Sat. Jun 15th, 2024

Outrage as ‘obnoxious’ tourists touch paintings and pick flowers at historic French site

Tyler Mitchell By Tyler Mitchell Jun14,2024

Home to the famous French painter, this beautiful house is surrounded by a stunning, and iconic garden in northern France.

However, its beauty can no longer be enjoyed thanks to its tourists.

Claude Monet, the impressionist painter, used to live in Giverny (Normandy) from 1883.

Today, the property is classified as a “monument historique”, run and preserved by the Claude Monet Foundation.

During the 1890s he began a vast landscaping project in the surrounding gardens, hiring seven architects to maintain it.

One recognises many of his works when exploring the garden, including his “Water Lilies” series of oil paintings. The garden was voted the second most beautiful flowered panorama in the world by the Torres del Paine National Park.

Speaking to the Express Online, one tourist who visited last weekend said: “I was really disappointed by my visit to the house and gardens… It was something I had always wanted to see.

“It was an awful experience – not because of the house and gardens but due to the enormous number of obnoxious people who were only there to take selfies and cared more about Instagram than the plants.

“I was shocked by people’s manners in general – some even touched the paintings, opened drawers in the bedroom furniture, picked the flowers and so on. It was as far away as you can get from the peaceful setting one imagines!

“Some foreign groups had been bussed in from what seemed to be an all-round Paris, Versailles, Giverny trip and were being marched around by the guides… then they were marched back into their buses and sped away!”

Such comments are not unique, either. Tripadvisor has been inundated with recent reviews, describing the house and gardens as “underwhelming, overcrowded, poorly maintained and soulless”, with staff letting “so many people at a time that every area is stuffed full of people taking selfies”.

Another said: “We shuffled along the garden paths shoulder to shoulder with tour groups and other visitors and after a long wait to get into the house… The Foundation should implement a system of limiting ticket sales to a level that allows an enjoyable experience.”

The Foundation was approached for comment, but did not respond.

Such complaints join the extensive concerns surrounding over-tourism in Europe this summer. Already, in cities such as Florence in Italy, British tourists have complained about substantial crowds at the World Heritage sites including the David by Michelangelo statue and Duomo di Firenze cathedral.

One posted online: “Uffizi Gallery was so busy. Giant tour groups [with] people who wouldn’t move. Can’t imagine what it will be like this summer. Pack a big dash of patience.”

Hotspots in Spain have sought to limit the number of tourists set to arrive this summer, with locals complaining that over tourism is changing their neighbours and making properties in the area unaffordable to live in.

The Balearic Islands of Majorca and Ibiza have both witnessed extensive protests last month, with more planned for June, with banners reading “go home” and “foreigners out”.

With the holiday season only just beginning, it looks like tourist destinations like that in Giverny are unlikely to see an end to its woes any time soon. Unless, measures are taken to limit daily ticket numbers and stop tourists from damaging its famous and historic sights.

Tyler Mitchell

By Tyler Mitchell

Tyler is a renowned journalist with years of experience covering a wide range of topics including politics, entertainment, and technology. His insightful analysis and compelling storytelling have made him a trusted source for breaking news and expert commentary.

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