It was a very special day, for three reasons:
1. I got to ride upstairs on a ‘double decker’ train (twice!)
2. It was our Silver Wedding anniversary
3. We visited Monet’s fabulous Giverny!
Just a couple of weeks before we had watched Monty Don browsing the borders in splendid isolation (except for the camera crew). We joked that we might not find quite so much space on the iconic bridge, and so it proved. But I couldn’t honestly say that it detracted one bit from the occasion for us. It was, quite simply, fabulous!
Based in central Paris, I had pre-booked train tickets from Gare St. Lazare to Vernon, the nearest railway station to Giverny. Apart from a few moments of anxiety when the ticket machine wouldn’t cooperate, all went smoothly. Soon I was safely ensconced upstairs on my SNCF super smart train, strong coffee and pain au chocolat et noisettes stickily in hand.
The train glided out of the station and I spent the first few minutes replying to all the messages of goodwill and trying not to get my phone sticky. 51 minutes later I was disembarking at Vernon and boarding a ‘navette’ or shuttle coach for the 15 minute ride to Giverny.
Bathed in gentle sunshine, I was pleased to discover that the queue outside Monet’s house was quite short (miniscule by Versailles standards!) I listened to different accents from around the world as I edged forward, with rising excitement. I almost had to pinch myself! Just a murmur of doubt- would it live up to expectations?- before I was at the ticket office.
Everywhere I looked, I fell in love! Wouldn’t you?
I had been enchanted by these two little girls since I saw them skipping across the road from the railway station, in pink wellies on a sunny day. I had tried to take a photo of them sitting, heads together, on a bench, but when I asked if I might, they took flight. Mother’s warning not to talk to strange ladies! So how could I resist when I found them with Mum, on Monet’s bridge?
Then, a threat of rain. We headed back towards the house, still marveling at the beautiful borders.
Of course, everyone had the same idea. While the gardens had been easy to admire, with a little patience and good timing, the house was the only shelter from the sudden downpour. Despite this, I was delighted with it and the light-heartedness of the gaily coloured rooms. Pretty pastel walls were adorned with the oriental pieces that Monet had loved. I snapped with enthusiasm until I was advised that photography within the house was not allowed. I don’t suppose I should but I’m going to share just one image. It might encourage you to make the journey, mightn’t it?
And after the rain? Glorious sunshine, causing the plants to lift their heads and smile.
I hope you’ve enjoyed sharing our special day. Whenever anyone mentions Giverny from now on I will be able to return to this little bubble in time.
There’s still a little more to come but nothing can top Giverny for me. I’ll let you decide for yourself. Many thanks for reading and for your continuing support. My world would be a much emptier place without you.