Monday, June 21, 2010

Giverny, Monet's Home

Today we traveled approximately 150 miles by train from Paris to Vernon followed by a short shuttle to Giverny to visit the home and gardens of Claude Monet.

The metro part was easy, but finding the correct connecting train was not. We traveled early in the morning, on a Monday and in the middle of rush hour. Although we arrived with plenty of time to catch the connecting train, the signs that were to lead us to the Gare Saint Lazare train station were no where to be found. The information clerk behind a glass window ignored us then rolled down his window that's rude (but, hey - it's France). After re-re-reading the train map, we thought we were heading the correct way but suddenly we realized we're walking with the crowd...toward the city. Ooops - wrong way.

Realizing that we'd missed the connection anyway, we found some friendly security guards who showed Michael how to get us on the right track (pun intended).

We purchased our tickets - 18.90 Euros each way, per person for the next train in two hours. Before we knew it we were starting to board. Although there must be over six trains boarding and twenty train tracks, there's no one around to direct you or take your ticket. However, I noticed some passengers stamping their tickets at a machine, while others were not. Just in case, we stamp our ticket to Vernon/Giverny.

Gare Saint Lazare, 1877
by Claude Monet

We arrive at the Vernon and take the shuttle to the village of Giverny and was pleasantly surprised at how charming, adorable and beautiful it is. After settling in Giverny, Monet planted flower gardens, maintained open poppy meadows created a spectacular water lilly pond, from which he drew more beautiful paintings.

As we walked around the village we entered this open field full of poppies - same location Monet enjoyed to paint. This is a popular area for student photographers and painters alike.

Oat and Poppy Field, 1890
Claude Monet

The Water Lilly Pond is spectacular and beautiful to photograph.

Water Lillies, 1897
Claude Monet

Monet had the pond dug out. The design was inspired by his collection of Japanese prints.

The Water-Lily Pond, 1899
Claude Monet

More beautiful scenery...

Bamboo along the stream leading to the pond.

Along the main street of the village.

Flowers along the road...

Entering the water lily pond.

Weeping Willow Tree and floating lillies.

My favorite road-side picture.

Entrance of Giverny

At the Giverny train station...
In case you didn't know, my last name "Mort" means death in French.
S0, the sign below reads "Danger of Death"

And here we have Dr. Michael Mort... "Dr. Death!"
Now I know why the customs agents laughed when they read our passports...

~~~ * ~~~

Leaving Giverny...

Remember when we stamped the train ticket at the originating train station? Well, who knew you had to stamp the return ticket as well. We didn't see the machine or anyone else stamping their tickets so we never even gave it another thought. However, during our ride back to Munich, the train conductor asked to see our tickets (he was checking randomly). He pointed out that because we did not "validate", i.e. stamp, our return ticket we had to pay a penalty fee of 25.00 Euros per person. We paid 36.00 Euros for the return trip + 50.00 in penalties for not stamping it?? Yikes...

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