Today we plan to visit the Monet House and Garden in Giverny, 50 miles west of Paris. To get there, you can take a taxi (most expensive option) or a train then transfer to a bus (most time-consuming option), but we plan to drive there in a rental car which I had reserved.
We pick up the Hertz car near Porte de St-Cloud Area and proceed to drive west to Giverny. The 90-minute drive is pleasant. We stay on A-13 one of the main roads that radiate out from Paris, going through the French country side, pass a toll booth, then take Exit 14 and drive the rest of the way on a narrow and widing road to Giverny.
French painter, Claude de Monet, and his family lived here in the 19th Century and built a big house with a flower garden in the backyard and a Japanese garden complete with a water lily pond on the other side of the road. The flower garden and the Japanese garden are connected by a pedestrian tunnel under the road.
Monet's "Water Lilly Pond"
In Monet's backyard, rows and rows of trees, flowers, and plants of all kinds are neatly grouped. Roses, iris, pansies, daisies, etc... are in full blooms while other varieties await their times.
Gravel paths divide the garden into sections and allow visitors to wander and be lost in this small piece of heaven. Since we arrive here early, the crowd is still thin and we are able to enjoy the garden in relative peace.
It's a beautiful day to be in French countryside and the Monet Garden
The famous foot bridge in Monet Japanese garden is draped by wisteria
Rows after rows of flowers vying for the warm sun
Claude Money used to live in the house in the background and this is his backyard
I would try to paint if I lived here
Standing on a piece of art history
All kinds of flowers. All kinds of colors
After some time in the garden, we walk through the pedestrian tunnel to the other side of the street to visit the Japanese garden and pond. This is where Monet painted the famous "Water Lily Pond".
A gravel path leads visitors around the large lily pond and provides wonderful spots to take pictures.
Too bad ... water lilies have not bloomed yet
Outside Versailles Palace ...
Lee in front of the Apollo Fountain
Spring flowers in Monet Garden
Another look at Monet Garden and his home
As we are leaving the Monet Garden, a large tour bus drops off a bunch of loud, lively, and excited tourists for their visits. Great timing on our part.
Around the corner from the Monet House, we find a quaint coffee shop and stop by for a cup of coffee before we head back to Paris.
Driving toward Paris on A13, we decide to take a quick side trip and visit Palace of Versailles. We come to the Versailles every time we come to Paris and have been inside the Palace before and this time we will just visit the Versailles Ground and Garden.
In our past visits, we came here by train and had to walk a long way from the train station to the Versailles but this time, we can park our car in the large parking lot just right outside the palace.
We also decide to rent a golf cart to traverse the Versailles Garden. Let the pictures show you what we see in the Garden but let's just say the French Government spares no expense to maintain this beautiful place.
... and inside
Christina at the Grand Canal
Ash trees in Versailles Garden
Neatly pruned trees and shrubs
It takes an army to maintain this place
Lawn, trees, and statues
Lee and Bo at the Monet Garden
Canoes for rent in Grand Canal
Short on time? Rent a golf cart because this place is so big
After the Versailles, we head back to Paris, return the rental car, have a relaxing lunch in a restaurant on the Porte de Saint Cloud traffic circle, then take the metro to the apartment.
After a short rest, Lee and I meet our friends at Lao Lane Xang, a Laotian Restaurant on Avenue d'Ivry and the foods are surprisingly wonderful.