Which photo is from Monet’s garden in Giverny and which one came from the scaled-down Giverny re-created for the current New York Botanical Garden’s “Monet’s Garden” exhibit?
Each year more than half a million visitors — those who love art and those who love gardens — make the pilgrimage to the small French village of Giverny where the French Impressionist master Claude Monet turned to both canvas and soil to create his art. Monet’s glorious gardens were his inspiration and his studio.
For those in the New York area, from May 19-October 21, 2012, the New York Botanical Garden exhibition celebrates the life and gardens of the most famous French Impressionist painter, including a re-creation of Monet’s Grand Allée as well as the iconic Japanese footbridge.
However, if you happen to be in Paris, your journey can take a while if you travel by train, for example.
In Paris, take the train from the Paris Gare St-Lazare train station to the city of Vernon and then take a bus to the village of Giverny. HINT: When they say the trains leave every two hours, they mean what they say. And be aware that American credit cards do not work well in the ticket kiosks at the train station, which may necessitate waiting in a long line to buy tickets at the counter. (The train conductors will not wait because you had to wait in line.) However, there is (of all things) a Starbucks in the Gare St-Lazare train station where you can relax in comfy chairs and use their wifi.
All in all, it takes at least two hours to reach the real Giverny, including standing in line to buy tickets when you reach the house and gardens themselves. Is the destination worth the journey? Simply, oh my yes. The first view of the gardens quite literally took my breath away. Photos and canvas cannot do justice to the gardens themselves. Monet himself said it best.
“My garden is my most beautiful masterpiece.”
Photo top by Ivo M. Vermeulen/The New York Botanical Garden
Photo bottom by The Garden Traveler, who was too busy enjoying the gardens to take good photos.