Day 8 was very bittersweet because we knew it was our last day in Paris. The only good thing about going back home was seeing our chihuahua Joey! If it weren't for him, we would have stayed. (We wish!)
(Driving through a tunnel)
(Beautiful scenic road to get to Giverney)We really weren't in Paris for most of the day on our last day because we rented a car (a Fiat!) and drove up to Giverney (the countryside where the famous painter Claude Monet lived) and to the small historic town of Vernon. It took us about an hour to arrive to Monet's house. The drive was spectacular, especially when you are getting close to the quaint little village where he lived. It was so much fun experiencing the rolling hills and one lane streets on the way up. It was also a nice change after being in the city for a week. We needed the fresh air.
Once we arrived to Monet's pink house, which is now a museum, we were able to find parking right across the street and just walk right up to the ticket booth. We explored the gift shop and made our way into the very colorful and rural home. Most of the furnishing in the house has remained in tact since the early 1900s and his studio still has some of his original paintings hanging on the wall. Claude Monet is the founder of French impressionist painting because of his landscape paintings. He is most famous for his paintings "Water Lillies" and "The Water Lilly Pond." We were not able to take photos inside the home but you can see room by room photos on this website.
(Those tall white and purple flowers are irises, Monet's favorite flower)
The most beautiful thing about the property is the impressive gardens outside. Hundreds if not thousands of colorful flowers adorn the beautiful landscape. It is incredible to think that the artist himself designed the garden and even planted some of the trees in front of the house.
(Wisterias that Monet planted himself)
Across the street is the additional property that Monet purchased after living in the home for 10 years. That is where the water lilly pond is that made him world-known. You can hear the frogs singing as you approach the area, which had Mrs. P on pins and needles. She conquered her fear of frogs and walked around the pond, taking in all the wonders of the magical garden.
We had lunch in Les Nymphéas which is right across the street from Monet's house (109 rue Claude Monet). At first, we thought it was a tourist trap, but it ended up being one of our favorite meals of the trip.
Mrs. P had a rosé wine and a light salad with almonds and tomatoes accompanied by wedges of French cheese that tasted just as good as they looked. All of the cheese on the plate were made in Normandy: brie, Camembert, goat cheese and Roquefort cheese. The cheeses were extremely fresh. It couldn't get any better than this. She was in heaven, especially because the waitress kept bringing her delicious French bread to eat with her assortment of cheeses. The bread in France is the best bread we have EVER had, and we have traveled all over the world.
Mr. P had beef bourguignon for the first time in Paris. It was one huge bowl of tender beef, potatoes, carrots and onions. It was served with bread and the best part was dipping the bread in the broth. He was not disappointed!
For dessert, we had Madeline's with chocolate pot de creme. We didn't think we would eat it all, but we did! It was so creamy and thick that we wished we had each ordered our own!
(We just love vines growing on walls of homes)
After lunch we walked up and down the street and visited a few antique shops and souvenir shops.
(Mr. P had way to much fun with our little Fiat 500)
Next, we drove a few miles over to Vernon. It is an interesting little town with a lot of history. The first thing we saw there was this little house on a bridge. Turns out, it is in fact an old mill and there used to be more than just that one, but the bridge collapsed into the Seine River many years ago.
The Tourelles Castle is right to the house on the bridge. This medieval castle was built to protect the city of Vernon. In World War II, one of the four towers was damaged but it was recently restored. The whiter stone is the renovated part of the castle.
We drove over to the downtown area just a few minutes away and visited a medical church. The name of the church is the Collegiate Church of Notre-Dame. This church dates back to the XI century (11th) and was damaged by both World War I and II. The style of the church is gothic and it has beautiful abstract stained glass windows.
To the left of the church is the House of Old Times, one of the oldest houses in Vernon dating back to the XV century (15th). This house looks like it leaning. You just have to see it for yourself! Here you will also find the Office of Tourism for Vernon. They will give you a map that give you more information about Vernon and the structures.
(How cute are these coffee cups?)
(Photo is a little blurry because of the rain but we had to share. It was amazing driving up to the Arc de Triomphe)
The sun didn't set in Paris until about 9:00p.m. and because it was still daylight, we decided to take a detour on the way back to the rental car company and drive down Champs-Elysees and get a different view of the Eiffel Tower.
We arrived to the tower just in time to see the glittering lights one last time. This was a sign that our trip had come to an end, but the memories will last forever. Thank you for following our journey through the most romantic city in the world. Our wish is that our experiences will help you make the most of your trip.
"We will always have Paris."