Tuesday, August 18, 2009

Giverny

About two weeks ago I was having dinner chez E and she suggested going on a daytrip. E is from Amsterdam, her parents have a home in Ardeché and her fiancés parents have a home near Marseille. Outside of those two places (and Il-de-France of course), she hasn’t visited much of the country. Never one to pass up an opportunity to travel, I told her I would be happy to join her. We settled on Giverny, which was close enough for easy access but far enough to be a relaxing reprieve from city life.

We took a 9am train from Paris to Vernon, 1 hour northwest in (or near?) Normandy. From there, we stopped by a grocery store to pick up food for lunch, rented bikes (12 Euros) and biked about 30 minutes through the countryside to the tiny village of Giverny.

When we arrived around 11am, the line to enter Monet’s house and gardens was already long so we decided to find a place to picnic first. Then we went to see the Monet family gravesite at the village church, followed by a cup of coffee on the patio of a nearby café before heading back to Monet’s house. 40 minutes later (and that was a short wait, let me tell you) we were wandering around the most stunning garden I’ve ever seen, words can’t even begin to describe it. The smell of the flowers alone was incredible. The colors were stunning. The grounds are bursting with fruit trees and plants, flowers of every type, color and height. You literally feel as if you’ve stepped into one of Monet’s paintings.
My favorite place on the grounds was the Japanese water garden.
Weeping willows, bright green bridges and water lilies floating in the pond Monet designed. Wandering through the little pathways and over the bridges reminded me of how I felt reading my favorite book as a child, The Doll in the Garden.

The house Monet lived in with his family was also open to the public so we were able to wander through the rooms, see the beds they slept in, the books they read, the kitchen they cooked their meals in. They even had family photos and wedding certificates displayed around the house. Everything was impressively preserved (no pictures allowed inside unfortunately).

After leaving the house, we wandered onto a little side street, sat on a bench under a tree to eat a snack and imagine what life must be like living in such a sleepy little village. Surprisingly, even with all the tourists flocking to Monet’s house, the rest of the village was very quiet and peaceful. We hung out for a bit before climbing back on our bikes to catch the 6:30pm train back to Paris. Giverny is definitely one of the most picturesque cities I've visited in France, and worth the trip.

6 comments:

Emily Marie said...

Looks lovely! I can't believe I'm approaching my 3 year anniversary of living in France and still haven't gone!

Stacy said...

It was-- you should totally make a trip! Though you may want to wait till September (or early next spring) when the tourists are gone and the lines aren't so long :)

Gigi said...

I love Giverny and have fond memories of sunlit days spent amongst Monet's many gardens. I love it and the idea of dining at the same cafe as Mary Cassatt was just TOO GOOD to pass up! :o) Glad you enjoyed yourself.

rhonalala said...

Looks like this was a fabulous day. the grounds are gorgeous.

[Insightfully,Heidi] said...

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Angel said...

This is very beautiful!

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Simply breathtaking!

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