We spent the 4th of July last week doing the most patriotic thing we could think of: hauling ourselves via metro then bus then by foot to the little town of Giverny, where we stood in line with lots of other vacationing Americans waiting to catch a glimpse of Monet’s lily pond.
Because nothing says America like tourist hordes and impressionist art! Or something like that.
Except that much to our dismay, there was no actual art at Monet’s house. At least none of his art. Oh sure, there were numerous reproductions, and a cute little garden, and a stunning dining room decked out in floor to ceiling yellow. There were even some chickens and a sign that read “Do not disturb the fowl” (which made me laugh for a good 5 minutes). But not a vrai Monet in sight.
So we toured the house in about 15 minutes, then decided to check out the lily ponds. Somehow in my head I had imagined vast expanses of pond and garden, but in reality it was just this:
Yeah, yeah. It’s gorgeous. But visiting this lily pond took about 10 minutes total. Which is fine, except when it takes you planes, trains and surly French bus drivers to get there. And the next train home isn’t for another 3 hours.
So we left Monet’s
snoozefest house and went to find le Musée des Impressionismes. Which was closed. Then we walked/waddled along the streets of Giverny (all 5 of them) and finally just sat at a café and ate an omelet because there simply wasn’t anything else to do.
Which got me thinking: I don’t think it was dear old Claude’s artistic genius that inspired all those groundbreaking water lily canvases. It was sheer freaking boredom.
So take my advice: only visit Giverny if you have a car and happen to be passing by. Or if you want to shake things up a bit and see what happens when you disturb the fowl.