Where to See Claude Monet's 10 Most-Famous Paintings in France

Musee D'Orsay, Paris with some people out front
Pawel Libera / Getty Images

Known as one of the founders of the French Impressionist movement in painting, Claude Monet has resonated with millions of people through his moving, light-filled landscapes, startling use of color, and soft brushstrokes. France holds some of the most important collections of paintings from the artist, held at museums and galleries principally based in Paris and Normandy. Here's where to see 10 key masterpieces from Monet in France, as well as tips on how to best enjoy them.

01 of 10

"Impression, Sunrise" (1872)

Impression, Sunrise (Impression, soleil levant), 1872. Artist: Monet, Claude (1840-1926)

Heritage Images / Getty Images

Address
2 Rue Louis Boilly, 75016 Paris, France
Phone
+33 1 44 96 50 33

Monet painted this sublime sunrise landscape in 1872, depicting the port at the his home city of Le Havre in Northern France. It's famous for having inspired the term "Impressionism," since Monet presented it for the first time at the 1874 Paris show now called the "Exhibition of the Impressionists."

Some art critics see the painting's dramatic use of early morning light and prominent depiction of a flame-like sun as relatable to the work of British watercolorist William Turner. The bold, dark vessels on the sea draw the eye to the center of the landscape.

How to Enjoy It: The Musée Marmottan-Monet hold's the world's largest collections of the artist's work, and this is one of its central masterpieces. We recommend allowing plenty of time to sit with it, allowing the complex colors and brushstrokes to wash over you.

02 of 10

"The Japanese Footbridge and the Water Lily Pool, Giverny" (1899)

The Japanese Footbridge, Giverny by Claude Monet

Geoffrey Clements / Corbis / Getty Images

Address
Musee D'Orsay, 75007 Paris, France

While Monet painted many places around France during his lifetime, there is none so closely associated with the artist than his private house and Japanese-style gardens at Giverny, at the edge of the Normandy region.

This masterpiece from 1899 is iconic for its soft green, blue, and pink hues, melding together to create an alluring image of one of the Japanese-style footbridges that grace the gardens at Giverny. Waterlilies (nymphéas in French) reflect in the water below.

Where to See It: Musée d'Orsay, Paris

How to Enjoy It: The painting is held within the Orsay's remarkable permanent collection of Impressionist and Expressionist art (room 34). See our guide to the 11 best ways to make the most of the museum to fully enjoy your visit.

03 of 10

"Nymphéas" (Waterlilies, Large-Scale Murals; 1914-1918)

Claude Monet, Nymphéas (Waterlilies), Musée de l'Orangerie, Paris

Public domain

Address
Jardin Tuileries, 75001 Paris, France
Phone
+33 1 44 50 43 00

Monet painted this monumental series as a meditation on peace during the years when Europe was plunged in the chaos and death of World War I. Comprised of eight panels that each stand a breathtaking 6.5 feet high, they were created for the gallery space, curving around the walls and reproducing the idyllic water gardens and nymphéas at Giverny.

Where to See It: Musée de l'Orangerie, Paris

How to Enjoy It: We recommend visiting in the early morning or late afternoon (preferably on a weekday) to best enjoy the meditative power of this monumental piece. Walk slowly around the room to take it in from different perspectives, noticing how natural light flooding into the room changes your experience of the piece from various vantage points.

04 of 10

"Setting Sun at Etretat, Normandy" (1883)

'Cliffs at Ètretat', 1885-1886. Artist: Claude Monet

Heritage Images / Getty Images

Address
3 Place Stanislas, 54000 Nancy, France
Phone
+33 3 83 85 30 01

Monet's series of landscapes depicting dramatic cliffs and watery seaside perspectives in Etretat, Normandy are world-famous. This oil painting in the series shows the iconic cliffs looming darkly in the center of the canvas, as a setting sun casts lines of color—from salmon pinks to deep blues—in the sky above.

How to Enjoy It: One of the few masterpieces from Monet to be held in a French museum outside of Paris and Normandy, "Setting Sun at Etretat" is one reason to visit the fine arts museum in Nancy, an important city in Northeastern France.

Continue to 5 of 10 below.
05 of 10

"Houses of Parliament, London" (1905)

Claude Monet,

Public domain

Address
2 Rue Louis Boilly, 75016 Paris, France
Phone
+33 1 44 96 50 33

In the early 20th century, Monet composed a series of oils depicting London's Houses of Parliament and Thames river. All painted from Monet's window or terrace at St Thomas' Hospital in London, the oils were composed at different times of the day and under different climatic conditions. This painting in the series shows the Parliament against purply, sunset-time skies, with striking light illuminating the water below.

