I was recently asked what was my all time favorite place I’ve traveled to. Instantly, two places in France came to mind – Monet’s Gardens and the home of a vineyard owner/wine maker in the Beaujolais area. I’ll cover Monet’s Gardens in this posting and save Beaujolais for the next.
The first time I traveled to France was in 2000, with an incentive meeting I was doing with my former employer. I was fortunate to be able to visit Monet’s Gardens with a small group of our attendees. For fifteen years, the beauty and serenity of the gardens stayed with me, beckoning me to return. My husband gave me the best gift ever for our anniversary – a trip to Paris and London, so we visited in June of 2015. The second visit was just as incredible as the first.
We took the train from Paris to the charming village of Vernon, where we had the pleasure of shopping in the village stores to gather our picnic supplies. We sampled cheese in the cheese shop, picked up fresh bread and goodies in the bakery, grabbed some cider and fruit in the fruit/vegetable market, and meat from the butcher’s shop. Once we had all made our purchases, we loaded up the baskets on our bikes and rode a short distance to the banks of the Seine, where we sat on the grass, sharing our spreads with everyone in our tour group.
After lunch, we headed out on the paved trail for the short ride to Monet’s Gardens. It’s an easy ride, suitable for anyone who knows how to ride a bike. No hills, no great distance (about 3 miles to be exact). It was an enjoyable and postcard perfect ride past trees, homes and gardens until we arrived in the village of Giverny, home to Monet’s famous gardens and his home from 1883-1926.
Monet’s paintings feature actual gardens he planted and they are still maintained today. Due to a lack of words to accurately describe his gardens, I think I’ll just post a few of my favorite pictures.
After we explored the gardens, we grabbed a quick ice cream cone in the village and headed back to Vernon on our bikes. Our guide gathered the bikes, stored them, and we hopped on the train, arriving back in Paris in time for dinner with new friends we made on our tour.
If you’re ever in Paris, I highly recommend a fat bike tour to Monet’s Gardens. The groups are small, you aren’t rushed and you visit small villages that are in total contrast to the rush and crowds of Paris.
Our day was the perfect combination of sun, blue skies, fresh air, breathtaking scenery and great companions. Things that memories of a lifetime are made of.