When I visited Monet’s home and famous gardens in the town of Giverny, I was struck by how pleasant his estate was. The gardens were beautiful, but not grand. It seemed as though the design was dictated by his affection for the flowers and not the effect of their placement. The windows of his home opened to the gardens. And when I looked out those windows, for a moment, I understood wealth. To live in that place, and in that manner, seemed the richest sort of life.
My favorite rooms are his dining room and kitchen. Their bright yellow and blue are so welcoming and cheerful. Monet went blind there, the colors receding for him, but the feeling of the place must have remained long after. I didn’t want to leave. More than any place I’ve ever been, it seemed imprinted with a kind of gracious warmth, as though someone had lived a good life there and was wishing you the same.