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July 20, 2015 / Jim Fenton

Europe Day 13: Giverny and Eastward

Monday, June 15, 2015

It’s time, alas, to leave our comfortable lodgings in Bayeux and head to our next destinations east of Paris. Along the way, we planned a stop a Monet’s home and gardens at Giverny.

After driving the freeway most of the way back to Paris, we got another sample of France’s back roads. Arriving at Giverny, we found a large tourist village with many tour buses, including several school groups (which makes sense).

Monet's Garden, Giverny

Monet’s Garden, Giverny

The gardens are amazing. Monet created the garden to use as a subject for his paintings, and that tradition continues to great effect. There were extensive and lush gardens near the house, and further away (through a pedestrian underpass) was the water lily pond with Japanese-style bridges and, again, more lush flowers, trees, and other foliage. This is not the sort of garden you would want to maintain during California’s current water shortage!

We also walked through Monet’s house and saw how the furnishings, pictures on the wall, and even the colors of the furnishings were all planned to provide inspiration to Monet’s work.

After leaving Giverny, our route passed close to Paris. We took the péripherique (ring road) around the city, and found ourselves in gridlock rush hour traffic. We spent a lot of time at a dead stop, particularly annoying in the long tunnels along the route. Kenna was driving at the time, and her left leg was really tired from pushing the clutch. I don’t know if this traffic is typical, but it’s really bad. The connection to the A4, the main freeway going east, requires exiting onto city streets and going through a traffic light or two, and probably accounted for a lot of the congestion.

Kenna and Celeste at entrance to Disneyland Paris

Kenna and Celeste at entrance to Disneyland Paris

We were, of course, running late by the time we cleared the Paris traffic and were getting hungry. That, combined with a little curiosity, led us to Disneyland Paris for dinner, where we ate at the Planet Hollywood restaurant at Disney village. The meal was as expected, but it was fun to see the entrance to Disneyland and how it is presented in French.

We continued to Reims, where we found a convenient hotel close to the freeway. The room is quite small for the three of us, but it is clean and comfortable enough.

This article is part of a series about our recent vacation in Europe. To see the introductory article in the series, click here.

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