|Last Day in Paris
||[Jun. 13th, 2006|04:41 pm]
Travels of a Dynamic Duo
Day 4 (last full day in Paris)
Our morning excursion led us to Giverny in Normandy to visit Monet’s gardens and his home which is now a museum complete with his very impressive Japanese print collection. The drive out of Paris was beautiful (although most of slept through at least part of the drive). You could definitely tell when we got into Normandy – Kate pointed out their very rich heritage shown best by what we consider a “traditional country” French cottage. Lovely.
We arrive in Giverny (the village Money lived in) to a light drizzle but not much wind. We went straight to the gardens because we only had a couple of hours to see the whole place. We walked underground through a series of small tunnels (to avoid the streets) before we entered the garden through a tiny, ivy covered gate. The walkways weren’t very large but only a few paces into the gardens you saw why it was an inspiration to Monet and his circle of friends – awesomely beautiful.
We all stroll around the bridges and paths taking pictures of the variety of foliage, colors, water lilies (yes, those water lilies), ponds, streams, and long flowing willows. Mom would have died – but more importantly she could also produce a more accurate description of what flowers and trees were there. We scrambled to get our picture on the main bridge littered with purple vines. Most of my pictures were dark because it was so cloudy, but they’re still very pretty. See:
Purple vines on the bridge.
Michael walking along a path in the garden.
Main view of the gardens.
One of the ivy covered bridges. *le sigh*
We spent about an hour in the gardens, both around the pond and further toward the house – where the gardens were in rows with neatly ordered plants in complementary colors.
Tulips near Monet’s house.
Vivid and bright despite the drab landscape. Michael and I get separated from the girls so we tour the house pretty quickly. Wandering through each room of the two story house is strange, but I think I always feel strange in homes turned museums, like I’m invading old space. Like I said before, the print collection was lovely and we found people oddly congregating in the blue and white tiled kitchen. Apparently famous for…something. The gift shop doesn’t hold much interest so we zoom through, get a snack and head back to the bus and then back to Paris.
Jenny wants to go shopping back in Paris since she hasn’t bought anything but the rest of us don’t’ have much money left (Michael does but he doesn’t want to shop) so she goes off to tour the opera house. Michael, Annica and I map our metro route to Pere Lachaise Cemetery. It’s still raining quite a bit but it seems fitting for our cemetery visit.
We arrive pretty quickly and after a brief entrance I decide to buy a flower for Oscar (Wilde). I get two white roses and Michael buys a sunflower (he apparently used to wear them in his lapel). We head back into the cemetery along the winding (uphill) cobblestones. First stop, Jim Morrison’s grave to take pictures for Jenny and The Jess. Next we’re off to see Chopin, who, unlike Jim Morrison, isn’t behind a metal barrier. I give Annica one of my roses to add to the bouquets on Chopin’s grave.
Annica at Chopin’s grave.
One pathway in Pere Lachaise:
The walk yields some very lovely pictures of a wide variety of graves and monuments from marble to stained glass mausoleums. Our walk to Oscar Wilde’s grave takes almost 20 minutes because it’s at the opposite end of the cemetery. We arrive to find it covered in lipstick kisses (the curves of your lips rewrite history). I felt a real rush being there, imagining Bpo here almost hugging the Egyptian-style monument.
Oscar Wilde’s grave:
Michael’s sunflower and a message to Oscar:
I lay my flower across from Michael’s sunflower and take pictures of both. We linger long enough for Michael to get some great video of some old ladies near the grave. I take my obligatory picture next to Oscar’s resting place and we head out of the cemetery, walking slowly past all the veteran’s monuments covered in red, white, and blue flowers for the VE Day celebrations that week.
Pathway after leaving Oscar’s grave.
We’re starving at this point and go across the street for a late lunch. We eat at the “poster café” – the one featured on the deco poster Michael bought in Monmarte. I had a wonderful egg concoction with tea, Michael had onion soup (I think) and Annica had some yummy tomato and cheese hors d’oeuvres and salmon for her meal – tasty sauce! Our waiter was fun, very traditionally Frenchman who cursed when he dropped things and barely smiled at us.
Next we wandered over near the cemetery gain where we had the best ice cream (really, sorbetto) I’ve ever had in my LIFE. Melted in my mouth bursting with strawberry flavor and Michael’s chocolate chip was wonderful as well. Annica got a crepe that was too sweet for her to eat so I finished it on the Metro home. I thought this way strange:
Warning sign in the Metro to watch your fingers.
We all decided to skip the night trip to the Eiffel Tower in favor of packing for our early flight the next day. We stopped by the creperie near our hotel for a sampling of pastries to snack on while we repacked and enjoyed baths in the wonderful tub in the hotel room. I tried to finish my journal then but I was behind at the point. The giggle fits hit all of us when we try to go to bed – one of the consequences of an early wake up time I suppose.
Lobby meet up time is 6am. Off to Newark first then an express flight back to OKC. Home.