This wasn’t the first time I’d been to Giverny–thought it took me more than 3 years of living only an hour away to get there. That’s right, Giverny is only about an hour away from Paris–though admittedly by public transport, it’s a bit of a pain in the caboose, it does make a more-than-easy day trip from Paris.
We, however, being blessed with a rental car, went for the long, meandering drive. Fearing the dreaded mass closing of restaurants at 14h00, we pulled over at an Auberge on the side of the road before reaching Vernon. It advertised a lunch menu at 11 euros on a big sign nailed to the side of the building. My mother cited that it will probably be pretty bad, being a little dive on the side of the road. Boy, was she ever proved wrong. This isn’t a restaurant post, so I haven’t regaled you with pictures of our lunch, but let’s just say my mother ordered the best fondant au chocolat I have tasted to this day.
We arrived mid-afternoon to find an unsurprisingly large influx of people. Last time we were there 2 years ago, we managed to run into a couple from the 600 person island I grew up on. This time we merely crossed my friend’s dance teacher–more plausible considering she actually lives in Paris…
It was nice to visit the gardens in a slightly different season. Our last visit, it was mid-june, and the height of reds and oranges. This time we caught the irises and most of the blues and purples. My favorite!
Visiting Giverny, while inspiringly beautiful, also incites a bit of depression about my own garden. We’ve done some work on it, thanks to the three week visit of my family’s resident expert gardener, but I’ve come to the conclusion that like everything in the Paris region, gardening is damn expensive.
We made a trip out to the gardening store a couple of weeks ago–came home with 2 big terracotta pots, a dozen small plants, some dirt, and some solar lights and were unpleasantly surprised with a bill of over 100 euros. I have the tiniest of garden spaces to redo, and with this trip, managed to improve a small corner. Since I don’t own the apartment, it’s hard to justify spending over a thousand euros redoing about 2 square feet of green space. Sad.
So instead, I guess I’ll just drive out to Giverny from time to time, and understand entirely the inspiration Monet felt on a daily basis. It’s fairly difficult not to feel full of life when surrounded by such vibrant colors, and such amazing calm. (well, amazing calm when you manage to stay past when the last tourist bus leaves. which I highly suggest.)