Dreams do come true…Monet’s Gardens in Giverny, France

Awesome reflections in the water

Awesome reflections in the water

My mother-in-law dreamed of walking through Monet’s gardens in Giverny, France. Context Travel Paris helped me make her dream come true last week with their Giverny Excursion. We met Marie Dessaillen, our tour guide at the Gare Lazare train station to begin our day of exploring the life and history of Monet and the importance of his gardens to his work. The train ride is just about an hour, giving Marie time to share her knowledge of Monet’s art in the context of what we were about to see with our own eyes.

Monet cared little for school and opted instead to draw caricatures of his teachers and fellow students. His desire was to be an artist, although his father had other plans for him. He wanted Monet to continue with the Bourgeoisie life and go into business, but his mother supported his passion. We learned quite a bit about his life of devotion to plein air (painting outdoors) and his obsession with painting countless versions of the famous water lilies during different times of the day where the light reflects off the water differently.

My mother-in-law fulfilling her dream

My mother-in-law fulfilling her dream

We also learned that Monet actually lived in Paris for a relatively short period of time and spent the majority of his life in the area of Normandy. His time in Paris with other famous artists who formulated the basis for the Impressionist movement was short lived, but meaningful. Monet saw his art as a way to afford him the ability to buy land in Normandy and build the garden of his dreams. He succeeded in spades!

We all felt lucky that the weather was exceptional and that we had the most amazing tour guide EVER! Marie’s specialty is in iconography and French and Flemish paintings from the 16th to the 18th centuries and holds a Master’s degree in museology at the Ecole du Louvre. She is the daughter of a sculptor and has been surrounded by art her whole life. If you go to Paris, you must take one of the dozens of tours she guides – you won’t be sorry!

Please enjoy the incredible sights we experienced from a dream come true…

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My tour was complementary, but the opinions expressed in this review are my own.

All photos property of The Weekend In Paris. Must obtain permission before use.



  • Liv
    Posted at 21:19h, 19 October Reply

    The gardens are gorgeous. What time of year were you there?

    • Weekend In Paris
      Posted at 07:16h, 22 October Reply

      Hi Liv,
      I was at Monet’s Gardens in July! It was the perfect weather week so we lucked out!

  • Elizabeth Giroir
    Posted at 10:30h, 17 July Reply

    How beautiful! I would love to do that! I am jealous.

  • Mary Ann
    Posted at 10:08h, 17 July Reply

    It truly was a dream come true…the explosion of color, the fragrance,the natural beauty we were surrounded with. Visitors were almost reverential…very quiet. I have memories for a lifetime!!

  • Courtney Delaunay
    Posted at 07:11h, 17 July Reply

    Wow! Thank you for this wonderful account of your experience with Context Travel in Giverny! We’re so glad to hear that you enjoyed it so much and that Marie made it extra special. She is a true asset to our organization. We hope that you can join us on another walk soon! Sincerely, The France Spain Team at Context Travel

    • Weekend In Paris
      Posted at 07:43h, 17 July Reply

      In my humble opinion, Marie is the best art history tour guide I have ever used! And that includes the docents at the Louvre!
      We loved her so much, we booked her for another day to tour Montmartre.

  • Andrea
    Posted at 06:39h, 17 July Reply

    Oh, I loved this when we visited…so fun to see the inspiration for so many of his works

    • Weekend In Paris
      Posted at 07:44h, 17 July Reply

      Hi Andy!
      Wasn’t it just spectacular! I miss Paris and especially Monet’s gardens in Giverny.
      Loved being with you to share the moment of a lifetime!

  • Kim 24/7 in France
    Posted at 05:38h, 17 July Reply

    Giverny is on my “to visit” list – I love Monet’s art.

    • Weekend In Paris
      Posted at 07:45h, 17 July Reply

      Hi Kim!
      It’s a must see on your list and try to do it in the summer. Definitely book with Context and ask for Marie, you will be blown away!

  • Danielle
    Posted at 04:31h, 17 July Reply

    How sweet! I’ve been dying to go, too.

    • Weekend In Paris
      Posted at 07:47h, 17 July Reply

      Hi Danielle!
      It blew me away completely! I had high expectations and the tour exceeded them!

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