Monet's Garden at Giverny / by Hannah Harley


After many attempts, this past Sunday, me and my friends were finally able to make it Giverny, the location of Claude Monet's famous gardens. The morning began disastrously with plans falling apart left and right. Each effort to do something was hindered; it was not shaping up to be a good morning. Then I realized, halfway through the commute to the train state St. Laazare, that I had forgotten my SD card (the thing that saves the data from my pictures). I had to back track to my residence (a foyer in the 15th arrondisement), adding an hour to my trip. I said goodbye to my friend, encouraging her to not wait for me. I called the friends that were waiting at the train station, and a little cheeriness from Kasey brightened up my day. After nearly two hours in delays, I finally reached the train station, and fortunately for me, the next train wasn't until 11:50, so I would get to spend the rest of my day with my friends!

But why tell you this? (I acknowledge that it sounds like whining) I almost convinced myself to cancel the day, throw in the towel. Everything that went wrong did, until things just started to go right again. If I let that little voice in my head telling me to give up, this blog post wouldn't exist, I would've probably not seen Monet's gardens, and I certainly wouldn't have gotten to share the experience with my wonderful friends.


It's pretty amazing that I get to have these experiences with such top notch people. Paris is a city that encourages solitude, and yet, I find that I've been fortunate in some of the best friendships here.


Now, onto Monet's gardens! I will assume that most of you have seen one of his many waterlily paintings or something of the like. (There's a large canvas in the Carnegie Museum of Art in Pittsburgh if you haven't!) Despite having thousands of paintings to choose from, Monet said that his greatest masterpiece was his gardens.


I can see why he said that. It completely baffled me that the organization running Monet's gardens was able to have everything in bloom even in the fall. Even though it was a steady drizzly, the gardens were stunning.


Monet made these gardens with his wife, who was also a painter. He became a little hermit-like in his later years, rarely going into Paris; his friends adored making the trip to his home in Giverny.


There's a quote by Monet that has stuck with me: "Every day I discover more and more beautiful things. It's enough to drive one mad. I have such a desire to do everything, my head is bursting with it."


I'm realizing that this quote isn't exclusive to his gardens or even to Paris, but that it's all in your perspective. To some who dislikes nature, this place would not be inspirational. It's all in how you choose to look at something.


Sunday was such an unreal experience. My friend and I compared it to a religious experience, and after studying piece after piece of this talented artist, it really felt like it. It was sacred ground in a sense.


Thanks for sharing the beauty of your garden, Monet. It really is a masterpiece.