In His Steps
Monet’s House and Gardens
In 1883 Monet visited the town of Giverny, just 45 miles outside of Paris. A decade later he bought the land that he would turn into his famous garden paradise. Accessible by car or train, Monet’s gardens at Giverny have been restored to beauty that Monet himself saw. You can walk among the irises and japanese apple trees in the Clos Normand garden or view the weeping willows lining the pond from the japanese footbridge that Monet had built.
Giverny would inspire Monet for decades, providing the subject for some his most popular paintings. When visiting Giverny it is not hard to see why.
Beyond his Garden visitors can also go inside the house Monet and his family lived in for 43 years. Like the garden he made the house his own; renovating and designing it to his likings. He added to it, painted rooms in bold colors, and made it perfect for entertaining and painting. Today it remains just as it was when Monet lived there, containing many of the furniture, paintings, and other items that Monet owned.
Musée des Impressionnismes in Giverny
Just a few hundred feet from Monet’s house is a museum dedicated to the art of the impressionists and artists inspired by them. Beyond viewing the museum’s collection and special exhibits, the Musee des Impressionismes gives visitors, both young and adult, the opportunity to paint and create art through guided workshops.
Walk along the port and you will see before you the scene that gave Impressionism its name. Monet’s famous Impressionism, Sunrise depicts the port of Le Havre with its dominating industrial structures.
The Musée Malraux in Le Havre contains the largest impressionist collection in France, besides the Musee D’Orsay in Paris. Paintings by Monet, Edgar Degas, Édouard Manet, Pierre-Auguste Renoir, and other impressionist painters are on display.
Twenty miles north along the coast Monet painted Etretat, The Cliff, reflections on water. In 1868 and then again in the 1880’s Monet went to Etretat to paint the cliffs, their large stone arch, and the sea. The landscapes of the Normandy region had captivated artists for decades and the cliffs of Etretat were among the most breathtaking.
In 1892 Monet started painting the Rouen Cathedral facade. From a vantage point across the street Monet could watch the effects of changing light on the church. When Monet painted he was in the front room of a shop. Today that building is home to the Rouen Seine valley Tourist office.
While in Rouen you can visit the very room Monet painted from. There you can gaze upon the church from the exact spot Monet did. The Tourist office has a workshop letting visitors paint the cathedral with an instructor showing you the techniques that Monet used.
The Savoy Hotel
Monet stayed at the hotel three times between 1899 and 1901 painting scenes of London and the Thames River, on a recommendation by the painter James Whistler.
Enjoy a decadent meal at the famous River Restaurant in the hotel. Began in 1890 it is likely that Monet himself enjoyed one of their signature dishes. Later in the night grab a drink in the American Bar. Open since 1889, it was known from serving “American Style” cocktails such as manhattans and martinis.
The Houses of Parliament series.
Monet painted The Houses of Parliament paintings from a terrace of the Saint Thomas Hospital across the Thames river. The rooms he was in are no longer there, as parts of the hospital were destroyed by bombings during the second World War.
You can still get a similar view to what Monet saw by standing on the south bank of the Thames on the Westminster Bridge. From there you can see the Houses of Parliament, including Big Ben, and the London Eye ferris wheel.
Westminster Abbey is just a short walk away.
Paintings by Monet can be viewed in many museums in Paris. The Musée Marmottan Monet and Musée d'Orsay, both in Paris, have large collections of Monet’s work, along with many of the most famous impressionist painters.
Musée Marmottan, located in the 16th arrondissement, has the largest collection of paintings by Claude Monet.
Musée d'Orsay, located on the left bank, is a top ten museum in the world based on attendance. It is housed in an old train station, the former Gare D’Orsay. Opened in 1986, Musée d’Orsay holds one of the greatest collections of modern art including paintings by Manet, Monet, Renoir, Degas, van Gogh, and many more of the Impressionist painters.
Musée de l’Orangerie, located in the Tuileries Garden, just west of the Louvre, contains one of Monet’s most well known and groundbreaking series of paintings. Eight canvases that make up Monet’s Water Lilies series can be viewed in two circular rooms, as instructed by the artist himself.
Just north of the Tuileries Garden and Place Vendome is the famous train station Gare Saint-Lazare. Like many artist’s, Monet lived in the area surrounding Saint-Lazare, the 8th arrondisement. After returning to Paris to prepare for the third Impressionists show that took place in April 1877, Monet rented an apartment and studio near the station.
He made 11 paintings celebrating the industrial revolution that had taken hold on Paris and changed the way people moved around the continent. The Gare Saint-Lazare was the ideal subject matter. It showed many of the new technologies that were changing the world. Powerful engines, steel, and commerce are all shown in the paintings of the train station. Steam and smoke create atmosphere under the steel vaults of the industrial cathedral.
It is easily accessible within Paris is a wonderful architectural masterpiece with a historic connection to the Impressionist movement.