"Giverny was not what I thought it would be. I had been for a long time interested in Impressionism's peculiar view of nature... This curious emphasis on leisure, plus the process of enshrinement that all famous art is subjected to, had conditioned me to see Giverny as a place more exactly situated in dreams than in reality. Nothing prepared me for the thousands of visitors who come to this village. I had no conception of how much work and planning it took to maintain a garden. The question that immediately became apparent to me was this: What drives people here? What is the meaning of this pilgrimage?
Summer days in Normandy are frequently rainy and cool and yet the crowds never really abated. People, often elderly, come there on days when the place is closed and plead to enter. I felt I was witnessing a social phenomenon. I discussed this at length with landscape architect, Gary Dwyer, and after speaking with a good many of those tourists and volunteers, we came away with the impression that it was not the love of art, nor the near mythical fame of Claude Monet that drove people to Giverny. It was the garden itself, sanctified by Art, made magical by promotional promises but still a garden, a place of Ideal Nature.