Day 4 – 2 June 2016- Fondation Claude Monet (Giverny)
Bucket list time on my 52nd Birthday.
We left Paris around 1pm after picking up the 2 cars. It was definitely fun getting out of the city navigating our way on the opposite side of the road in heavy traffic, rounding roundabouts and slowly making our way onto the freeways at 130kph!
After a good hour or so of driving, Jane, Tracy and I got to Giverny and worked our way through small laneways that are really only suitable for a bicycle, but were actually 2 way roads. We parked and headed over to the Claude Monet house. Jane and Tracy waited for Trevor, Julia and Steven who had made a wrong turn early on and were about 15 minutes back thanks to a wayward GPS system. I went in to the garden on my own.
I’ve been fond of Monet’s paintings for many years, have seen Monet Painting exhibitions and really enjoy the stories surrounding some of his life, as checkered as it may have been.
Claude Monet born in 1840 in Paris, was the father of impressionist paintings and shunned at times by the art world. His paintings were more about light / shadows and form rather than a “real” interpretation of a scene.
Monet painted many portraits and landscapes / seascapes but for me, his most wonderful paintings are his nympheas or ‘water lilly’ series (a series of about 250 paintings). These were painted in his home and garden in Giverny, about 1 hour drive north west of Paris and on our way to Greville Hague near Cherbourg. Late in life Monet suffered with cataracts and started to see colours differently to the norm. This was his “blue” period and was related more the colours he tended to paint rather than the depression he suffered. It is these paintings that made an impression (no pun intended) because it really demonstrates to me the perception of a person view is as real to that person as a fact, yet the fact (based on the norms) can be very different.
I spent probably 45 minutes walking through the various gardens including the famous pond or lake at the bottom. In my photo’s below you will see that I have ‘processed’ some in a similar style. I wanted to recreate the feel of some of his images. The image to the right is one of mine.
But it wasn’t just the pond that caught my eye. Both the wonderful gardens and his home from 1883 to 1926 (House of the Cider-Press) were absolutely stunning. It is well worth the visit should you be near Paris at some time.
After I completed my self guided tour, I met up with Jane and everyone else at a local crêpery where I enjoyed a chocolate and banana crepe. Yum. My first (and only) crêpe of the French leg of our trip. To wrap the day up, we continued on our trip for a quite long drive of 3+ hours to Greville-Hague near Cherbourg.
We arrived at this stunning location and were met by a friend of the owner of this Airbnb dwelling who showed us around the place. We were also greeted with a beautiful gesture from Elizabeth (the owner) being a bottle of sparkling wine and a cake.
We headed to dinner at Le Landemer (as recommended by Elizabeth) where we had a 3 course dinner overlooking the north western coast with the sun setting over the English Channel.
Its was a long day. We returned to our new home for 3 nights with full bellies and quite weary. Bed was not long waiting and we needed our rest before conquering another long day the following day where we intended to head down to Mont St Michel Abbey. A 2 1/2 hour drive each way!