Once a humble roadside café in rural Giverny, France, the little-known nineteenth-century buvette owned by Angelina and Gaston Baudy evolved into a lively gathering place for an eccentric community of now internationally acclaimed artists after painter Claude Monet settled in the bucolic township.
When American painter Willard Metcalf happened upon Ancien Hôtel Baudy in Giverny, France, in 1886, he was delighted to discover the master of Impressionism lived nearby. “Monet lives in a superb little village,” Metcalf enthused after dining with the artist. “There is an inn there where one can eat and sleep for only four cents … .”
The courtyard, above, retains an enchanting sense of abandon common to the lush hillside flower gardens cultivated in Giverny at the close of the nineteenth century. Meandering paths, thick with rosebushes and bordered by daisies and Hypericum, reveal clearings where now-legendary painters, such as Paul Cézanne and Pierre-Auguste Renoir, positioned their easels to portray the blossoms that flourish on the property in May and June. Many canvases were completed in the shelter of this rustic vine-covered studio, built in 1887.
“Go to the Hotel Baudy in Giverny,” Impressionist Camille Pissarro urged. “There you will find all that you need to paint, and the best company there is!” Originally equipped with two modest tables, the business expanded quickly to accommodate an increasing patronage. The Baudys enlarged the restaurant and added sleeping quarters, erected workshops and a ballroom, stocked art supplies, and set up an impromptu gallery.
To explore more of Hotel Baudy, see “Brushes With Greatness ANCIEN HÔTEL BAUDY,” on page 55 of the May/June 2014 issue of Victoria magazine.