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- French impressionist painter (1840-1926)
When most people think of Claude Monet, the first thing they picture is his famous painting of the Japanese bridge and the lilies floating peacefully beneath it. If you've always wanted to see them for yourself, you'll want to know about Country Living's exclusive tour of Monet's garden in Giverny next summer.
Country Living's former editor-in-chief and now-columnist Susy Smith will be joining us on the wonderful short break in France, where you’ll get to see the Japanese water garden, iconic lily pond and the climbing roses from Monet’s colourful works. There'll even be a chance to wander around the painter's old house.
"I last visited Giverny in 1997," said Susy. "Monet's famous gardens are amazing: his spirit is still very much present.
"I came away feeling so inspired that we then featured Giverny on the cover of and inside an issue of Country Living that same year. As a passionate gardener, I can't wait to return in the company of CL readers, and be inspired all over again."
Taking you to the tranquil gardens on a sleepy Sunday morning in July, you'll visit at the perfect time to be transported into some of Monet's most celebrated paintings.
The rest of our exclusive holiday takes in Paris' Orangerie Museums, where you can see Monet’s ‘Les Nymphéas’ murals, the historic Chateau de Chantilly and the idyllic town of Senlis.
Inside Monet’s gardens
Stepping inside this world-famous house and gardens at Giverny, you’ll see that Monet was not fond of formal gardens. Instead, he encouraged flowers to grow freely, creating a vibrant, constantly evolving colour palette. In July, at the height of summer, the gardens are teeming with poppies, lupins, delphiniums and peonies.
There are two parts to Monet's garden: a flower garden in front of the house, called Clos Normand, and a Japanese-inspired water garden on the other side of the road.
In Clos Normand, Monet mixed simple flowers such as daisies and poppies with much rarer varieties. You’ll admire roses climbing over iron arches, and nasturtiums in the garden’s central valley.
Marvel at the famous Japanese bridge
In the water garden you’ll find the instantly recognisable Japanese bridge, decorated with purple wisteria, weeping willows, bamboo and nymphea. This garden was inspired by the Japanese artistic prints that Monet collected, and is full of gorgeous asymmetry and curves.
You’ll be shocked to discover that the charming pond we associate so closely with Monet’s works actually annoyed his neighbours, who worried that the exotic plants would poison the water.
But it was the colourful textured reflections of the garden in its waters that inspired the painter for over 20 years. Walking across this bridge in 2022, you’ll have the sensation of stepping straight into Monet's revered Les Nymphéas as you look down at the picture-perfect lilies populating the pond.
To join the summer 2022 tour, visit countryliving.com/uk/monetsgarden and book your spot on our exclusive escape.
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