While in France, we took a jaunt to the beautiful Giverny for a day. Giverny is a tiny little hamlet about an hour north of Paris, population 502. It is best known for being the home of the acclaimed painter, Claude Monet.
As an eight-year-old I had a freakish love affair with Monet’s work. I read Linnea in Monet’s Garden about ten times… like, a week. Piles of birthday gifts were dedicated to Monet posters, Monet books, Monet postcards, you know, Monet. While other kids were getting rollerblades, I was getting Monet’s Bridge magnets – and was happy about it. Next time I complain about how no one liked me as a kid, remind me about my Monet collection. It will promptly shut me up.
So given the chance to finally visit his home and see his extolled gardens, obviously the eight-year-old in me spoke up and Evan and I took the train (way to go, Europe!) upwards. There’s this lovely option of being able to rent bikes from the train station and bike the four miles to Monet’s home, but it was very chilly and rainy and we forewent the bike ride for the bus, which takes the same route.
Evan and I were oh, about 40 years junior the youngest of tourists on the bus, but we fit in well enough and were delighted to schmooze with our fellow travelers. A lovely group of cluckety women with short silver haircuts and fanny-packs cooed over us when they figured out we were from their home-country. They fawned over our youth and confessed apologetically with lovable Southern accents, “Well honey, we’re from Texas. But we don’t have Texas politics!” (We hadn’t asked.)
Monet’s home and gardens were, I admit, oppressively touristy. The bridge was clearly rebuilt (and.. plastic?) and his home has been redecorated and painted, if I may say so, hideously. But the acres of gardens were absolutely glorious. It smelled unearthly (and, you know, earthly) and was really satisfactorily organized by color feeding the OCD in me. It was quite enchanting indeed.
Here’s Evan enjoying a light Frenchy snack in the middle of our stroll.
Oh, and for lunch – pure joy. We had crêpes, one with goat cheese and honey, and the other with apple and camembert, a salad with tomatoes and a mustardy dressing, and kirs, one black currant and one peach. All in the cozy backyard of Monet’s classic landscapes.