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Review – Monet in Paris: a magical accessible experience

By Eric Scott

Monet in Paris

By Grande Experiences and Andrew Kay

Le Grand Palais

97 Macarthur Avenue, Hamilton

Wednesday 7 June to Sunday 6 August 2023

What a memory inducing, magical experience was a visit to the Monet in Paris extravaganza at Hamilton. I sat soaking in the atmosphere seated comfortably in a wheelchair lent by the producers (they have a couple to be loaned out on a first come first served basis) and pushed around by my wife Dee, as huge images of impressionist paintings swirled round on massive screens.

There were Monet’s water lilies, Renoir’s parties, Cezanne’s rocky landscapes, Pissarro’s pointillism, Lautrec’s Moulin Rouge and so many more. The story was a fascinating look into the French Impressionist world of work and thought. It took me back to our last visit to Paris and the breathtaking impressionist exhibition at the Musée d'Orsay plus the magical peace of Monet’s home at Giverny. This was a place of inspiration for me and that inspiration was reawakened creating an urge to get the brushes working again.

The technical prowess involved with the hour long presentation was incredible, the huge images lost little of the original colour and the detail of the brush strokes was fascinating. The time just flew by.

The huge temporary building, the very cleverly constructed Le Grand Palais, was filled with people wandering in subdued lighting; there were people of all ages, many entire families of adults and children enjoying the electronic effects in awe. Many people sat on the floor taking in the atmosphere

In one spot the ceiling turned into an underwater view of Monet’s lily pond as goldfish swam above and the floor switched magically from a butterfly filled garden to Parisian cobblestone streets and sandy shores. All this with captions bouncing round the central room, and set to a moody orchestral score from composers like Tchaikovsky and Offenbach.

I’m not too steady on my feet these days, so such a trip was a little daunting but the venue turned out to be disability friendly, beginning with plenty of parking space set close to the entrance. The exhibit was on one level, as with the huge dining and drinking area, and there were ample chairs for the leg weary and very attentive attendants to look after the comfort of patrons.

I would recommend a two hour time frame to take it all in and have a glass of wine to recuperate.

Finally there was an excellent merchandise store with a mock-up of Monet’s famous Japanese Garden Bridge for a free souvenir photo. I didn’t worry about that, after all I already have a photo taken on the real thing!

My interpretation of Monet’s lily pond taken from a photo by Dee.


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