On our 4th Day in Paris, we journeyed out to Giverny to experience the splendor that is Monet's Garden. Visiting Claude Monet's home and gardens has been on my bucket list since I was a little girl and my dad bought me my first art book. After an easy hour train ride out to Vernon, we hopped in a taxi and arrived at the little museum in Giverny just after 9 am. We grabbed a map and set off through the garden entrance.
I would describe the next few hours as akin to being inside of a dream. The gardens spread across a couple of acres and are comprised of 2 fields connected by an underground tunnel that passes below the Chemin du Roy. We started off at the main gate by foundation house and slowly wove our way through the north garden paths and hedges.
We must have stopped every 5 feet to take a photo of this bud or that flower. The colors were mesmerizing and the plants filled nearly every inch surrounding the narrow walk ways.
Jeff particularly enjoyed snapping the butterflies and bees that landed on the blossoms. They seemed so un-phased by our presence. It was as if we were merely witnessing their lives, voyers in a virtual eden.
After some more wondering and stopping to smell the flowers, we found ourselves in front of Monet's home. Visitors are able to walk through the majority of the house to see into the life of the family man and artist. Sprinkled with original draft paintings and Claude's personal collection of oriental art, the house felt as charming and dreamy as the landscape surrounding it. The use of color in the home was as delightful as the use of color in his paintings. I love colored walls and the way color consumed each room added to the surreal-ness of the entire experience.
After gawking and gazing at the house we made our way to the southern tunnel to explore the bamboo gardens (a nod to Claude's love of Asia) and the infamous lily pond. I was so excited to see the waterlilies and the famous bridge from Monet's masterpieces.
We entered the southern garden and drifted along the little canal through the bamboo forest. I had no idea that a place could feel so tranquil. Jeff and I sat on a bench under the towering stalks and just listened to the breeze and the soft muffle of passing visitors.
After our first little break we made are way around the bend and beheld at last the PICTURESQUE lily pond in all her glory. Surrounded by hanging willow trees and covered in bright green foot bridges, the pond was everything I had imagined it to be.
Jeff and I walked around the pond and waited our turn to snap a photo on the bridge. This was truly a once in a lifetime moment. I kept checking myself to see if I was dreaming, but there it was in front of me - living artwork. Jeff and I found a spot to sit and snack while we stared at the portrait in front of us. After some time of sitting and just being (over an hour) we headed out through the gift shop and out towards lunch. Giverny offers a few sweet restaurants for visitors and we choose to stay close and dine at Les Nympheas. I highly recommend the ham and brie melt, it was one of the best meals of our trip.
We had about an hour and a half before our train returned us to Paris and so we decided to explore the village of Vernon. A historic town which still retains it's medieval architecture, Vernon provided a very cool and surprising afternoon tour. It was truly amazing to stand in front of 15th century houses and schools. While wondering around we felt transported into a story book world filled with castles and keeps.
All in all our day in Giverny and Vernon was magical and made for the perfect first day trip outside the city. We explored the villages and gardens with plenty of time to still grab dinner in Paris. I will cherish the memory of our time in Monet's gardens forever. Until the next one...
~ A ~