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Our Lady Collegiate church in Vernon
A whole site dedicated to this monumeent (in English)
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Vernon half-timbered houses
A whole site about our numerous old houses (In French only, sorry !)
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Vernon Giverny Website auf deutsch

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The Old Mill in Vernon
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Monet's house and garden at Giverny
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The XIIth c. castle keep in Vernon
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Visits, indeed, but there are so many other things to do in Vernon
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Walking and cycling around Vernon
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Museums in Vernon (paintings by Monet) and Giverny
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A walk in the streets of Giverny
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The water lily pond at Giverny
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Tourelles castle in Vernon
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Monet and the villagers




Now that the visit of the house and the garden is over, Mr Monet cannot overhear us and it is time to say something about his personality and his relationships with the villagers.


 It is true that Monet could be an excellent host for his guests, pleasant,  smiling and cheerful, he could also be quick-tempered, gruff and unpleasant, especially when he was not satisfied with his work. Thus it was not unusual for a villager to greet Monet in the street saying ‘good morning Mr Monet’ and  he would be answered by a gruff ‘’morning’. This did help make the relationships better.



 it is true that Monet could be an excellent host for his guests, pleasant,  smiling and cheerful, he could also be quick-tempered, gruff and unpleasant, especially when he was not satisfied with his work. Thus it was not unusual for a villager to greet Monet in the street saying ‘good morning Mr Monet’ and  he would be answered by a gruff ‘’morning’. This did help make the relationships better.

For the villagers, Monet must have been a very strange man. They were the poles apart: on the one hand a small community of craftsmen, farmers and farm labourers, probably somewhat narrow-minded and perhaps a little backwards. On the other hand, an artist.

First of all Monet was no church goer, which must been very exceptional and odd at the time. Second, he lived for many years with Alice Hoschédé without being married... They were living in sin, so to speak and this was certainly regarded  as a scandalous life.

Then  they found this man was idle. They were used to hard manual work and this man spent his time uselessly  daubing  canvasses. And what about his fellow-painters who were staying at Hotel Baudy? Some of them looked like hirsute tramps. No, Monet  could not be  a respectable man.

In addition, Monet had very  unexpected requests.  Two examples will be enough to  understand what the local population could  feel :

One year, Monet had began painting haystacks. He had not finished yet when the time came for the farmer to take the hay  to his his barn. Monet  paid the farmer some money to leave  the stack a few days in the field until he could finish the painting.  And the rumour got about the village that Monet  was «hiring»  haystacks. Fancy "hiring"  hay ! How stupidly peculiar !

You’ve visited Monet’s water garden with its pond and  water lilies growing  there. Magnificent, isn’t it ? Today, the water garden is separated from the  house and the Norman garden by a road. In Monet’s time, there was no road but a small railway line there, with only 6 trains a day. And yet Monet complained that the soot from the passing trains fell on his plants and flowers and  befouled them. As a result, every morning, one  of his numerous gardeners had to take the  little boat and row around the pond, washing and cleaning the water lilies one by one ! Just imagine the gossips in the village !


It is quite understandable that the most villagers’ reaction should have been to think «this man is crazy!» Even decades later, the unkind, unfavourable impression and feeling remained; many people in Giverny and Vernon didn’t think much of him. In the 60s and 70s, when talking with  people who had known Claude Monet, it wasn’t rare to get this only answer: « Oh... Monet ? ... Monet... No...He was a man of little consequence...»



A selection of other pages about Monet and Giverny
* Giverny, an American colony
* Monet, the Seine and Normandy
* The gardener and his art