"" Writer's Wanderings: France - Monet's Garden

Monday, November 16, 2009

France - Monet's Garden

The little town where we docked was called Vernon but we were here to see the even smaller town of Giverney where Monet lived and painted his famous water lilies. While we waited for our scheduled bus trip, we wandered across the bridge from our river boat and checked out the castles that had been rebuilt near the river. The turrets reminded me of the story of Rapunzel. I would not have been surprised to see some golden locks tumbling down from one of the upper windows.

At one time, there were several water mills stretched across the river on a bridge. All that remains is one lonely mill minus its wheel sitting atop what remains of the bridge.

Our trip to Giverney took about 10 minutes by bus. It was a romantic little town with the main attraction of course being the mansion and gardens of Monet and his famous water lily pond. Late October is not the time of year to visit if you expect to see lots of blooming flowers but it was still possible to appreciate the water lily pond. As we walked around it, I could see how Monet was taken with the way the light changed on the surface of the water depending upon the direction you looked across it. I could imagine even more how he must have worked to capture the subtle changes in the light from early morning to dusk portrayed in his paintings in the Orangerie.

The mansion was intriguing especially considering he had three women living in the house with him. He was quite a character and created a stir in the town as he campaigned to be able to divert the small river in the town to create his pond. From what I understood, he made quite a bit of money from his series of haystack paintings that allowed him to pursue the creation of his extensive gardens.

Off to one side of the mansion was a fenced area with several different species of poultry birds including a white turkey with black markings.

After our stroll through the mansion and gardens, we found a wonderful little café where we enjoyed cappuccinos on the patio and soaked up what little sun was left in the afternoon. Perhaps it was the caffeine or maybe the warm sun but I could just make out an old man with a long white beard strolling down the sandy road. A moment later he disappeared into the misty dusk as if blended into the oils of a canvas.

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