What started out as a random roadside stop turned out to be pretty spectacular.
On the way home from Versailles, Brian said to pick a stop on the map… it was already going to be a long time in the car — six or so hours — so I was reluctant to take us anywhere out of our way. But I looked up a list of day trips from Paris, and one stood out: Monet’s house and garden in Giverny. It happened to be on our way, and the sun was shining — why not?!
Both our hearts sank a little as we drove up. It was clearly more of a tourist hot spot than we had bargained for. But we were there, and I needed a bathroom, so we decided to go for it anyway.
So glad we did! Well, not at first. You first arrive at a small, ridiculously picturesque “village” that’s got museums, shops, cafes — and then there’s the line to get into Monet’s house and garden. Since it took me about 30 minutes to find the bathroom with such helpful signage (6 minutes —><— 6 minutes), the wait didn’t feel unbearably long. Once we got in, we skipped the house to just take in the gardens.
Coming from the sculptured groves of Versailles, this garden was quite something different. I read on a sign (which I found while looking for the toilets!) that Monet saw his garden as his greatest masterpiece. Although it felt a bit wild in there, I saw how carefully this place had been planted and tended and loved. There was a painting around every corner.
Of course, we had to dodge school groups and tourists and seniors galore, so it was not Monet’s private garden anymore. But that hardly mattered.
What’s been your favourite roadside stop?