Description of the site and the village
Information gathered by André Buffet during discussions with André Picard.
Translation by Katherine Bourguignon
Photography and layout by Jean-Michel Peers
Postcards from the Terra Foundation for American Art.
Geomorphological drawing by André Picard
Geographic map from IGN
“The inhabited land of the village of Giverny forms a crescent, skirting the foot
of the hills of the Epte, and Seine, on the right side of these rivers.
The aspect of the crescent can be explained by its location at the convergence of these two
valleys. The village is therefore crowded between the hills and the lower valley, liable to
flooding. It spreads out along four kilometers while the width of the farmable land is only
about one tenth of its length, given the limits imposed by the gradation of the land.
The village is shielded by the north-west by the hills that rise above the village more than
100 meters. (The level of the lowest part is 16 meters NGF (“Nivellement général de la France”)
while the height of the hills varies between 122 and 138 meters NGF).
We can distinguish four geographic zones with different characteristics:
1) The low alluvial zone of 12 to 14 meters NGF, liable to flooding,
2) The urbanized zone of 16 to 35 meters NGF
3) The hillsides whose altitude varies between 14 and 122 meters NGF
4) The north plateau of 122 to 138 meters NGF
In days gone by, there were 113 houses for a population of about 300 inhabitants. The structure of
the houses was made up of a juxtaposition of hamlets, organized around a few farms, spread out
along the length of the crescent. From the East to the West their names were: Falaise, Les Mayeux,
Les Becquettes, L’Amiscourt, Le Pressoir, Les Grands jardins, Le bout de Giverny, Manitaux (Orgival).
Each hamlet was almost entirely self-sufficient:
- There was a grocer’s shop and a bistrot in almost each area of the village,
- Many inhabitants, farmers in particular, produced their own bread,
- Drinking water was provided by pumps, mostly hand-pumps, reaching up to 23 meters in depth,
as at the Vieux logis
- 5 Washhouses were located along the length of the village on the banks of the public stream
depending on each area and responding to household needs for washing.”