Where to See It: Musée Marmottan-Monet, Paris

How to Enjoy It: The intimate galleries at the Marmottan-Monet tend to allow plenty of space for contemplation, and visiting earlier in the morning can help you appreciate the dramatic hues and vivid brushstrokes in this iconic oil tableau.

06 of 10

"The Artist's Garden at Giverny" (1900)

The artist's garden at Giverny - by Claude Monet

 

Photo Josse / Leemage / Getty Images

Address
Musee D'Orsay, 75007 Paris, France

During the last 30 years of his life, Monet concentrated increasingly on painting scenes from Giverny. This is yet another iconic tableau from that extended period in the artist's work. Dating to 1900, it depicts intensely pink and purple irises in varying shades, presented on a diagonal across the length of the frame. The centerpiece flowers are framed by trees and dappling light that passes through them.

Where to See It: Musée d'Orsay, Paris

How to Enjoy It: You'll find this masterpiece in room 34 within the permanent collection at the Orsay. Stand back a bit to notice how the painting's different planes come into sharper view the further you move away, then appear to almost meld together as you approach. You can glimpse the bluish-green facade of Monet's house through the trees.

07 of 10

"Le Déjeuner sur L'Herbe" (Luncheon on the Grass, Fragment; 1865-1866)

Luncheon On The Grass (Le Dejeuner Sur L'herbe)
Heritage Images / Getty Images
Address
Musee D'Orsay, 75007 Paris, France

This image of wealthy Parisian picnic-goers idling luxuriantly on and around the grass is, in fact, a fragment of a much larger painting. Monet created it in response to a controversial work with the same title from Edouard Manet, painted in 1863.

Where to See It: Musée d'Orsay, Paris

How to Enjoy It: You'll find this right-side fragment from the masterpiece in room number 29 within the Orsay's permanent collection. Notice the more classical style of this early work from the Impressionist master. Here the emphasis is on posed human subjects and their clothing, but light and greenery still play a significant starring role.

Make sure to look for a second fragment, this time cut from the left side of the original painting, in the same room.

08 of 10

"The Rowboat" (1887)

Monet,

 Wikimedia Commons / Public domain

Address
2 Rue Louis Boilly, 75016 Paris, France
Phone
+33 1 44 96 50 33

This is an unusual masterpiece from Monet's Giverny period, in that it chooses a rowboat as its subject. However, the real star of the tableau seems to be the river water and encroaching greenery, which seem to meld together in an oddly dynamic scene. The boat itself appears almost "stuck" among the foliage and river grasses.

Where to See It: Musée Marmottan-Monet, Paris

How to Enjoy It: Notice how the deep greens and blues used to convey a grassy riverside bank form red and orange-tipped "filaments" that seem to wave from the canvas, taking up most of its space.

Continue to 9 of 10 below.
09 of 10

"Poppies" (1873)

Poppy Field - by Claude Monet

 

Photo Josse / Leemage / Getty Images

Address
Musee D'Orsay, 75007 Paris, France

Poppy fields became a favorite subject for Monet during the period when he lived in Argentueil, a town outside of Paris. In this tableau, an enormous, cloud-filled sky is foregrounded by bright orange poppies, principally taking up the left side of the frame. A woman wielding an umbrella strolls through the field alongside a child. The two figures likely depict Monet's wife Camille and their young son.

Where to See It: Musée d'Orsay, Paris

How to Enjoy It: This arresting scene can be enjoyed in room 29 at the Orsay's permanent collection. Notice how Monet creates a sense of subtle movement and dynamism through brushstrokes. You can almost feel the cool breeze moving through the field along with the human figures.

10 of 10

"Train in the Snow" (1875)

The Train in the snow by Claude Monet

 

Photo Josse / Leemage / Getty Images

Address
2 Rue Louis Boilly, 75016 Paris, France
Phone
+33 1 44 96 50 33

Monet only rarely depicted scenes from industrial life. But this striking oil tableau of a train moving through a snowy landscape clearly shows his ability to juxtapose natural scenery and mechanical objects, to mesmerizing effect.

Where to See It: Musée Marmottan-Monet, Paris

How to Enjoy It: Notice how the billowing steam escaping from the train creates a sense of slight movement; you can almost feel the locomotive approaching the station. A fence running down the near-center of the frame effectively divides the scene: to the left, the great new machine of industry, and to the right stark winter trees.

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Where to See Claude Monet's 10 Most-Famous Paintings in France