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A Day of Flowers

May 20, 2008 - Morning and Afternoon - Giverny

I was up at 6:30 the next morning. I dressed and left Bobbie at the apartment to go on my own to the home of Claude Monet at Giverny. I took and 95 Bus to Gare St. Lazare, (these world-famous places, being used as everyday practicalities! Astonishing!) I bought first-class billets for Vernon. First class means you sit upstairs, with a view. The train left exactly on time at 8:15 a.m. It was a lovely ride out of Paris into the countryside of lazy brown rivers, large trees with spring green adorning them and finally to the little town of Vernon; our second stop.

A street in the twon of Vernon, near Giverny, where Monet lived and painted

Once in Vernon, even this early, it is possible to just follow the people walking to the two buses which transport you to Giverny. There, you follow the people again to Claude Monet's home.

I walked a street in the village of Giverny to the home of Monet

Purchase a ticket and go in. First stop, the gift shop. Second you go through a small garden to the house itself. I was told that "No picture-taking is allowed inside the home." It has a gallery of his paintings and the rooms are quaint and colorful. A yellow kitchen with Japanese prints. And a blue kitchen also. Upstairs and downstairs are many rooms, but the bedrooms are all upstairs.
Finally, into the garden just outside the home. It is planted in orderly rows of lovely flowers.

The individual flowers were absolutely perfect!

Delicate buds and perfect orchids

While they are magnificent, I felt the gardens at Filoli in California, while not as historic, are as beautiful as here. But that is not the point; this is the home and love of Claude Monet and the flowers and scenery he made world-famous.

The garden is a Paradise of beautiful flowers

I walked to the pond of the water lilies. Here is where one feels the essence of the paintings we all know so well. It is serene, still and lovely. From every step along the circular walk, the scene makes subtle changes; each as beautiful as the last.

The pond has a different scene every few feet along the circular route

Willow trees reflect in the still water; water lilies float on top

Bridge draped with wisteria. So beautiful!

I can see the serenity he achieved here. A cuckoo was calling from a nearby tree as I entered the pond and a dove was cooing when I left.
After this restful moment, I walked across the small drive to the Restaurant Les Nympheas (waterlilies), sat down at a lacy white cast iron table among the flowers. I was entertained by red-colored sparrows as I ate.

Saralee at the restaurant Les Nympheas, and her feathered-friend!

I had for my meal black coffee, quiche lorraine, salade and bayonne which seemed almost like beef jerky. It was all delicious. I took the time to write in my diary while sitting here in this peaceful setting.
After lunch, I walked liesurely around the village of Giverny. It has quaint outdoor cafes, and fields of poppies.

Scenes of Giverny

I was most intrigued with the way they handled parking lots. They plant grass over lattice-work cement, so that the parking lots are a field of green when not being used, and they continue to aid the atmosphere with photosynthesis. I loved that!

The ecologically fine parking there! And lovely gardens everywhere.

At last, I went to the train station in Vernon, and back to Paris. The cock weathervane atop the house across from the tracks was telling me it had been a long and lovely day. Now back to my friend in Paris

Back on the train and head home

I am so happy that Bobbie and I are getting around by bus, Metro and train (RER) everywhere we can't reach by foot. We are getting so familiar with the area. And I am speaking better French every day.
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