Monet’s garden

Jo’s Monday walk : the village of Giverny

Isn't this perfection?

Isn’t this perfection?

I took so many lovely images on my visit to the Monet garden in Giverny.  It was quite hard to leave.  But I had little idea of the other treats that lay in store for me in the village.  I thought that this Monday you might like to join me in a gentle stroll in the Normandy sunshine?  You won’t even need hiking boots!  Sound promising?

Shuttered windows peep from behind a Russian Vine covered hedge

Shuttered windows peep from behind a Russian Vine covered hedge

Claude Monet lived in the village of Giverny from 1883 to 1926 and there is no doubt that it has prospered hugely as a result of this. Still it remains a very charming place and it’s not difficult to see what drew Monet and his artist friends here.  There were only 300 people living in the village when Monet first spotted it from the window of a passing train and decided he wanted to live there.  Today Rue Claude Monet is the principal street of the village.

A legend among the ivy

A legend among the ivy

Normally I save food for the end of my walks but you may remember that I’d already travelled from Paris and spent a couple of hours at the Monet garden.  The Musee des Impressionismes has a very pleasant restaurant and gardens and is just a few steps further along Rue Claude Monet. We had a combined ticket with Monet’s garden, saving a few euros, but you didn’t need to enter the museum to eat in their restaurant, or to see the garden.

Of course, we had to check out the paintings too, and then it was time to venture into the village. We wandered along, admiring the shuttered windows. They looked so French!


This artists gallery beckoned me inside

This artist’s gallery beckoned me inside

I stopped a little further along Rue de Claude Monet to peer inside a gallery.  “Come in, come in” beamed the proprietor (in French, of course), patting his head to indicate that I should keep mine low.  I would have loved to start snapping the sea of canvases in the tiny space, but it didn’t seem polite.  I had the impression that we could have become lifelong friends and that I’d take breakfast in the cafe next door.  Fortunately I was rescued by another customer descending the steps, and the ‘patting of head routine’.  A true show of French gallantry.

‘Le Coin des Artistes’ at no. 65 was first a grocery store, then a cafe-bar in Monet’s time, and is now a smart looking bed and breakfast. At no. 81, Hotel Baudy has been recently restored and was also a popular meeting place for artists . A few steps further, Eglise Sainte Radegonde dates from the Middle Ages and is the burial place of Monet and many of his family.

The village is long and slim and at the end you can turn down to Chemin du Roy to complete a circuit back to your beginnings.  I was much taken with the narrow interconnecting lanes, which reminded me a little of the Wynds in Yorkshire.  Following my nose led to Rue du Milieu (Middle St.) looking over garden walls as I go.  I do like to be nosy!

The prettiest of my 'Wynds'

The prettiest of my ‘Wynds’

Giverny lies on La Route Normandie Vexin, midway between Rouen and Paris, in the midst of chateau territory.  With the Seine on its doorstep, boat trips are also an option.  I took great delight in this village, which offered me far more than I had expected.  I hope you found it a lovely place to ramble, too.  Indulge me with a last few shots from the Monet garden?

What can you say?

What can you say?


walking logo

I enjoyed my time in France so much!  There may still be a post or two to come but I think that next week’s Monday walk will be back in the UK.  I try to keep them seasonal and the Yorkshire Moors are in full bloom at the moment.  I do hope that you’ll join me but I will have limited time to respond to you as I’ll be back in the Algarve by Monday evening.

There won’t be a Monday walk on 8th September, but I’ll remind you about that next week. Meanwhile, are you ready for a good read?

I think most of you will find Drake’s style much more relaxing than mine  :

Few steps, large atmosphere

While Paula shows us exquisite beauty in Istria  :

Macabre Fresco

I took the hint this week- no steps to  climb!  Here’s a lovely flat walk from Jude  :

A walk along the Dee

Does fun in the sun in Texas appeal?  It will if you join Amy!  :

Lake, river and trails in Austin

Or come and have a hug, and a little history, with Sue’s Mum  :

Canada’s Battle of Batoche-Louis Riel’s last stand

Finally a walk recommended to me by my dear friend Meg.  Have you been to Ethiopia?  :

Walkabout to the Blue Nile Falls

That’s it till next week.  Happy walking!

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.