Now, how do we get out of here? We had left the CDG airport in Paris after picking up our hire car, a hybrid Toyota Auris but obviously gone in the wrong direction. We were stuck in a group of small quiet villages and couldn’t find our way out to the A15.
After driving around a few more we finally found a village with a petrol station/supermarket complex. In we went and purchased some essential supplies including a map of Normandy! Unlike last year when we hired a Ford Focus car from Avis/Budget in Germany this one didn’t have a built in Sat-Nav system. The map and Karen’s navigating along with more familiarity with the car and the roads for me saw us finally on our way in the right direction!
Sadly as we made our way towards Giverny the rain set in. Once we arrived we parked our car, put on our coats and took our umbrella. By the time we had paid and joined the many bus loads of tourists in the gardens the rain stopped fortunately. You pass through the shop on both entering and leaving. Not very subtle. We made our way past the house and through the nearby gardens. Lots of flowers in well arranged beds. There is a noticeable scent.
We make our way along the paths, following the signs to the water garden. You actually have to go underneath the road to reach it. The crowds are thick so there’s little chance of taking a photo with just the garden or only you in it but we succeed in the end with a bit of help from a South Australian couple.
From the water garden we returned to the other side and wandered around the gardens. The display of colour is wonderful.
The bees are enjoying it too.
Next we made our way to the house and studio.
Inside it is quite crowded but we manage to make our way through the rooms. Attendants ensure people only go in one direction to ease congestion. The studio has many paintings on the walls (replicas we are led to believe, but still in keeping) and around the house Monet’s collection of Japanese prints is on display. Through the upper room windows you have an excellent overview of sections of the garden.
Each room is a different colour and many are well preserved with original furnishings.
After completing our tour of the house we make our way through the well stocked souvenir shop, housed in one of the old studios. During our return to our car through the town it is obvious the pride every house, gallery or shop owner has when you see the beautifully kept gardens.
Now all we had to do was make our way to Rouen where we would be staying the night.