Giverny- not a walk, more of a linger!

What could be more lovely than a pond full of water lilies?

What could be more lovely than a pond full of water lilies?

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!

Here's just one example!

Here’s just one example!

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.

You probably know how it looks from TV and books?

You probably know how it looks from TV and books?

Everywhere I looked, I fell in love!  Wouldn’t you?

Just a world full of loveliness!

Just a world full of loveliness!

And then we meandered by the stream

Then we meandered by the stream

And found another kind of beauty!

And found another kind of beauty!

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?

You know what's coming next, don't you

You know what’s coming next, don’t you?

The water lilies, of course!

The water lilies, of course!

 

Then, a threat of rain.  We headed back towards the house, still marveling at the beautiful borders.

And plants such as these

Full of plants such as these

And this burgeoning beauty

And this burgeoning beauty

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?

Don't tell, will you?

Don’t tell anyone, will you?

And after the rain?  Glorious sunshine, causing the plants to lift their heads and smile.

A rain-kissed blossom

A rain-kissed blossom

Among a sea of beauty

Among a sea of beauty

Such as this!

Such as this!

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.

128 comments

  1. I can’t believe I’ve been to Paris twice and never made it to Giverny. It looks so lovely and it seems the perfect place to spend your silver wedding anniversary. Happy belated anniversary to both you and Mick, Jo. I’m sorry I’m so late coming to visit this post; I know it was ages ago that you were here. I love your flower photos, especially the “burgeoning beauty.” What is that flower anyway? I hope you have a wonderful weekend, Jo. I’m off to explore a bit of Nanning. I hope I don’t get lost on the buses. 🙂 xxx

  2. Now I understand when you commented that you had water lilies coming up! 🙂 These are absolutely stunning. The paltry lilies at the Brooklyn Botanic Garden can only aspire to be these.

    The entire garden seems so charming. I can see why Monsieur Monet wanted to paint here.

    1. Thanks, Jackie 🙂 I didn’t want to ‘spell it out’ but I’m glad you like them. I don’t have the camera to do full justice to the close ups but they were lovely.

  3. Such a beautiful anniversary Jo . Feel quite envious of this trip of yours 😉
    No matter … you brought Giverny in all its glory straight to me with your fabulous pictures !

    1. Thank you! I’ve just finished peeling a heap of apples. My neighbour doesn’t like them so I get her share as well. Apple pies and crumbles for weeks to come. 🙂 Ah, Giverny! Oh, to be back there 🙂

  4. Oh wow Jo! What a joyful ‘linger’ that was indeed hon! The stunning flowers and the views and oh, I just love that book case. What a pity you were not allowed to take photo’s. Silly rules! 😆

    Congrats to you and hubby on your special day sweetness. May there be many, many more and thanks for sharing all the stunning captures. 😀

    ♥ Big Hugs ♥

    1. The house and furniture were a complete surprise to me, Sonel, even though I knew that they had been maintained in the style Monet loved. I’ll still steal a peek at my forbidden photos now and then 🙂
      Many thanks, hon. I’m glad you enjoyed our special day. Hugs 🙂

  5. I don’t know why they won’t allow anyone to spread the beauty of the inside. You got one picture, and I got so curious with the rest. Can you go back and snag some more pics, you stolen-shot pro? 😀 😉 I kid, I kid.

    1. Part of me understands, Rommel. The whole world snaps away at the garden but the house is a lot less known and is such a surprise when you step inside. It lit my face with a smile immediately (an even bigger one, I should say 🙂 ) In this clever world of theft some of the art works would be reproduced and sold and the originality of the place destroyed. I took maybe a dozen photos and just looking at them makes me feel guilty! But I will always treasure them. 🙂

    1. My favourites were at d’Orsay, Madhu. I hadn’t realised the variety in his work and there was one that I couldn’t tear myself away from. I looked hopefully at Mick thinking he might make them an offer- you know, as an anniversary present- but it just didn’t happen 🙂
      Thank you! We had a fantastic day 🙂

  6. Quite simply, and in a word, *STUNNING* Oh Jo, I can’t think of a more perfect way to spend your silver wedding anniversary. Giverny is top of my list now, no doubt about it. I will be gushing all about it tonight when hubby comes home. Monet’s art is my favourite as I adore water lillies, always have and to have actually been there at his home and gardens, well, a true wonder. Your photos really are spectacular, you’ve outdone yourself with these, but you always take such beautiful shots. Love the little girls too, you did well to get them, lol, and also I promise not to tell anyone about the one of the house, but from what I see I already know I want to live there! Wonderful post, and well worth the wait. Love it from top to bottom, can you tell? 🙂

    1. I think you like this post, Sherri, but I can’t quite be sure 🙂 🙂 You’ll have to start working on your other half immediately 🙂 I wasn’t sure that Mick would like Paris- he’s strictly an Algarve man- but Giverny put a smile on his face. Thank you so much for your enthusiasm.

