Last train ride of the trip today. Train travel is much more enjoyable sans luggage by the way. Had never been through Gare St. Lazare but definitely one of the nicest stations in Paris. We got on a train headed to Vernon in the Normandy region. Vernon is the stop for Giverny, the home of Claude Monet. They have a great set up at the Vernon station. There are a number of buses waiting when you get off and for 8€ you get a round trip ride on the bus to Giverny.
We arrived and headed straight for his house and garden. My friend is an art teacher and was great to have with me and was beyond excited! They have recreated his home as it was when he lived there. It was bright and colorful and everything you would expect from an artist’s home. But the real draw are the gardens, and specifically the water lily garden where he painted the famous Water Lily paintings (which we had seen yesterday)
Since Monet’s time they have built a road through the middle of the property so the foundation built a tunnel under it to get to the pond. The flower garden is so amazing, better than any botanical garden I’ve been to and almost everything was in bloom. I really wished I had better photography skills (or one of my talented cousins or friends with me).
We finally headed to the famed lily pond. Now, I had mentioned to some people I was going to Giverny and no one was ever really excited. The website for the house was not great so I was a little worried that it would be somewhat of a let down because I was very excited. That was not the case. When we entered the pond garden it was like we stepped on the canvas of a Monet painting. We found a bench and just sat and took it all in for awhile. It was breathtaking! After that we walked around and took a bunch of pictures. (I have one set as the wallpaper on my work computer now – nothing says “serenity now” like water lilies)
When we were finally able to make ourselves leave the gardens we explored the town. There are a number of bed and breakfasts, a few galleries and a few shops and cafes. If you follow the main road you come across the church and cemetary where Monet is buried. And then it was time to head back to the bus to get back to the train. Giverny was a great day trip from Paris and I would highly recommend it, especially in the summer when all the gardens are in bloom.
So it was my last night in Paris. I was still a little tired from our day trip and decided to find dinner near the hotel. I picked the place I had stopped for breakfast the day before because the woman had been so nice. We enjoyed a few Picon Biéres and some dinner. It was the pefect last night in Paris and did not even involve the Eiffel Tower.
I love Paris even more every time I go. I firmly believe I was French in a past life. I’m never ready to leave and I’m always ready to go back. Paris, je t’aime!