Trip Start Dec 26, 2011
47Trip End Apr 17, 2012
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April 6, 2012: Giverny et Les Andelys
I am writing this from our campsite at Les Andelys, not far from Giverny, where we spent a few hours visiting Claude Monet. As I am typing I am looking out the windshield of the van at the rippling Seine river, the low bank of which is not 5 feet forward of our front bumper. Across the river is a small tower and a couple of houses both of which appear to be renaissance era. Just out the window to my right is the old town, and a cliff of about 150 metres height, atop which is the beautiful ruins of Chateau Gaillard. This castle was built by none other than Richard the Lionheart in 1196 (excuse me while I watch a river barge cruise up river just in front of me) and was held, besieged and taken by a dozen other assorted Phillips and Louis and Charleses over the centuries
As I mentioned, we visited Claude Monet today… he wasn't home, and hadn’t been seen around here for 96 years or so, but his house was open to snoop around in, and his gardens. As it happens, he dabbles in paints a bit, but he must have bad eyesight, because the paintings are rather splotchy and don’t show the flowers very clearly at all, and those waterlillies look more like a bunch of blobs. The colours are pretty good, though they are maybe a bit exaggerated. Luckily the gardens were open for us to have a look around and see what those flowers really look like. It is a little early in the season, so the waterlillies weren’t blooming, but there were plenty of Daffs and Tulips and things to see. He must have had a lot or friends, because there were a couple of hundred folks of all nationalities also trying to find him… more Americans than we have seen in months.
When we were done we took a lovely little bike ride through the town, stopping at a couple of very interesting galleries with ceramic sculptures. The artists in each, both women, were very willing to chat about their work and processes, and were interested in hearing about Pat’s work. The return ride was along the old 19th C rail bed with some lovely views of the farmland, and especially a little hobby farm with some lovely special breeds of sheep, geese, an Alpaca, a couple of Emus and the ugliest potbellied pig in creation.
We have booked Camping Paris for the next couple of nights for another dose of Gai Paris.