      1. Haha…now whatever gave you that idea Jo? I was rather enthusiastic wasn’t I? We had our lovely, elderly neighbours over last night for drinks and nibbles so that we could catch up with tales of their recent holiday to Lake Garda and ours to France. I gushed all about your post on Giverny to them and told hubby in no uncertain terms that he HAS to take me one day 😉 Our neighbours are very well travelled and knew all about it but haven’t been there either so they were just as thrilled to hear me go on and on about it – either that or they were just being very polite, lol 😉 So you see Jo, I did sort of like this post 😉

  7. Oh, now my mind is saturated with loveliness, Jo. 🙂 I bet you hardly knew which way to look, surrounded by so much beauty waiting to be captured for posterity. You did such a great job, photographing the exquisite flowers and the gorgeous lily pond. Christine would be proud of you. *sigh* What a fabulous way to celebrate your anniversary. A really unforgettable trip. Thanks for being brave, and sharing the small glimpse of Monet’s house. 🙂 xx

    1. Thanks, Ad 🙂 It was a day to remember for sure. It will make me smile for a long time to come.
      I have a dozen or so naughty photos. I’m in fear of the fierce French lady coming over here to confiscate my camera 🙂

  8. I had to linger through your photos two or three times. They’re so beautiful. I like the small intimacy of the pond and, of course, the memory of Monet’s paintings. Your first picture is particularly gorgeous. In answer to your question, What could be more lovely than a pond full of water lilies? I would say, a pond full of water lilies and a hydrangea.

  9. Thank you for sharing the special day, and great that it was special and without disappointment. Wonderful photos: how many did you take inside before you were sprung?? Your train trip was classier than mine – my food was a poor excuse for coffee and a wafer in a faded wrapper. Water lilies always remind me of Christine – as many things do.

    I wonder where you’ll walk for your 50th anniversary?

    1. Still not finished with the day, Meg. I have to wrestle every last shred of enjoyment out of it to make it last 🙂 About a dozen, I think? It really was joyful till I got ‘snarled at’. 😦
      I did my ‘walk for Christine’ again on Wednesday but it was rather cool and not much colour in the hedges. I took a few more shots (of course) and when I got home left a comment for Stuart. His reply is very beautiful. You might like to see it? (on ‘Christine’s Service’, the last post).
      I’m feeling goosed at the minute, Meg. I might still be walking at 30 🙂 🙂

      1. Thank you for directing me back to service for Christine. I haven’t been following comments, and there have obviously been no more posts. I need a walk for Christine here: the Warsaw one is not much use to me.

        Looking forward to the rest wrested from the day at Giverny.

  10. What a fabulous way to spend your special day, Jo! Absolutely loved these photos. Thanks for sharing them (and the little peek inside the house too!). I can see why you fell in love with Giverny 🙂

    1. It was, Kan! Thank you 🙂 I was thinking of ‘my fairies’ for your Joy series. I have one of them skipping across the zebra crossing outside the station but it’s not the best of shots. I’ll see what else I have 🙂

  11. Well Jo, what can I say in addition to all the other comments you have deservedly received. I felt as though I was stepping into the garden with you, such lovely close-ups of all those delightful dahlias and other beauties and you have created the most lovely galleries to show them off. Giverny is on my list of gardens to visit, but if I never get there in person I shall have this blog post to return to again and again. I wish you’d do more gardens for us 🙂

    Did you visit the Musée de l’Orangerie in Paris where Monet’s water-lily paintings are displayed?

    1. Hi Jude 🙂 Glad you liked it! I have a lot to live up to with garden posts because you do them so beautifully yourself. I will be posting about Versailles at some point. Chalk and cheese 🙂
      Yes, l’Orangerie and d’Orsay, which I could have moved into! Well, me and a few friends 🙂
      I saw on Meg’s that you are off to Australia soon? Lucky duck! Sydney and elsewhere? Have you been before?

