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Published: July 22nd 2012
The most beautiful place I saw this year so far was definitely Giverny, to wit, Claude Monet’s house and gardens. The idea of visiting the house came unexpectedly – at first I planned a trip to Chantilly for me and Luda, but then I learned that they were closed on Tuesday – and it was our last day in the French capital. So, Chantilly was left aside for the time being. I browsed here and there and finally decided on Giverny.
To get to Chantilly, one takes the train from Gare St. Lazare (we Russians are most often excited about European trains because they are quite different from our own ones) to Vernon and then the bus to Giverny. Bus departure time is synchronized with the arrival of trains and the road takes about 15 minutes, if I remember it right.
We got up at 8:30 in the morning and had breakfast, after which I translated some more pages of the Baptism book (Baptists suffered much persecution in Soviet Russia, specifically in Stalin time), and the train was due at 12.30.
The train was certainly excellent, moving at a high speed. As
soon as we arrived to Giverny we faced the peaceful quiet of the rural area, and indeed we couldn’t but fully approve of Monet’s choice of his living place: though I’m currently staying in St. Petersburg, I’d perhaps move with pleasure to a small countryside town (or even to my hometown, but Luda would be bored there). The trouble is that one so rarely can leave the urban jungles (vanitas vanitatum et omnia vanitas!) – it takes much time to get outside the city, though St. Petersburg suburbs are … well, I’m going to boast of living in St. Petersburg, because today I’ve learned that it is included in the Unesco World Heritage list, and not simply the city centre, but a whole bunch of places nearby.
So, Monet’s house and gardens. It is a perfect place, for the florist in particular. Do you love flowers and lilies as Monet did? If I were the director of the place I’d not allow so many children there, or at least arrange different visiting times for children and grownups perhaps, and generally I’d restrict admission there, because the garden needs no crowds trampling. Monet’s rooms are said to be
in the same condition as they were during his life. Indeed, the house is most inspiring. The colours overlap so that I wonder whether the place is not a drawing itself, it looks so unreal, that’s how paradise must look like. The pond with colourful lilies, flowers, the piping of frogs, birds, insects, tourists jabbering…
The trip was completed by devouring spaghetti bolognese at a café near Gare de Vernon. We came back to hostel to take our things and bus to Berlin.
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