More than half a million people visit Monet’s gardens each year. However, it is only open for seven months each season.
The many inner alleys are closed to visitors to protect the plants and maintain the garden’s beauty. However, you are free to explore the side alleys and all about the garden viewing its various perspectives.
An underground passage will give you access to the water garden. During the time of Monet you had to cross a railway and road. Yes, you can walk across the Japanese bridge and get stunning views of the numerous hidden recess of the water garden.
Let your camera explore with you as pictures are permitted. However, picnic’s, dogs and other pets are prohibited.
The house and its gardens became the property of Michel Monet upon his father’s death in 1926. Michel did not live at Giverny so care of the property fell to Monet’s stepdaughter, Blanche. Sadly, the house and gardens fell into disrepair after the Second World War. It was not until 1966 that Michel Monet presented the estate to the Academie des Beaux-Arts as his heir.
When Gérald van der Kemp became the Curator in 1977 he met with Georges Truffaut, a distinguished gardener who had frequently been invited to dine with Monet during his lifetime. Devillers was able to help reconstruct the garden as it was in the time of the master.
Restoration took nearly a decade to
bring house and gardens back to their former glory. Much had been reduced to shards and shambles from the bombings. Floors and ceiling beams had rotted, a stairway collapsed. Trees were found growing in the former big studio.
The pond had to be dug again. In the Clos normand, soil had to be removed in order to locate the original ground level. Care was taken to replant the same flower species as those discovered by Monet in his time. Private donations from generous donors made the work possible. The house received a facelift. The Japanese prints and ancient furniture were restored. Giverny has been open to the public since 1980.
While touring the house, visitors are asked and reminded not to photograph the inside.
For myself, I enjoyed the day tremendously. Yet the sad exception for me was that Monet’s studio has become a gift shop. I shudder to think of what the master would have said. I do realize that these treasures must be preserved and that it takes a great deal of money. However, I would have gladly paid more for the chance to see the studio as the master would have left it.
Don’t forget to click on each photo so you don’t miss anything!