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 Garden Giverny tours are in high demand so book in advance.
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.
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…
My tour was complementary, but the opinions expressed in this review are my own.
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