On my birthday, Dr. B and I had planned to go to Monet's garden and home at Giverny. We woke up, Dr. B made me a delicious breakfast, and prepared to go. It was cold and rainy, however, so we decided to save our trip for Tuesday, and find something else to do in Paris.
We decided instead to head to the Orangerie
, do a little shopping in the Carrousel du Louvre, and stop at Angelina
for some really awesome hot chocolate (thick as motor oil, so good you really should have to confess it, Catholic or not!) It was raining hard when we got to the Jardin de Tuileries, so we went into the Carrousel first, hoping the rain would soon stop. It slowed to a drizzle eventually, and we made our way across the sand toward the Orangerie. The line was long, and the wind was cold, so we were happy when we were finally ushered in, and could see the large-scale Monet paintings, about 5 feet high and 30 feet long (guessing--don't quote me on this) in their new setting. The diffused natural light from the skylights really created a beautiful effect, and the paintings seemed to shimmer and change depending on your angle. We went through the lower level, and enjoyed seeing paintings by Picasso, Modigliani, Renoir, Cézanne, Rousseau, Matisse, Laurencin and many others--in fact, I'd have to say I preferred this to visiting the Pompidou Center (the meat dress, it still haunts me!) We felt we had earned our hot chocolate, and split a pistachio dessert as well, and headed home happy to another home-cooked meal by Dr. B (my one day a year with guaranteed no cooking!!!)
Monday, we worked out some moving details with a company that will ship our stuff, got Dr. B some new clothes (french jeans fit him so much better) and foofoo water (Dior Homme--Mmmmmm!), walked through the Jardin de Luxembourg, and had a picnic on Pont Neuf after sunset. Watching the Procession of the Ascension on the River Seine was breathtaking--a statue of the Virgin Mary led the first of five to seven boats full of worshippers with candle lumiaries in their hands as they said the Hail Mary and sang hymns. The statue was glowing, lit from below by many lights, and made of either crystal, glass, ice or super shiny chrome--we don't know which, but we sure wish we had a camera. It was amazing!
France is not a Catholic state, but somehow they still manage to take all the Catholic holidays off. So since Dr. B "a fait le pont"
(took a 4-day weekend), on Tuesday, the official celebration of the Ascension of the Virgin Mary to Heaven, we took a train from St. Lazare station to Vernon in Normandy, hopped a bus to Giverny
, and spent the afternoon walking through Impressionist painter Claude Monet's
home and beautiful gardens. This is where he lived from 1883 until his death in 1926. He devoted most of his time and money to his gardens, both caring for them and painting them, and the restored views are absolutely spectacular.
I took a humongous amount of pictures
, and I don't have the energy to label them all, but I've posted them on my flickr site. Most would be labeled either "Me", "Jeff", "Me and Jeff", "Gorgeous!" or "Beautiful!!!" or "Breathtaking!!!!!!!"--a few times is fine, but over a hundred gets pretty boring, so I am leaving them all with the name the camera gave to them. Feel free to take a look when you have time--each site was more beautiful than the next, so I admit I got a bit snap-happy! (Yes, Grandma Sylvia's granddaughter is living up to the family tradition...)