If you fancy a slice of idyllic rural French life right now, we’ve got just the thing: the Fondation Claude Monet is offering a virtual tour of the Impressionist master’s sprawling house and gardens. Monet created many of his most celebrated works – including his 250 water lily paintings – in the Norman village of Giverny. Now you can explore his atelier, living quarters and all those world-renowned flower gardens from the comfort of chez vous.
The painter lived in this abandoned farm with his second wife and their eight children from 1883 until his death in 1926. Slowly he transformed it into a picturesque pastel-pink mansion, with the grounds centred around a Japanese-style water garden with a now-iconic green half-moon bridge.
The whole estate was opened to the public in the 1980s and now draws more than half a million visitors a year. You can’t go right now, of course, but the Foundation’s excellent virtual tour will whisk you through every room of Monet’s home, including his first studio, the family’s bedrooms and a suite of salons that display the artist’s vast collection of Japanese prints. The whole thing is both quaint and utterly gorgeous.
There’s only one snag: the tour doesn’t take in the famous gardens too. So once you’ve explored the house, make sure to head over to the museum’s Vimeo channel for a selection of videos of the flower beds in bloom through the seasons.
And if you can’t get enough of those water lilies, you can also take a virtual tour of Monet’s masterful ‘Les Nymphéas’ series thanks to Paris’s ace Musée de l’Orangerie. Beats that sad flower display you’ve got going on the windowsill, huh?
Check out the virtual tour of the Fondation Claude Monet now.
More artistic distractions: