Friday, August 17, 2007

Giverny and the Renault

Friday: We finally decided this morning to rent a car today and drive out to Monet's house in Giverny. It is about an hour out of the city to the north and west. It is a gorgeous day, so it seems like a great day for a drive. Since we have a car, and since the weather has been so change-y, we pack raincoats, umbrellas, pants and sweaters. The kids love our little silver Renault "Clio", and Caroline wants to bring it home with us...We get out of Paris following a Very Confusing Map with micro-printing, I wish I could post the video I took of Nick driving around the traffic circle at the Arc de Triomphe....he did indeed triumph and get off on the right street! Once on the free....er...Tollway, it is no problem getting to Giverny. We actually got off the tollway a few exits early to drive on the old highway, through the quaint little towns along the Seine and railroad. We park in the designated lot, and hike a little through town to Monet's house. Here is a house we saw that is totally covered in ivy. Impressive!!We get to the house, ate our lunch, and head straight to the garden. Here is Monet, looks like a nice bloke.
Here are some pictures from the garden, which was GORGEOUS in late August here, makes you wonder what it must be like in the Spring. Oops, there is a finger in this one, try to look at the flower only.


Here are the always adorable kidlets in front of THE water lily pond...
Here we are on the bridge which is completely engulfed in wisteria. I would love to see that in full bloom!

Here is his actual house, pink and cute. You are not allowed to take photos inside....



BUT here is the view of his garden from his bedroom window. I swear the weather was nice even though it looks overcast in this photo.
Here are the turkeys that we saw the painting of in the Musee D'Orsay. We read how one of the art critics who saw it said "I wonder what it will look like when the last brush stroke is finally applied?"

Guess he thought it looked unfinished.....After we were done here, we drove into Vernon, the nearest bigger town and looked an all the neat old buildings and the church. Then we head out on a different road, to take a different road back into Paris. We cruise along and as I am reading an informative pamphlet I picked up in Giverny, I see there is an old 12th century castle up ahead in this town:

Les Andelys. We stop here for our afternoon beverages, it is super cute here. Then we head up this hill to the old castle of Richard the Lionheart. It overlooks the Seine and this beautiful valley. What a great view! We think he was onto something in this location, unfortunately Henri IV took it down for him...

Overlooking the valley, there are white cliffs in the background of this picture that are really cool looking...Also if you look closely, there is a house on that island there, lucky them....
So we drive some more back roads toward the highway and it is getting to be dinner time. Here we are in our sweet wheels:
We pull off in a cute and promising town of Pontoise. The kids have a hankering for pizza, as long as it doesn't have an egg on the top like they have seen around here....We see this sign, and it looks like our spot!!
It TOTALLY is. Nick and Caroline end up with pasta, and I am not kidding, Caroline declared it the Best Pasta Ever. Her plate was humongous, and almost the amount I would make for my whole family, seriously, it was huge. We shared 2 salads which were Fantastic, with avocado, butterleaf lettuce, tomato, carrot and a deviled egg on top (Miles ate ours) with a terrific dressing. Miles and I split a pizza which was meant for one, but we still only ate half! There were yummy green olives and baguette on the table, and we had a lovely chianti with it all. mmmm. We were all a bit stuffed, and were so bummed that we had no room for dessert, because we kept seeing them coming out and they looked really good...flaming, and with little Italian flags sticking out of the panna cottas....cute. The waiters were really sweet and serious --almost like those guys in "Big Night"--and we got talking to one of the cooks on the way in, and he was asking us where we were from and he said"Ah yes, Etats-Unis, George Bush est magnifique!" And we were a little taken aback by this, and he then said something to the effect of he liked that he was a True Man with Big Cahones. Hmmmmmm.

We have been wanting to do the Paris at night tour since we got here, and this seemed like the best time to do it. Here is a Paris street at night:
We manage to time our arrival to the top of the hour, right when the Eiffel Tower turns into a giant disco ball. I wish I could post this video, too, but here are the still photos.
The kids going bananas....
It is really cool looking, and it almost looks better from far away, but it is still really pretty.

Late night, glad to be home, but get to sleep in tomorrow, so we will be fine.

1 comment:

Martin said...

Hi, Elise! Enjoyed your descriptions of Giverny. We found getting there (from CDG) pretty confusing too.

Mom says you need more pictures of Nick in your blog, so make sure you wrestle the camera away from him from time to time!

Love, Dad.