France, Part 5 — Giverny
After a couple of days in Paris, we took a train to Vernon, whose French pronunciation was often ignored by members of our group, probably giving rise to varying reactions of amusement or perhaps consternation by the local residents. From there, it was a short ride in the van to Giverny, the home of our ArtStudy lodge. Giverny is a lovely small town in Normandy, full of picture-postcard scenery. In the image above is Chris, a local artist who is a good friend of the ArtStudy hosts, in front of one of his sand sculptures.
A few more images from Giverny (click any image for larger-format viewer):
While in Giverny, we were pampered each day with fabulous food both at the lodge and at the local restaurants. The lodge has a chef who came and prepared some special-occasion meals on non-restaurant days. For breakfast, we had fresh bread or croissants every day, along with a choice of fruit, Müesli, hard-boiled egg (not for me, thank you very much!), yogurt, and assorted juices. The coffee, accompanied by fresh half-and-half prepared from local milk and cream, was wonderful. Since Normandy is famous for dairy foods, we also had some great cheese selections. The thing that most stood out to me was how fresh everything was. Since I’ve been home, I’ve made a point of going to the farmer’s market every weekend to try to keep getting fruits and vegetables that are as fresh as possible.
On days when we didn’t have field trips, the day was spent painting en plein air. We had European style shopping carts that we loaded up with all of our supplies, including a TV tray for a table, and headed out to find a spot to paint. (I’ll post some of my paintings from the trip soon.) Then each day at 6:00, we journeyed down to Monet’s Garden with our supplies. The gardens were closed at that time, so the only people there were us and a few others, artists or photographers, who also had special permission to be there for two hours taking advantage of the beautiful landscaping and flowers. Here are a few of the photos I took in the gardens.