A visit to Monet’s inspiring house in Giverny

Maison de Claude Monet à Giverny house

It took many, many years before I finally went back to visit Claude Monet’s house in Giverny. I had fond memories of it, but never found the time to go there as an adult. There are so many little escapades around Paris, Chantilly or Fontainebleau that I let too much time go by to return to this charming corner of Normandy. And perhaps that’s just as well, as it gave me a greater appreciation of the visit and the house. After all, when you’re younger, you don’t attach much importance to certain details that I couldn’t help but study now: the varieties of flowers in the garden, the choice of colors on the walls or the earthenware in the kitchen…

Going to Giverny at the end of June gave me the feeling that I’d finally come at the right time.

Maison de Claude Monet à Giverny house

A bucolic garden leads to the house

I’ve already shared my impressions of this bucolic garden that changes with the seasons in this article, so here are my thoughts on an important facet of the estate, the home, refuge and studio of one of the greatest painters who ever lived.

It’s always interesting to visit the homes of great people, especially when they’re creative people, artists or writers. I like to enter the intimacy of these people and observe what may have influenced and inspired them. I always take lots of photos and notes, because they often have a vision that makes me think and gives me ideas. And this visit to Giverny exceeded my expectations!

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Maison de Claude Monet à Giverny house
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This imposing and engaging building is reached via a path lined with multicolored flowers, instantly transporting us to Monet’s paintings. Before you actually catch sight of this famous pink and green house, the path you take gives the impression of wandering through a field of flowers, a luminous, airy and very colorful meadow. And so we arrive at the house in good spirits, welcomed by the sumptuous simplicity of these unpretentious, rustic flowers.

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The charm of a country house

And here it is, this simple yet distinctive home, with its pink hue, shutters, trelliswork and bright green balustrade, all the work of Gerald Van der Kemp, former director of the Claude Monet Foundation. Blue-and-white earthenware pots add a soft touch to the overall effect, structuring the climb up the steps to the interior. Everything is eye-catching, surprising but not shocking. The house is tasteful, with a refined simplicity but without ostentation. Paintings by the great masters Claude Monet admired are displayed side by side. There’s something touching and sacred about entering a place where time has stood still to preserve the memory of its owner.

The interior has an assertive country feel, yet is modern in certain ways. This modernity is expressed by the materials used in today’s interiors (rattan, bamboo) and, above all, by the choice of colors: green combined with lavender, a turquoise-blue chair contrasting with classic wallpaper. The upstairs bedrooms are more subdued than some of the downstairs rooms, the colors softer, but they have a breathtaking view of the garden. We stop for a few minutes at the window of the master bedroom and think that it’s impossible not to paint such wonders in such a setting. You just have to have the talent.

Maison de Claude Monet à Giverny bedroom

The dining room and kitchen, key rooms in Claude Monet's home

But it’s above all the yellow of the dining room (and reception room) where the Monet family gathered daily that is astonishing. This bright, cheerful chrome yellow stimulates the senses. This vast room has a country feel, combined with the bold color that so appeals to so many visitors (the dining room and kitchen must be among the most photographed rooms in the house). You can recognize the mark of a man who worked with color. A large table sits in the middle of the room and was also used to welcome friends. Two imposing china cabinets give the room its cachet, and the many Japanese prints add an exotic touch. I really liked the blue and white checkered cushions on the chairs.

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The tour concludes with one of the rooms that we now regard as the most important, but which was of no real importance to the painter: the kitchen. And yet, this is my favorite place in the house (as it is for many people): it is the ideal representation of a true French country kitchen and a true source of inspiration. It’s an extension of the dining room, with a common-sense design and a practicality that in no way detracts from its charm.

It features copper pans, a stone sink, a superb kitchen piano set off by earthenware tiles and large, beautiful doors that no doubt hid the shelves of victuals.

Maison de Claude Monet à Giverny salle à manger
Maison de Claude Monet à Giverny dining room

Other buildings on the estate are not open to visitors, as they house the Foundation’s offices. The painter’s studio is now the store, where I found a number of very interesting books. My visit at this time of year was full of poetry, and I’m sure the same charm applies in autumn, so don’t hesitate to spend a day at Claude Monet’s house in Giverny, you’ll come back enchanted.

Maison de Claude Monet à Giverny kitchen
Maison de Claude Monet à Giverny kitchen
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Pour creuser le sujet…

Une table estivale inspirée par Giverny ici.

selection livres claude monet giverny

Une sélection d’ouvrages pour en savoir plus sur la maison et les jardins.

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Découvrez la visite des jardins de Claude Monet ici.

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