In Crystal Cruises®, Destination Adventures

Crystal Adventure Log: Step Into Monet’s Canvases in Honfleur and Giverny

Did you know?

Claude Monet was a knowledgeable horticulturalist who devoted 40 years to his garden.

As a young art student, Monet drew charcoal caricatures which he sold for a few francs.

Monet painted about 250 water lily canvases, now in museums all over the world. One of Monet’s water lilies paintings sold privately in 2008 for more than $80 million.

Monet suffered from cataracts; his water lilies were considered “messy” by critics at the time.

In Honfleur, artists developed the practice of painting outdoors, which became vital to Impressionist technique.

Honfleur: Déjà-vu?

Perhaps Crystal Symphony’s voyages this spring and summer offer your first visit to the picturesque port of Honfleur, the Medieval jewel of Normandy…yet it may look somewhat familiar. Because the distinctive beauty and intriguing natural light of Honfleur has been captured in many famous Impressionist paintings, there can be a sense of déjà-vu. Honfleur is a highlight of Normandy’s Côte Fleurie, where world renowned Calvados apple brandy and splendid equestrian centers contribute to making this the country’s third most visited destination.

We are thrilled to introduce this timeless coastal village to our guests, where exploring on foot is like stepping into a 19th century canvas, on three 2016 Crystal Symphony sailings, plus an inclusive two-day post-cruise land program in 2017. Small, but with a large reputation, Honfleur stakes its claim among the most inspirational places in the world of art, as birthplace of the celebrated French Impressionist Movement.

Art lovers with an admiration for Impressionism may know that good fortune brought two souls together at art school in Le Havre in 1857. An 18-year-old Parisian-born caricaturist called Claude Monet met Honfleur artist Eugène Boudin, 16 years his senior. Convincing Monet to take his talents in a different direction, Boudin provided mentorship and a lifelong friendship.

The picturesque port of Honfleur, France
The picturesque port of Honfleur, France

Crystal Adventure Log: A Walking Tour of Honfleur: On the pier, you’ll observe amateur painters setting out their easels “en plein air,” as artists have done since the day Claude Monet, Gustave Courbet, Eugène Boudin and their circle established the Honfleur School. Besides fishing boats and sail boats along the quay, fishermen’s stalls display the catch of the day in a street scene enlivened by dozens of art galleries, restaurants and cafés whose patrons are seated at tables set under brightly colored awnings. Walk along the maze of narrow cobbled streets leading up from the old port into the village.

Twenty-five years later, Claude Monet famously discovered his own sweet spot along the Seine at Giverny. Restored as a museum and historic landmark, the site’s authentic look is preserved, Thousands of flowers surround the manor house’s pink exterior accented by green shutters and doors opening to an interior palette of yellow and blue.

dreamstime_s_48973437_Monet's Garden in Giverny
Monet’s Water Lily Pond in Giverny

Crystal Adventure Log: Monet’s Home and Garden at Giverny: Walk through Claude Monet’s actual home and garden, as you embrace the artist’s passion for inspiration taken from colors and floral compositions. Expect weeping willows and a multi-colored floral explosion between April and September, with the water lilies in bloom all summer, as soon as the pond water is warm enough. The story of color continues Inside Monet’s manor house, where the table is often set for 10 in the canary yellow dining room, as though the artist, his wife Alice and all the family were expected at any moment. 

The picturesque sailings spend an overnight in Honfleur, allowing art aficionados of all levels of expertise to enjoy connecting the dots between the legendary Impressionist Claude Monet’s early days in Honfleur until his passing at the age of 86 at his beloved Giverny.

Book your voyage exploring the French gem of Honfleur by April 29 for additional savings.


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