Still half-asleep, I boarded the 7:12 train to Giverny, arriving 41 minutes later at the small town of Vernon. Then, with nothing but the occasional cow, horse, car, and bike for company, I began my 1 hour 9 minute, 3.3 mile trek across the Seine, through the peaceful countryside, to Monet’s gardens. I admit I screamed a little–albeit very quietly–at the sight of the sun gleaming over looming, rolling hills lining the horizon beyond the river.
The reason I forced myself out of bed at 6:10am was in the hopes of avoiding the tourists–and while I can say I was one of the first people in line for tickets, I was sadly not one of the first people to enter the gardens.
Squeezing past an unnecessary amount of tourist groups, I made the fortunate choice of entering Monet’s house first. Inside, every room was a vivid combination of functional and brightly photogenic, and security guards notwithstanding, part of me was tempted to become a squatter there.
Outside, as a horde of tourist groups queued to enter the house, I drank in a rainbow of flowers set up against a backdrop of green. At some point, while strolling past a series of pastel tulips, I may or may not have cried over the gardens/the reality of taking my final trip in France. Move along now, nothing to see here except an emotional French major crying over flowers for her wives Iszi and Madeline.
Trying to take the paths less traveled by tourists, I finally reached the famed water lily pond with the green bridges, and the sight took my breath away. The entire garden–house, lake, and flowers–is actually a lot larger than you’d expect it to be, and I spent a good three hours marveling over the beautiful riot of colors, various hues that should have clashed but somehow managed to blend seamlessly together.
Mercifully, the rain stayed away until I finished lunch and boarded the Navette bus back to Vernon, which I suppose I could have explored, but instead I returned to Rouen, where I’m going to sleep for 10 million years. Why do I choose 7am trains to save money, again?