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

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9 months 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.

“My garden is my most

“My garden is my most beautiful masterpiece” Claude Monet Monet painted the garden over and over. He would paint one section in the morning, paint it again at noon and again later in the day, fascinated by the change in colour. In those days paint didn't come in tubes ready to use, artists mixed their own pigments and Monet would be mixing several times a day, in his workshop trying to get the colours as he saw them. As you stroll the gardens, birds sing, bees and insects flit about, a neighbour’s cat saunters by, unbothered by the crowds, and always the scent of blooming flowers. There are the famous "paint boxes", oblong plots that James plants up to look like a palette of colours and I can imagine Monet using these beds of colour to help him create his paint box.

Monet’s Waterlilies When the railway line that ran along the bottom of the garden was closed, Monet decided to buy a plot of land on the other side of the track. He had a hankering to create a lily pond. Monet paid 1200 francs and the community paid the remaining 1800 francs to meet the cost of the plot. Water lilies were a huge novelty in Monet's time. He saw them at the Paris universal exhibition in 1889, the year before he bought the house and he fell in love with their exotic perfection. He turned the boggy field of his extended garden into a series of lakes and filled them with water lilies, he was obsessed with capturing their beauty on canvas. More than 250 paintings exist. The waterlilies weren’t popular with everyone though and when the artist imported the mysterious plants from Egypt and South America, the local authorities feared they would poison the water. "This was probably the first garden that had hybrid lilies" says James. I can’t help thinking just how clever this garden is and how far ahead of its day. There is height, texture, sculpture and the blending of colour and the little Japanese influenced bridges that Monet painted bright green are a perfect contrast to the scene. “He really was an incredibly innovative gardener wasn’t he” I say to James “I never really got that from looking at photos of the garden”. I’m no artist but even I can see just how stunning this place is when you see it with your own eyes. “Monet was like Da Vinci in his way" agrees James "the first to really capture the light”.