France 2014 - Giverny

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Giverny is famous as the home of Monet - you can visit the Monet House and the two different gardens associated with it. There were about eight tour buses in the lot we parked in when we arrived at noon - and it was only one of three or four lots that fed the house. But they're set up to deal with this kind of traffic, and it went fairly smoothly (and we were told it was a lot less busy than the summer). The flower garden is quite beautiful, just an amazing array of types and colours of flowers. After that you visit the even more famous water lily garden. Very few of the lilies were in bloom, but they had planted quite a wide variety of other plants and flowers around the pond, and it had a small island with an arched bridge going to it. The bridge has vines trained all over it, with gorgeous dangling flowers. We got intermittent rain, so we went to hide under the bamboo - which worked remarkably well as rain cover. Then we visited the Monet house, where the thundering herds of 7-10 year olds were a bit much. There were an astonishing number of Japanese prints and/or paintings on the walls - apparently he really did collect all those in his lifetime. I'm a little disappointed we didn't spend a bit more time looking at the one room with the incredible clutter of Monet paintings (four walls packed floor to ceiling with no space between), but you couldn't hear yourself think nor turn around without stepping on someone.

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by giles