I didn’t sleep all that well on the first night in Paris. I woke up a few times throughout the night as my body clock reset itself. I know I was nervous about sleeping in…Today was the day I was finally headed to Giverney (pronounced Ghe-Varn-ey) the home of Monet’s garden.
Now for those who aren’t aware I’ll confess that I’ve got little sense of direction when it comes to places that aren’t familiar to me. I almost got lost on the way back to the hotel the night before. So I was pretty proud of myself for finding my way to the tour office (opposite the Louvre) from my hotel on foot. Once I saw the Seine I knew I would be fine.
Once again Viator came to my rescue in picking a tour to Giverney. I knew by booking a tour I would be guaranteed a speedier entrance to the gardens and Monet’s house than those who simply arrived on the day. My tour was a half day Private Giverney Tour. This means that you are transferred out to the estate in a private van with 6 other people – It’s not a private tour of the estate. You get to share that with around 100+ of your closest friends from other tour groups. It was raining when we arrived and I hadn’t had time to grab an umbrella (despite spotting stores selling them the night before); luckily the tour guide leant me hers. We were given a little over an hour to explore the gardens and the house where Monsieur Monet created his masterpieces such as the water lilies series.
Giverney has been a dream of mine since I found out about Monet. He is my favourite impressionist artist and I may have cried the first time I saw his paintings at the Musee D’Orsay. I can say now the dream lived up to the reality as I wandered about in awe of the gardens. The area around Giverney is all woodland so Monet and his family would’ve spent years creating the beautiful gardens.
When I got back to Paris I promptly brought 2 umbrellas for Renee and I. Renee arrived from Bordeaux in the afternoon sore but triumphant from running her first ever marathon – Marathon Du Medoc. We found a little Thai place nearby our hotel for a late lunch and I got to cuddle a random American family’s 6 month old baby (he was very sweet and a total ladies man cooing at us). That night we found a nearby restaurant offering a 3 course meal special. We toasted Paris and Renee’s marathon debut with a glass of champagne and then washed down our meal with a bottle of the lightest Rose.
Our last morning in Paris we walked the streets of the Quarter lost searching for H&M to indulge in a little retail therapy. After finding the store and picking up 2 items (a khaki maxi dress and black shell top with ruffles: both very on trend) we made it back to the hotel and then loaded up bags to carry down the stairs and towards the train.
The Saint-Michele/Notre Dame train station was a very short away from the hotel. Unfortunately not all Paris train stations are luggage friendly and there were a lot of stairs to get down to the platform headed to the airport. It was just 10 Euro to get from the city to the airport – cheaper than a taxi or Uber by miles! Once at the airport we battled the security gates coming off the train platform. We watched other travellers try to drag their cases through the small laneway between the gates only to have the gates shut before they could get their cases through. The best solution? The bags went over the gates and the other person caught them on the other side. Aside from this little hiccup I would recommend the train to anyone looking for a budget friendly way to get out to the airport.
Side note: the Air France terminal at Charles De Gaulle Airport was pretty nice. I was impressed. Not a massive heap of food options (Paul or mini market) but I liked the bliss zone where you could get a massage or mani/pedi before boarding your flight. We didn’t have time to investigate the cost for this as we were running a little late. Next stop FLORENCE. ITALY….
Have you been to Giverney? Would you visit Paris now?