One of the great things about summer holidays in new areas is visiting local sites of beauty or historic interest and Normandy certainly has an abundance of it, so much I had to pick and choose as 5 year olds don’t take too kindly to being dragged away from the swimming pool!
When I say local, I mean within a reasonable distance and Giverny is about a one and half hour drive from Honfleur but it was very well worth it.
In Giverny you will find the home of Claude Monet with the gardens he created including the water garden with the world famous water lilies.
Because of the enormous amount of interest the entire village of Giverny is now dedicated to tourists and there is a fabulous free car park at the beginning of the village with an underground passage under the busy road.
We were in a queue for at least half an hour but I did see others ‘jump’ it with their tickets bought online so do keep this in mind and check out the site before you go.
The tour starts in the shop and there is every souvenir imaginable to tempt your Euros out of your pocket.
We started our tour with the gardens as after a gloomy, wet drive the sun came out and I didn’t know how long it was going to last.
In front of the house in a central point is a wide avenue with arches where plants are scrambling up, I could imagine the joy Monet had walking down and maybe picking a few flowers for his desk. Rows and rows of flowers in parallel lines each row themed a different colour.
and an underground passage takes you over to the water garden which is stunning. Following the walkways we were delighted by many different views of the pond, the water lilies were in flower and there was a peace in the air and a serenity that was overwhelming.
and the water lilies …
me and the girls family portrait
and this last one from the other end
Anyone remember his paintings with the boats on the lake? I saw the boats!
With the gardens completed it was time to visit the house and no photography was allowed inside which is a shame as his study was filled with his artwork. His bedroom was home to gifts of paintings from his close friends, Cezanne, Renior, Manet, Pissarro and Rodin.
His dining room was yellow, two shades of yellow – completely yellow which Bessie thought was the most beautiful room she had ever seen but she loves Belle and the Beast and yellow is her favourite colour.
Alice was taken with the kitchen and so was I, tiled with pretty blue tiles and copper pans shining hung around the room with the most massive oven and cooking berth imaginable. The only photo I was permitted to take was the view from Claude’s bedroom window, what a sight to wake up to eh?
This will go down as one of my Normandy highlights and if you get a chance do visit, we were charged £9.50 per adult and children under 7 go free. Just be warned, a small bottle of coke and a small bottle of apple juice bought from the bar heading back to the car park cost us €8 = £8