DAY TRIP TO MONET’S GARDEN
While we were in Paris, I made it my mission to include a trip to Giverny to see Monet’s garden. I had spent the past year reading all sorts of Parisian books, one of which focused on food, but had a chapter on visiting the gardens of Monet. It was in this that I read about Fat Tire Paris Bike Tours, named as the most enjoyable option for a day trip to Giverny.
TRAIN FROM PARIS TO VERNON
Our morning began with a short Metro trip to the train station where we met with the guides, were divided into groups and jumped on an empty cart in the train to Vernon. I noticed quickly that the majority of the group were older than Mario and I, as such, I will begin by stating that the Fat Tire Tours are a good idea for almost any age/ physical ability. On the train ride, our guide gave us a bit of a rundown on Monet’s life and greatest works, with the visual aid of a calendar.
For me it was a good refresher on the art history lessons I had had as a teen, back when I spent my lunch breaks painting with oils and dreaming about the waterlilies. (Seriously, how cool was I at 16?!)
VERNON FOR LUNCH
Vernon, our first stop, is a small town situated along the Seine, where we grabbed supplies for our picnic lunch. Mario and I opted for a baguette, locally made goats cheese, camembert, rabbit terrine, thinly sliced ham and of course, an apple tart. The area is known for their apples, so I had to try it! To wash that down we opted to try the local apple cider, which was actually really good- I am not that keen a cider drinker, but this was not at all sweet and made for easy drinking.
FAT TIRE PARIS BIKE TOURS
Picking up our bikes- each of which were named- mine was ‘Derek Zoolander’ and Mario’s actually said “It’s-a-me Mario!” (I mean, really?!) we rode out to the Seine and set up on the bank to eat. The view- which I shared on Instagram, was perfect. The old bridge structure is seriously picture perfect, with ducks swimming around in the sunlight. The bridge itself had been blown up during the war, Vernon being built as a military town and first port of call heading into Paris. The house we looked out to was all that remained after the war.
Jumping back onto our bikes, we had a short, pleasant ride on a bike path that lead all the way to Giverny. Monet’s house and gardens are divided by a road- with the iconic Japanese garden on one side, reached by an underpass. We headed this way first to take it all in. The Japanese bridges, water lilies and surrounding meandering paths were as beautiful as the paintings in which Monet captured them.
With a front porch, green shutters and many sitting spots, Monet’s house has been restored to feel as though time has stood still. I almost felt as though Monet could walk out of the doors at any time, to survey the light of the day and look out over his gardens. The kitchen and yellow dining room were my favourite rooms of the house.
I am so glad that we took the time to head out to see Giverny. Although you may be able to do the trip in half a day taking the train and getting there yourself, it was a lovely way to spend the day and I was happy to have our guide to give us a run down of the significant spots along the way.
WIN WITH FAT TIRE PARIS
Fat Tire Paris Bike Tours are currently running a competition to win a trip to Paris, so make sure you head here to find out how to enter. It ends on the 30th of September, so make sure you get to it this week. I know I would love to go back!