In the flower-filled garden of Claude Monet in the French village of Giverny, you’ll find an oasis of beauty.

The table is long and set with a white cloth and 14 yellow chairs in Claude Monet’s brightly lit dining room.

In the kitchen a long row of shiny copper pans hangs on the blue tiled walls, but the stove is cold.

There’s no lunch being served here today because the cook, the gardener and the painter died long ago.  His spirit remains in the flower filled garden, the studio filled with paintings just as he liked to view them, and in the garden view through the wide open windows visible from his comfortable bed.

Monet’s house and garden has been open to the public since 1980, after significant restoration work was undertaken on the garden and house.  The house was damaged during World War II and then later the staircase collapsed and floors and ceilings rotted. Visitors can wander through the gardens and the house from April 1 to November 1. When the property is closed the gardens are replanted for the following year’s opening.

The garden is in two sections – a flower garden called Clos Normand in front of the house and a Japanese inspired water garden on the other side of the road. Today the water garden is reached via a subway but in Monet’s time he merely strolled across the road.

The water garden is where you will find the famous green Japanese bridge draped with wisterias.  There are other similar small bridges and graceful weeping willows all surrounded by a swath of flowers.

It’s no wonder that this self-created garden inspired Monet’s paintings for so long. He created masterpieces in the garden and then painted another masterpiece.  As I wander the willow-shaded pathways, my Trafalgar Tour Director, Sarah, reminds me to look at the reflections, not just the view, as the reflections feature strongly in Monet’s paintings.

You can’t take photographs in the house but I managed to capture a glimpse through the kitchen door.

Lunch with Monet as your imaginary companion at the delightful café in the historic village of Giverny where you’ll find a wide selection of baguettes, salads and pastries, plus good coffee.

Disclaimer: Kerry Heaney travelled to Monet’s Garden  as a guest of Trafalgar  on a Trafalgar Insider tour.