The Good Life France Magazine

The Good Life France Magazine brings you the best of France - inspirational and exclusive features, fabulous photos, mouth-watering recipes, tips, guides, ideas and much more...

Published by the award winning team at The Good Life France

1 year ago

Issue No. 14

From Paris to the Loire Valley, and everywhere in between, how to live like a millionaire in Nice on a budget, French island hopping, a fairy tale chateau and Monet's Garden in Giverny. Everything you want to know about France and more.

"Like walking into a

"Like walking into a painting" It’s not a gardening job like any other: “I’m the guardian of this very famous plot of land” says James who heads up a team of eight gardeners. Monet himself had up to 7 gardeners working there. I was taken aback at just how much this garden looks like the Monet paintings I've seen. “It’s deliberate” James tells me. He works from a list of plants Monet liked to grow. Much of the detail comes from a book written by Monet's son about his father's letters which contained information about the plants he loved. And, there have been lots of studies to ascertain varieties from his paintings. “Those pelargoniums that you see growing in beds in front of the house, they were there in Monet's time” advises James “and we know that he grew roses and daffodils, poppies and irises. But because he had cataracts which made colours turn red and purple to him, it's not always easy to get the exact plant style right”. I tell him that to me the colours seem spot on, you feel as though you are standing in one of those exquisite paintings when you stand in these gardens surrounded by a glorious symphony of colour. “It wasn’t always like this” says James. “When Monet first lived here, he had an

orchard and grew vegetables because he wasn’t as wealthy as you might have thought”. He also kept chickens and there’s a chicken coop and pen there now with lots of chooks clucking and pottering about, completely oblivious to the hordes who come to pay homage to the garden and the painter. As Monet grew richer he turned all his energy to planting flowers, the orchard was replaced with crocuses - but he kept the chickens. “His wife didn't always agree with him, she was” says James “more bourgeois than her husband and wanted a slightly neater garden which involved chopping down trees she felt grew too close to the house. Monet wanted to keep them. In the end, he won.” And for that, we should be forever grateful. Colour is everything here, just as it was to Monet. James explains that the design is about the light changing. As the sun passes over the garden it tracks across swathes of plants that change from pink through blue and red and I suddenly see what he means - it's like a giant magical paint brush has daubed a magical palette of colours right in front of me.

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