Tuesday, 22 April 2014

Beautiful Giverny

Marnie and I were up and out the door early today (too early, it transpired, as we did a lot of waiting at the train station) to go to Giverny! The train ride is only 45 minutes out of Paris and then you spend 20 minutes on a shuttle bus from Vernon station to the village of Giverny. A round trip on the train sets you back about 28 euros and the shuttle bus round trip is 8 euros. Giverny is famous, of course, for being the home of the brilliant Impressionist painter Claude Monet. His house and gardens are open to visit and you can see so many beautiful and recognisable scenes from his art. He himself was the garden architect and it has been recreated and preserved with such love and merit. We had beautiful sunny, spring weather, and the light on so much colour was stunning. His house is pink (amazing) but the inside has some seriously gorgeous interior decorating in blues and yellows, and a huge amount of art on the walls. You can see his studio, his bedroom, the beautiful kitchen and dining room - it really is a wonderfully preserved monument. But the real attraction is the gardens. The famous water lilies were not as plentiful on the water at this time, but the garden was stuffed to the brim with tulips, wisteria, hyacinth, violets, roses, poppies and approximately 5 bazillion other varieties of plants that I can't name, but are brilliantly colourful. We saw turkeys and chickens and a tiny little frog hidden on the banks of the pond, the famous Japanese bridge and the little riverboats. And the enormous gift shop, of course.

Ten points if you can spot the frog...

After Monet's house and gardens, we stopped for lunch (tea and baguettes, yum), then walked up the road to the church where he is buried. His grave is quite elaborate, but it contains quite a few members of his family as well. There is no fence or anything roping it off - it's so touching that he was buried in the place he loved so much. We wandered up and down the main street (called Rue Claude Monet) looking in all the shops and galleries, killing time in the best way until our shuttle back to the station. There is an Impressionist Museum there, which we didn't go into today but it is supposed to be very good. There was one tiny gallery with scenes, sort of diorama things, created from little bits of rubbish, and they were arranged into little miniature artist studios. Very beautiful, but too expensive and large to take home to Aus! We had a drink, and climbed back onto the shuttle bus just as the rain started coming down. It continued in earnest while we waited for our train in Vernon, and then as we trundled back to Paris, but by the time we emerged out at metro stop in Montmartre, it had lessened to a pretty sunshower. We had crepes for dinner and people-watched, then walked home to the apartment! Very full day, but such a lovely way to spend it.

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