      1. I know what you mean, those two museums are a real delight. In answer to your question re: Aus, yes I have been before but not since 2003 – a visit is looong overdue! Sydney for a couple of weeks then I’m not sure, maybe even NZ for a couple of weeks too. OH returning home, so I won’t be doing the road-trip in Tasmania that I wanted to do, but I’m sure I’ll find something to keep me out of mischief 😉

  12. Happy Anniversary!!! We just had our 25th too this year.
    I would not have lingered … I would have just stopped and stared and then remembered I had my camera. These photos are gorgeous. You know I adore your dahlias 🙂

    1. They were real stunners, Cee! You would have been in seventh heaven 🙂
      Sorry I don’t get to yours much these days. I seldom have time for the challenges since I started my Monday walks but I still see your lovely work. Belated congrats to you too. 🙂

  13. Such beautiful gardens Jo. I adore Monet’s paintings of these gardens and it is good to see pictures of these famous gardens.
    Congratulations to you both on your special day.

  14. Thank you for taking us to Giverny, Jo! Enjoyed so much. We visited there more than a decade ago, your photos are much better than mine. 🙂

  15. Love, love your photos and enthusiasm. We visited Giverny in May, and the spring-blooming flowers were just as exquisite. I remember every moment of the train station and ride to and from, so it was fun to hear “re-tell”. Truly a magical place – so glad you were able to experience it.

    1. Our Versailles experience was very different Sammy, and I was a little afraid that it would be overrun with tourists, but it was very manageable and I loved every second. Glad you enjoyed your revisit 🙂

      1. I’m so glad to hear you were not inundated at Versailles. We chose to skip that in favor of more time to stroll aimlessly in Paris. I am glad you enjoyed it; hope to hear more about it 🙂

        I completely fell in love with the parts if France we saw. Never realized how large the land mass is; so much we didn’t cover!

  16. Each & every one of these gorgeous blooms seem to tell a story! Wouldn’t it have been wonderful to plunk those little fairies among all of them & snap a few shots….Paradise!

  17. Shhh – I won’t tell! My most favorite artist – loved the tour, it’s been 30 years since I’ve been there and this was a wonderful surprise post. Beautiful photograph, loved the lily ponds – gorgeous photography. HAPPY ANNIVERSARY!

  18. Such beauty ! You wouldn’t need to offer shots of the interior of the house with gardens looking like that, Jo … Your photos provide much joy, my dear – thank you !!!

    1. You’re very welcome, M-R. I was totally smitten with them 🙂
      Grateful thanks for your aid the other day. You might have noticed that I’ve gone back to my old Grav, which I still like (and it still looks like me, so that’s ok 🙂 ) Mick took a decent photo of me on ‘the bridge’ which I’m going to load and follow the instructions properly, when I find time and patience. Not good at these things, as you gathered 😦

  19. How marvellous Jo. I’m only looking on my phone at the moment so Ill be sure to have a look at full sized photos when I get home. And you’ve inspired me to make the trip myself. Sometime soon! And congratulations again! Xx

  20. I’m sitting in a dentist’s waiting room, waiting for the kids and catching up on some blogs on my new phone. And there, in brilliant colour, are your gorgeous, gorgeous photos! What a way to baptise the new purchase. Thank you! 🙂

  21. First of all, congratulation on your silver wedding anniversary to you both. That’s quite an achievement in this day and age 🙂

    I’m very envious of your visit to Giverny as Monet is, without doubt, my favourite painter. I’ve seen most of his paintings in Paris (including the HUGE water lily paintings), but sadly have never found the time to visit his home….. yet!

    It’s still on my list, Jo – and thanks for the guided tour in the meantime.

    1. You won’t regret going, Marianne! I’m a huge Monet fan too and I loved Musee d’Orsay but to see that garden for real is something special.
      It was a fitting venue for the Silver Wed 🙂 Thank you!

  22. What a lovely way to celebrate. Giverney is somewhere to go back to again and again, at different seasons. You were there at dahlia time (and hydrangeas), whereas we were there in Spring, with such different flowers, though I regret missing the irises. We went first thing in the morning, so not so many people. Must go again!

      1. The only trip that I could find was very expensive and it seemed to take almost 2 hours to get to Giverny. So we went to one of the museums outside Paris where they have some of his paintings. but the garden is still on my wish list.

    1. The way we did it was inexpensive but without the security of an organised trip. I agree, they were outrageously expensive but it’s quite a way out of Paris. It was easy enough- I hope you get there! 🙂

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