Saturday, January 14, 2012

More Paris

We debated whether or not to go to Giverny to see Monet's home and gardens because it would take an entire day but did decide to go and it proved to be one of our best decisions. We took the morning train to Giverny which is in Normandy. The ride itself was an adventure: getting the ticket, finding the station, finding a seat, watching all the interesting people on the train. The trip took about two hours then we had to take a bus for a quick ride to Monet's house.

The house is a cosy, quaint place - no photos allowed inside. The grounds were beautiful and in full spring bloom. Monet himself planned the garden composing it around colors, growing seasons, texture, design. It is supposed to be spectacular in late summer with gorgeous roses but we couldn't have been happier with our spring visit.

Here is Charlie at the entry to the house and gardens

The house where Monet and his family lived. He had the house built.
The garden in front of the house. This is just one of several gravel paths running the length of the garden. They are covered in climbing roses in the summer.
Looking down from the house's porch: pink tulips and little blue flowers.
The trees were in bloom, too.
Another bed by the porch.
A more expansive view.
Lilies and azaleas.
The azaleas and rhododendrons were spectacular.

The pond is on the other side of the road so we had to follow an underpass under the road and walk just a bit. Even that walk was beautifully designed. Here is some bamboo along the stream.
And here is Monet's famous Japanese bridge with wisteria. Notice the reflection on the water. Monet was fascinated by the colors on the water as you can tell by his works.
Again the reflection.

The dogwoods were in bloom. White...
And pink....

Monet also had animals at Giverny. There were the most interesting looking chickens. Here are some of the residents. The one in front had a beautiful collar of feathers.

We were so happy we did make it to Giverny and thoroughly enjoyed our day there. I want to go back some August and see the roses!

After Giverny we continued our tour of Paris. Since we had both been to the Louvre, we didn't go there this time. But we did visit L'Orangerie which is the museum designed by Monet to display his works, specifically the water lilies. After having seen the pond in person the paintings were even more moving. It is such an experience. I could have sat there all day taking in the paintings but we did have to move on.

I have to include a photo of the Eiffel Tower. It is Paris after all.

Near the Eiffel Tower is L'Hotel des Invalides built in 1670 by Louis XIV as a hospital for soldiers. It now houses the French Army Museum and the tombs of many. many war heroes and the tomb of Emperor Napoleon. It was unexpectedly impressive.

The tomb of Marshal Foch, a World War I hero, was very stirring.

Just to give some idea of the size of the place, this is the altar of the Church of Soldiers.

And here is Napoleon's tomb. The photo doesn't so it justice. It is so much more impressive in real life.

And here is Charlie sitting at the exact place where in 1967 he dropped some important "tourist stuff" and had to climb over the barrier to the floor of the tomb to retrieve it. It was more exciting at that time, though, because there were honor guards standing watch just next to where it fell.

The man himself. It is quite an impressive statue.

One of our favorite place was near our hotel in Marais, the Place de Vosges. Originally built by Henri IV in 1612 as his home, it now houses residences, shops, art galleries, and some charming restaurants. It surrounds a square where, again, the residents of the neighborhood bring their kids  and friends to play and relax.

The Place de Vosages is know for the arches shown below. The construction is quite interesting. 

We found two fantastic fish restaurants in our neighborhood and enjoyed some unique, fresh fish. I even ate a few oysters!

There is always a treasure to find along the streets of Paris whether it's a restaurant, shop, gallery or just some beautiful flowers.

We loved our visit to Paris and its environs. We can't wait to go back!

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