Tuesday, 27 October 2009

Impressions Francaises

I know that I have not posted for a few days and I suppose that you think that I am off on my travels again. Sorry you are wrong! I have been making the most of the mild weather, that we have been having, to get on with the Autumn jobs in the garden. By the time that I came in, late yesterday afternoon, our outside lights were on. We are making progress with our garden but we have along way to go before we reach the holy grail of a garden that we visited whilst in France earlier this month. It was a garden that I had never expected to see. It was cloudy most of the drive from Trouville to Giverny but as we approached Giverny the clouds disappeared and the sun shone out of a clear blue sky.

Monet's garden at Giverny is stunning, but at two weeks before it was due to close for the end of the season, it was past its' best. The garden has been restored to its' original planting scheme, using the notebooks of Monet's gardeners and the gardens do look like a Monet painting.

All the plants were big and tall. Far bigger than we manage to grow in the UK. In Monet's day the house garden was separated from the Water Lily Pond by a railway line and a path. Today an underground passage links the garden to the Water Lily Pond with its Japanese Bridge. Autumn is not the season for wisteria and water lilies but the pond and the bridge are just like the painting - perfect.


Giverny is a hamlet. There is more to it than I expected and I suppose that we should not be surprised that the whole area has been commercialised. We only had time to look at the garden. So the church, the museum, the art gallery, the restaurant and the hotel were all wasted on us with our whistle stop tour.

The previous day after walking around Trouville then Deauville in the morning we drove to the picturesque old harbour town of Honfleur in the afternoon. Here we bought a bottle of Calvados - a liqueur made from locally grown apples and wrote postcards while having a coffee at one of the harbour side cafes.


The following morning, on our way to the ferry, we managed to squeeze in a visit to the Bayeux tapestry. Bayeaux is a very old town with a lot of history to it, but we only had time to see the tapestry. Cameras are not allowed in the tapestry visitor centre. The tapestry which is 70metres long and 50 cm wide is stored behind glass in a darkened room with the tapestry illuminated for viewing.


It is not actually a tapestry - it is brown, green, khaki and black wool stitched on linen and is composed of 50 scenes depicting the story of the Norman invasion of England in 1066. It is thought to have been stitched by English nuns from 1070 to 1080. Entry to see the tapestry included a personal audio commentary in a variety of languages from a small hand held machine similar to a mobile phone. It was a very impressive experience.

Then in the afternoon we made our way to the ferry terminal, at Caen, making sure that we had time to stop off at the wine warehouse, so that we could stock up on our favourite French wines.

18 comments:

Maggie May said...

Oh you are soooo lucky to have gone to see Monet's garden. He is one of my favourite Impressionists painters.
Are you going to model your garden on the same theme? Don't forget the little turquoise bridge!

Nuts in May

cheshire wife said...

MM - No, we are not going to try to recreate Monet's garden here in Cheshire. The climate is not warm enough or sunny enough.

Moannie said...

You can point your camera just about anywhere in France and get a beautiful picture. Lovely post, makes me yearn to go back.

Valerie said...

Monet's garden was past it's best when I saw it but I'm glad I went. The silly thing is, not one picture was taken whilst there.

French Fancy said...

Isn't Honfleur pretty? If you can lose the tourists (yes I know that I was one too) it would be one of my favourite places in France.

I've not been to Giverny but is everything around named after and devoted to Monet? Pont Aven in Brittany where Gaugin spent a little time is chock full of Gaugin type things.

cheshire wife said...

Valerie - I would have included more photos but most of what I took is disappointing.

FF - Yes, Honfleur is pretty. All of Giverny is devoted to Monet but there is only one street named after him.

Akelamalu said...

I so want to see Monet's garden, it's on my to visit list! :)

Jenny said...

I'd love to visit Monet's garden and I'm glad you came back all motivated to press on with your own. You don't have to want the same but you just feel inspired, I think that's a very positive out come. Wish I'd been in the garden today as the weather was lovely, not complaining though as I was out lunching.

Sniffles and Smiles said...

What fantastic photos!!!! And evidently Monet's gardens are as beautiful in person as they are in his paintings!!! And the Bayeux Tapestry!!!! I loved it!!! What a fabulous mini-vacation you had!!!! Glad you are home because I love hearing all about your adventures!! ~Janine XO

Cheffie-Mom said...

Have I told you that my daughter and I went to France last year? It was an unbelievable experience. Beautiful photos!!

Tracey said...

looks gorgeous.. think i need a trip over there x
hi by the way, i've just discovered you xx

Sandi McBride said...

I love seeing pics of others travels...thanks for sharing, they're very glam!
Sandi

Susie Vereker said...

CW, how amazingly uncrowded Monet's garden looks. Normally it's packed - it so happens your journey is partly described in my novel Paris Imperfect where the heroine is a tour guide! Lovely photos.

cheshire wife said...

Tracey - thank you for visiting. I hope that you will be back soon.

Susie - I waited for people to move before I took the photos but you are right, Monet's garden was not too crowded.

I must read your book!

CG said...

I'd love to see Monet's garden! Glad you mananaged to stock up on the wine, too!

deb1712 said...

I think we'll go to see that garden - it looks beautiful

Midlife Jobhunter said...

Enjoyed this post. I went to France a little over ten years ago and long to return. Maybe when these boys of mine get through college.

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