Woke at 6:50am after hitting the snooze button twice. By 7:15am, we are out of the apartment and heading off to the Metro to catch a train to Vernon to see Monet’s House and Garden in Giverny. The walk to the Metro station is lovely – we could not have asked for better weather, sunny and cool!
We get our tickets for the train ride at the Saint-Lazare train station. After getting a couple of croissants for the train, we catch our 7:56am train to Vernon. The train ride lasted about an hour and was smooth and uneventful. There was plenty of room on the train. We watch the French country-side go by and eat our croissants. Once we arrive at the Vernon train station, we immediately head to the buses for the trip to the garden. There were three large buses just waiting for us, the tourists from the train. We paid 8 Euros each to take a round-trip ride a few miles through the town of Giverny to the house and gardens.
We arrive in Giverny just as the park opens up. There are three parts to this attraction, Monet’s garden (the house where Claude Monet lived, painted, and died), a flower garden in front of the house (that served as inspiration for a number of his paintings), and a Japanese inspired water garden on the other side of the road (another source of artistic inspiration). We had passes already (we purchased them at the FNAC a couple of blocks from our apartment a few days ago) so we enter the park immediately and head right to the house for a walk-through.
Claude Monet (born November 14, 1840 and died December 5, 1926) was a French painter and the founder of French impressionist painting. He was the most consistent and prolific practitioner of the movement’s philosophy where one does not paint the likeness of an object, one paints the impression of the object based on how the light hits it. To do this work, Monet painted outside on location and thus, spearheaded the plein-air landscape painting movement.
No pictures can be taken in the house, but it is a lovely house — homey and comfortable with plenty of light and color! His studio is a dream! After the house, we walked through the garden out front.
We then followed the trail under the road to view the lily ponds, the inspiration for many of Monet’s most famous paintings.
Since we are in the area, we decide to hop back on the train and continue to the town of Rouen, based on Rick Steves’ recommendation.
We arrived in Rouen around 1pm. It was here in Rouen that Joan of Arc was executed in 1431. There is a church dedicated to her in the main square.
Being in the region of Normandy, this city is also seeped in modern history. It was nearly destroyed in WWII and many of the buildings and churches still wear the marks of bullets and shrapnel. We were both surprised at how lovely Rouen was! It looks more German than French with all the tutor timber buildings.
Eventually, we got hungry but found that most of the restaurants closed at 2pm after lunch, not to open again until 7pm. So we finished our tour and jumped back on the 6:50pm train back to Paris.
Back at the apartment, we are both tired. We make a dinner out of left-overs. I work on my blog and my DH researches our activity for tomorrow – another ROAD TRIP!
Quote of the Day: “Are we still in France?” — Anna