Fifty Shades of Mauve - Monet's Garden

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May 20th 2015
Published: May 25th 2015
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We were up early this morning for another big driving day and because we wanted to reach Giverny in time to see Monet's garden. We were down in the dining room by 7.00am, having breakfast with all the business people, checked out and on the road by just after 8.00am. We set the Sat-Nav for Giverny and off we headed up the A6 towards Paris.

With our road map of Southern France about to run out at just north of Macon we stopped at the Aire (services) stop at Macon for a toilet break and stretch. Bernie was prepared to just trust the Sat-Nav, but I wanted to buy a map just to be able to see where we were actually travelling. We were able to purchase a map of all of France, but the scale meant that it was not quite as detailed as the map we had been referring to. And ... it was only once we got underway again that I found that Giverny wasn't even on the map!

Not to worry, we have the Sat-Nav, right? It was all good until we came to the end of the A6 on the outskirts of Paris. Without sufficient detail on our actual map we had to put all of our trust in the route that the Sat-Nav had calculated for us. We ended up going mostly underneath Paris from Palaiseau via Versailles and Nanterre before ending up on the A13 heading for Rouen. We had to keep paying tolls up-front to travel through these tunnels that seemed to be taking us around and around in circles under Paris.

Once in the tunnels even Bernie lost all sense of direction! We missed one turn and had to do a bit of a left, right, right, right to get back to where we were meant to be. Just after we paid one of the tolls we were confronted with two tunnel openings - one towards Nanterre and the other towards Creteil. OMG, which one, which one?? I found Nanterre on the map to the north-west of Paris and Creteil to the south-east so said we should take the Nanterre tunnel. For kilometres after that Bernie was convinced that we should have taken the other tunnel. Imagine my relief when we finally ended up above ground and heading for Rouen.

We were even more relieved once we started to see signs for Monet's Garden. Eventually the Sat-Nav guided us off the A13 and onto some very small rural roads to the tiny village of Giverny near Vernon. Between Lyon and Giverny the weather had been showery and as we neared Giverny we were afraid that the black clouds and rain might be going to spoil our visit to the gardens. With the weather closing in we thought perhaps we should park and visit the gardens while the weather held and then find our B&B and check in.

Good plan, but the village is tiny and the number of people visiting was huge! Consequently it proved impossible to find a park. Oh well, let's go and find the B&B, park the car there and walk back to the garden. We eventually negotiated our way past all the pedestrians and pulled in at the B&B where we were welcomed by our hosts and shown to our apartment. Wow, a lovely sitting room and bathroom downstairs and a huge bedroom with a second toilet and basin upstairs. No time to enjoy it though - we had to get back down into the village to see the gardens. With 20/20 hindsight we so should have skipped Lyon and perhaps planned to stay two nights in Giverny and visit Rouen instead of Lyon. So many beautiful historic towns to visit so little time!

The main thing was that we had arrived in Giverny with enough time to see Monet's Garden and the weather was holding. In fact, it was sunnier than it had been most of the day so we had a lovely couple of hours exploring Claude Monet's house and garden where we were treated to a vast array of mauve and purple flowering plants. Irises in several shades of mauve, purple roses and other purple flowering plants that I don't know the name of. From the house garden we took the tunnel under the road to the water garden that features in Monet's water lily paintings. A bit too early for the water lilies, but plenty of other colour.

After we finished in the gardens we strolled back through the village reading the information boards about Monet and the artists commune that existed in Giverny. As we passed the Restaurant Baudy we popped in to make a booking for dinner. Most other cafes and restaurants seemed like they were only offering morning tea, lunch and afternoon tea so we thought that we had better book the only restaurant in the village that looked like it would be offering an evening meal.

Steps for the day 11,073 (7.54 km)

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26th May 2015

almost close encounter
I was surprised to see that our friends Andrea and Greg visited Monet's garden two days after you! How funny if you had crossed paths as fellow aussies. Missed by that much!

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