Today as I look out the window of our lakeside cottage in Maine at the mist and drizzle, I’m thinking of all the people who are here visiting for the first time. I do hope the weather clears up for them and that they get to see and do all the outdoor adventures they have planned.
So many of our trips are planned so far in advanced that we must go on planned excursions no matter the weather. Such was the case on one of our trips to France. We were traveling with friends and I had planned our entire trip driving from Nice to Paris. A “must see” on the trip was Claude Monet’s home and gardens in Giverny which was forty-eight miles from our destination in Paris.
The good news was that is was raining. Around 500,000 people visit his home and gardens during the six months it is open each year. Because of the rain, parking was available right next to the ticket booth and the line to enter was short and we were in the first group to be admitted to his home.
The bad news was that it was raining. I had not dreamed of seeing the famous gardens in the rain. For years, I dreamed of this day…with the early morning sun shining brightly. At first it was a soft drizzle and we were able to take the two photos that are on this page. It was April and the gardens were in bloom with pink tulips, blue forget-me-nots, yellow iris, flowering cherry and crab apple trees. The garden was so beautiful…next to the pink stucco house with its green shutters and trim. Monet had a passion for plants and once said that all of his money went into his garden.
Even with coats and umbrellas we were getting too wet to go to see the Japanese inspired water garden across the road. We left the gardens to the hardier souls and went inside his home. Needless to say, we were not disappointed. Unfortunately, we were not allowed to take photographs in his home. I can tell you that his home has been restored to the way it was during his forty or so years that he lived there. There is no museum feel to this home, instead you feel like he will great you at the door and welcome you inside. Monet loved color and choose vivid hues of blue and yellow for his home. Those bright colors warmed up the house on this chilly, wet day. The blue sitting room, the yellow dining room and the blue and white tiled kitchen with copper pots are striking. His studio has reproductions of many of his works and the furniture and objects through out the home belonged to him.
While in Paris we got to see his most famous panels of Water Lilies (Nympheas) at the Musee de l’Orangerie in the Tuileries. Claude Monet said “it’s maybe because of flowers I’ve become a painter”. It was easy to understand this after visiting his home and gardens. I would say that seeing Monet’s garden was memorable, even on a rainy day. I hope that all travellers enjoy their plans…even on a rainy day.