master’s footsteps.
But that’s not even the coolest part. On the lower level, after maneuvering an underground passage beneath a roadway, you arrive at the star of the show—the sprawling pond of lily pads that inspired some of the most important paintings of the last hundred years. He would go down every day and paint a series of ongoing canvases capturing the pond at various moments of daylight. In the early morning he’d work on the “morning” canvas, and as the sun moved across the sky he’d switch to different canvases accordingly to ensure he was always capturing the true light of each painting. The project culminated in the Water Lilies, a series of masterpieces installed in the Musée de l’Orangerie, which I’ve talked about before here.
The last several pictures show our walk through the rest of the village, which was humming with the perfect French-ness of rich colors and adorable cottages. There’s also a shot of the coolest bus stop I’ve ever seen. It’s easy to see why Monet fell in love with this quaint little place and chose it as his final residence. It’s equally as easy to see why I moved to the neighborhood as well.