Giverny: Monet's France
If I shall die, and I’ve done something beautiful and worthy, I hope you bury me in a wild garden, the sun beaming across my scattered ashes. Don’t freeze me in in a statue’s caress, for I need to be free. No, don’t build monuments or commemorations. I don’t want people looking up at my carved nostrils.
Instead, build me a wild garden; or better yet, protect something already savage and free. Turn it into a place where people can feel… be human, again. Where flowers grow tall and bright, where animals play in peace, where one remembers their purpose on earth.
Stepping into Giverny, France, the home of Claude Monet, is to feel a blossoming you didn’t know existed inside your already beautiful soul. A lovely manor, perched along the Seine in Normandy, has been revived to showcase the gardens of Monet’s time. Biking through the city, one get’s the impression you could spend the remainder of your days here, filled with tea time and biscuits, pink rosé on the terrace, classical musical in the air, with friends shouting and dogs barking, happily growing older. Maybe even a set of paint brushes sit at your feet, for who could live here and not be inspired by the flowers? Oh, the flowers!
Pink, deeply fragrant roses, rhododendrons big as your head, bushels of azaleas and of course, the water lilies! Opening and closing with the day, waking late and blooming just in time for your mid-day coffee. And the bees - the busiest creatures of Giverny, happily swarming between the lavender rows inside their paradise. They don’t bother you, don’t worry, they have much sweeter things on their mind.
Inside Monet’s home, you realise it didn’t always look like this. Monet moved here when Giverny was a nobody, a town unheard of. But he loved flowers, like you, so he dedicated his passion into beauty. After he died, the place fell to ruins until years later. And the beauty is back, full of splendid hope and serenity.
An easy day-trip from Paris, go before the high heat of August summer. Life’s too short to waste away in cities.
Catch a train from Paris St. Lazare train station. Givery and Monet’s home is a ~45 minute walk or a quick bus / tourist train ride. Buy tickets online and use the side entrance (labeled groups). Or, if you fancy, rent bikes from the restaurant across the train station and meander along there river until you reach Giverny. Either way, you’ll wish you could stay longer.