At the gates to the region of Paris, in Normandy, 75 km (46 miles) away from Paris and 60 km (37 miles) away from Rouen, the village has preserved its authentic charm.
Giverny in 1883
Even though there were a few middle-class families living in Giverny in the 19th century, there were mostly farmers among the 300 inhabitants of the village when Monet arrived. The arrival of an important colony of artists and painters in Giverny was not without consequences for the village's economy, which didn't have, at that time, a school, a post office, an ironmongery, a baker and of course no sophisticated shops. For a long time, people who wanted anything out of the ordinary had to cross the river Seine and go to Vernon.
American artists in Giverny
Claude Monet's presence in the village and Giverny's proximity to Paris would attract, over the following years, an important colony of American artists (Lilla Cabot Perry, Willard Metcalf, Theodore Robinson, Frederick Carl Frieseke, Theodore Butler, etc.) interested in learning the Master's techniques in the heart of Norman landscapes. Staying at the Hotel Baudy (now a restaurant), they formed an independent colony which shared the love of painting. Back in their country, they made Impressionism popular.
A walk round Giverny
Even though it became more developed, Giverny has lost nothing of its friendly and authentic charm. Everywhere on the streets and lanes, wisteria and Virginia creeper cover the low, coloured houses, and the village has kept its particular beauty that suits it so well.
Apart from Monet's house and garden, Giverny offers many other attractions and places to visit, including especially:
- The Museum of Impressionisms: It is dedicated to this art movement, its origins, its geographical diversity, its history and its development into other art movements. It holds temporary exhibitions on Impressionist art and its history, organises activities for the children and comprises an art centre and an Impressionism research centre.
- The former Hotel Baudy (now a restaurant): The story of the place is intimately related to the history of the village and to the colony of American artists who came to stay there at the end of the 19th century and beginning of the 20th century. Take time to have lunch or a drink there, where artists used to spend hours and hours and entertain themselves, and explore the garden full of rose bushes. And do not miss the surprising exhibition of miniature life scenes by Frédéric Desessard.
- The Sentier de Découverte Culturelle (Giverny Discovery Trail): Dotted with 20 information panels, it goes through the village and leads to the houses that used to be occupied by artists and painters from the Colony (Butler, Cabot-Perry), to the school where Monet's children went, to Saint Radegonde's Church and to the graveyard where Monet and his family are buried.
- A village of artists: there are many studios and art galleries open to the public in Giverny.