The 19th-century philosopher Friedrich Nietzsche contended that “an artist has no home in Europe except in Paris,” but Parisian-born painter Claude Monet inadvertently proved otherwise. While the culture-rich “City of Light” was the heart of the art world during Monet and Nietzsche’s time, the de facto father of Impressionism actually found his artistic home — and muse — about 50 miles northwest in the picturesque rural enclave of Giverny. You’ll visit Monet’s beloved home and gardens, where he painted some of his most iconic Impressionist works, during Vantage’s A Seine River Cruise: Paris & Highlights of Normandy.
Monet Finds His Muse
While traveling through the Normandy region by train, Monet reputedly got his first glimpse of Giverny — an ancient village in the Seine River Valley — from his train window. Immediately bewitched by the organic colors, textures, and natural light that emanated from the scenic environs, Monet relocated to Giverny from nearby Vernon in 1883, whereupon his rented property
and the gardens he painstakingly created there became his primary plein-air (outdoor) studio. It was here, painting outdoors among his colorful flower and water gardens, that Monet found the inspiration for his signature visions of delicate water lilies and the gently curving Japanese bridge draped in wisteria, among others. Perhaps Monet explained his connection to the setting best when he wrote: “I work at my garden all the time and with love. What I need most are flowers, always. My heart is forever in Giverny.” An excursion to Givery during your Vantage Seine River cruise will enable you to stroll along Monet’s garden paths past his serene lily pond — where many of his best-known masterpieces will literally come to life before your eyes.
Monet Makes Hay
As an incurable lover of nature, Monet sometimes sought painterly inspiration beyond his idyllic grounds — though he didn’t always go far. In fact, an exquisitely sunlit, and seasonally snow-blanketed, wheat field near his home became another of Monet’s favorite plein-air settings. Here, he painted a series of simply shaped, but intricately textured haystacks (which he alternately referred to as “grainstacks” and “wheatstacks”) during different times and seasons. In the early 1890s, swift sales of his haystack series enabled Monet to purchase the Giverny compound where he and his family had become rooted. Monet often traveled and worked in other locales, such as Rouen (your Seine River cruise also visits this historic port) after that time, but Giverny remained his true home until his death in 1926. Today, Giverny is synonymous with Monet’s artistic legacy and, each year, it draws thousands of art and garden lovers from around the world. Delight in its beauty for yourself on Vantage’s popular Seine River cruise.