When we headed for Giverny, I really thought we were going to have a rendezvous with tourist hell — all the guidebooks talk about the crowds and the train was filled with more English speakers than we have seen since we have been here. And so I thought I’d be contrasting the tranquil secret gardens of Paris with this French tourist trap.
And Giverny has always been one of those places that we felt we ‘ought’ to see but apparently didn’t actually want to see since we managed to put it off on each trip — even this time we launched on Monday (it is newly opened on Mondays and the guidebooks all have it closed — so we thought we might see fewer crowds)but failed to get there and ended up going to the Bois de Bologne instead. We had forgotten the French mania for officially celebrating every ecclesiastical holiday and May is stuffed with them. Monday was a holiday and the trains ran on an unexpected schedule.
So today we finally made it. And while it began with the long lines and crowding of tourist hell– the place is just so charming even as the spring flowers are fading and the summer not quite out — that even the crowds didn’t diminish it.
While I waited in the long ticket line (be sure to reserve on line and print them out so you can skip all that — we didn’t chance it because the printer at the apartment is not reliable) — while I waited in the long hot line — Ed did what he always does everywhere in Paris — got coffee and read a book (the Kindle has made this even easier.)
Once we had tickets in hand we joined the throngs and were immediately struck by the profusion of flowers; it is planned like a classic English garden rather than a formal French one with layers of texture and color.
There were so many exquisite flowers and varieties I couldn’t name as well as old favorites like this rose. The bulb flowers and azaleas were mostly fading out and the roses not quite in full flower, but there was still a riot of color.
Spring is field trip season and there were a dozen school groups through from pre-school aged little darlings with giant name tags to older groups of kids.
Leaving the upper garden you pass under the road into the watergarden. The pond is connected to a nearby stream with weirs to divert water in or let it flow out. And it is a quite beautiful place even with the crowds.