MonetGÇÖs Garden as he designed it

Impressionism in Normandy

I have often driven through Normandy and admired the landscape and rural architecture and promised myself I would explore the region in more depth. After visiting a flower show where the Normandy Tourist Board were sponsoring a garden celebrating Impressionism in Normandy, it was about time for a visit to see what attracted the Impressionists to Normandy.

Gros Horloge, Rouen
Gros Horloge, Rouen

Impressionism was less about detail and realism in paintings and more about an accurate depiction of light and its changing qualities. This was best done outdoors where they could capture the transient effects of light on a subject and were among the first group of artists who took painting outside en plein air. The advent of the railways along the Seine Valley from Paris to the coast contributed to Normandy became the Cradle of Impressionism.


Both my wife and I enjoy visiting gardens so Claude Monet’s garden at Giverny was an obvious choice to visit.
Monet once said that his greatest creation was not any of his paintings but his gardening, on entering the garden, we could see why. We were met with an explosion of colour in a design reminiscent of his paintings. Such beautiful use of colour with bold spring flowers underplanted with complimentary colours designed by an artist with an eye for colour and light.

Leaving the vibrancy of the garden beds behind we made our way to the water lily ponds. Almost immediately we had a feeling of deja vu; it was like walking into a painting. The water lilies series are perhaps the best known of Monet’s paintings. Today the willows, Japanese bridges and of course the water lilies are as familiar as in his paintings. To read the full article, subscribe to our magazine now by click here.


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