Today we headed down to Giverney to Maison Et Jardins De Claude Monet (in English Claude Monet’s garden). It’s about 70 km’s from Paris. The ride out through the city was a nightmare and everything you’ve heard about bad French drivers were on display. The horn on the bike got its biggest workout since we’ve bought it. We had selected no toll roads and the route took us through pretty uninspiring industrial looking suburbs with hundreds of stop lights. All red. The final 20 km’s was rolling farmland and little villages which was quite refreshing. Finally we arrived at Residence Claude Monet which was in fact a street in another town. After resetting the satnav we travelled the final 5 km’s to Giverney.
The gardens are split in two with a tunnel connecting the water gardens on one side of the road and the flower garden on the other. The water gardens were developed by Claude Monet by diverting water from the river into his lake. It was on this lake that his famous painting “The Water Lilies” was set. Monet was a fan of Japanese art and Japanese style bridges span either end of the lake.
Walking around the gardens it’s easy to see how he drew inspiration with all different plants providing a profusion of colour and shape. The gardens were packed and it as hard to get photos without people in the background. Bus tour groups, visitors from all over and Asian brides all jostled to get the perfect photo around the lake.
The main gardens were just as crazy with tourists shuffling through. Most of the gardens are barred so that you have to circulate around the outside. Mass plantings of all different flowers currently the dahlias are in flowers and just stunning, pergolas covered in creepers and carpeted with golden nasturtiums. Wow what an explosion of colour. There were a few small grassy areas with a handful of flowering bulbs breaking the carpet of green.
Looking over it all was the pink two story house of Monet covered in wisteria. Inside the house the walls were lined with Japanese prints, 231 in fact which supposedly Monet drew inspiration from. A number of his own paintings lined a ground floor studio room which overlooked the garden and you could imagine him sitting contemplating an artwork. A note to anyone going to the gardens, although the website says tickets are cheaper if you book online they’re actually cheaper at the gardens. Grrr
When we returned to the carpark to pick up our picnic we met a nice couple on holiday from Chorleywood, about 6 miles from mums. What a small world. We chatted over lunch and it was really nice. When we return to England we’ll catch up.
After lunch we wandered along the street of Giverney. What a beautiful little town. Everyone seems to get into the swing with beautiful gardens. The Musée Des Impressionnesmes Giverney had the most impressive formal gardens. Hedges boxed explosions of colours and scents. All sorts of different plants in the same colour really was effective with mass plantings of white, red, purple, yellow and the smell…….ooh laa laa!
There were lots of photo opportunities with little gardens, old houses, sand sculptures, and the old church where Monet shares a plot with his family.
After spending a lovely day in Giverney and Claude Monet’s garden, we headed back to Paris after another satnav meltdown due to the low cloud. Note to fellow travellers do not follow hand painted signs, because not everybody is either trustworthy or skilled in geography. After a slight detour we reversed our course finally picking up the A13 back to Paris, and the crazy drivers.
Finally back in Paris we enjoyed Dinner with Guillaume before heading out again for our Paris Night Tour