A Family Affair: Day 4 – Monet’s Garden
Day 4 – Living Le Nymphea!
We are on our way to Monet’s famous gardens in Giverny. It is a dream of ours to visit this humble village home to see the gardens which have been tendered with sacrifice and love.
The gardener has just retired after 35 years of tireless work and enduring passion. There is talk that his wife threatened divorce many times over the years – it would be difficult with a husband who never took off a day in 35 years and is married to his garden.
But it is his obsessive tendencies and adoring perfection that went into keeping the gardens exactly the same as the day that Monet painted them. It is said he went around with a normal pair of scissors cutting off leaves to keep each vista the same. His attention to detail is admirable, commendable, something to celebrate!
Each of us is enthralled by Monet’s works in our own ways and have seen many of his works at exhibitions all over the world. And so now the three of us are finally coming to visit the source of his inspiration.
We passed through intensely green forest and small rural towns, lakes and grassy fields on our regional train.
It was another incredibly warm and sunny day in France. The sky was an intense blue with whispy white clouds in the distance.
On arrival in Vernon we made our way in the procession of visitors to the shuttle bus to Giverny. The bus was packed to the brim, and we were clearly outnumbered age wise with us being outliers at the lower end of the age bell curve – these are all nice and complex ways of saying we were some of the youngest by far.
A quick confession and warning – today of all days I went overboard with the photos – but how can one faithfully capture the beauty of this garden without the hands of Monet, and how can one express the feelings you experience as you walk these hallowed grounds – and so please enjoy a select few, still more than enough, of the hundreds of photos we took!
And so as we entered the gardens, having beaten a vast majority of the crowds we each separated to explore this wonderland, in tow were our cameras and sharp minds each trying desperately to capture and record for all time the memories.
We first passed in-front of his home and then the beds of endless flowers unable to stop ourselves from slowing down and taking photos.
When finally we found our way down into the underground tunnel that passes under the road we came up into a wonderland of inspiration.
The smells of fresh jasmine and honeysuckle permeated the air and only enhanced the sweetness and sentimental feelings.
It was a long while before I was finally faced with the ponds …
I had prepared myself for disappointment not expecting it to be the season with the waterlilies in bloom, but I was blissfully surprised.
It was even longer until we met up for a few, mandatory, but much appreciated family photos.
It wasn’t the greatest of days for weather, patches of sunlight, interspersed with light showers. However watching the ripples from the rain drops on the mirror like surface of the ponds was spectacular in itself.
The bridges were out of a dream, and gave picturesque views over the vision like landscape.
From every angle the ponds yielded another aspect, another perspective…
Childhood fantasies were realised by the school kids and adults alike, but the bright inquisitiveness and sheer excitement on the faces of the kids was what we all need to recapture!
The kids were onto something, when you see excited children pointing, you should usually at least take a quick look in that direction.
They had discovered one of the ponds most famous inhabitants, on one end a French Gourmet Classic on the other a favourite character of Disney Movies – La Grenouille.
Whats nostalgia without a little creativity and so here are two monetesque photos… although I would be worth a lot more if I was in a Monet canvas than my current state!
Being immersed in this canvas revealed his favourite spots to paint and so whilst taking small glimpses of the gardens I felt inveloped in his life, and saw his view through his eyes.
And his favourite subject matter…
– Le Nymphea –
We walked through winding pathways…
And so we crossed THE FAMOUS bridge, the gardens had grown significantly and the vines created a carpet above our heads.
The view was never really mine alone, the bridge constantly filled with admirers.
On our way out we visited his home which was filled with his personal and priceless objects and paintings.
No photos were allowed but I simply had to take some of his paintings and kitchen.
These were our final views of his home before we headed back to Paris.
The last short hours of their visit passed too quickly and soon they were off back to London…
But no trip to Paris is complete without a visit to L’as du Fallafel on Rue de Rosiers in the Marais; and so their last meal in France was a bite from this institution.