My tour to Giverny didn’t leave till 1.00 so I bought tickets online for the Musee D’Orsay and walked over in the morning. Buying tickets online has been brilliant. With a digital ticket it is so quick to enter and thus miss the queues.
The crowds were fewer and the experience so pleasant. So much art I have seen in books and the building is fantastic. I loved the clock windows and the ballroom was spectacular. Why don’t we do something like this with Flinders street station?. I imagine the ballroom is not so sumptuous but the space could be utilised for art shows or even studios perhaps.
Then onwards to the Place des Pyramides for tea in a salon opposite the Tour office. We loaded up and headed towards the Arc de Triomph through the Bois de Boulogne and onto the freeway. The guide reminded us that Paris had been a walled city but that all the walls/ gates were destroyed in the war but the names have been kept for the exits. It was a pleasant ride with the weather looking quite ominous but by the time we arrived at Vernon any rain had passed. I had not realised that Normandy was actually settled by Vikings(North Men) and set up a rival duchy to the French King. He legitamised (made treaty with them) and so Normandy was established. It explains the very different architecture for the church spires – more Scandinavian. Vernon was mentioned in the book I read last year, Black Waterlillies. In the book it didn’t seem to be as charming as Giverny but in fact it has a substantial area of medieval buildings and quaint streets. Giverny on the other hand is more pastoral but really just a street and quite touristy but in an unobtrusive way. Monet’s gardens and home were not as large as I expected but nonetheless very charming. The tulips were in full bloom and really were spectacular. The waterlilies don’t appear until later and were a more wintery looking still. The fragrance of the garden was beautiful and after bustling Paris a balm for the soul. I so envied his studio, or rather three studios. One was built especially for painting his massive canvasses of the water lily garden that hang in the Orangerie. And the kitchen stove was a massive Aga style which was needed for feeding his huge family.
It was difficult to get pictures without people! Especially over the famous bridge. Returning to Paris was painful because the traffic was at a standstill many times and I began to feel bus sick. Fortunately I was able to control the nausea and realised I hadn’t had lunch! It was 7.30 pm when we arrived back and I was weary and starving and desperate for vegetables. I ate a bowl of Ramen and had a delicious mango for dessert. Crisis averted. I also felt quite chuffed that I could return to my hotel now without the aid of a map!