Gardens: Versailles and Giverny

To begin our final summer fling in France, Las Chicas visit friends near Paris. We walk along the Mauldre River with Yvette and Django, and on nearby farm roads.

Yvette, Mary, Mary’s croissant, Django.

After a day of walks in the  countryside, Las Chicas brave the tourist crowds of Versailles and its gardens.

We enjoy the exterior views, like this gate of the Versailles Palace, but skip the crowded interior.

Las Chicas beneath the arch, part of a Lee Ufan art installation in the gardens.

Troy, our friend and tour guide, notes that it’s a holiday in France so we will see the musical fountains in action! The sky threatens, and the wind chills at the start of our visit. But by the end of the day, we are soaked in sunshine.

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Raincoats at the ready, Mary and Troy.

This fountain is decorated with shells from the Indian Ocean and Red Sea.

This fountain dances to the greatest hits of the 15th century.

More modern art to ponder amid the lawns and boxy hedges.

We end our day with a crowd at the large Neptune Fountain. It’s a beautiful way to wrap up our visit to Versailles.

Neptune Fountain panorama

The next day, Troy takes us to Giverny where Monet lived and painted. The house, gardens and pond have been preserved as they were when he and his family lived here.  We tour the house, which is crowded but has colorful views of the garden. Replicas of the Japanese prints Monet collected, some of his paintings, and paintings by his friends including Cezanne adorn the walls of the house.

Monet’s house.

View from the bedroom window.

Flowers are allowed to take over this garden path, but we can’t walk on it.

The gardens are spectacular. A stunning array of flowers, some common, others exotic, encourage us to linger, take a lot of pictures and ponder Monet’s life in this place. Like many struggling artists, he did not come by this paradise easily, but appears to have spent many wonderful years here cultivating his bliss.

Variegated zinnia


Lily pad pond that inspired his most famous painting: Nymphéas.

Rooster, sequestered  from the garden, not painted by Monet.

Las Chicas enjoy the shade by the Nymphéas.

© 2014 by Lisa Howells and Mary Reynolds. All rights reserved.

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