Sunday, June 30, 2013

Monet's Gardens in Giverny

During our trip to France, we visited Monet's Gardens in Giverny.  It was a perfect time of year- just take a look at these gardens.

Monet employed 7 gardeners to take care of his grounds.
After Monet’s death in 1926, the garden slowly disintegrated. His surviving son, Michel, who died in 1966, left both the property and the art collection to the Académie des Beaux-Arts. The collection went to the Musée Marmottan in Paris and a first curator attempted to save what remained of the house and garden.
Giverny’s renaissance began with the arrival of former Versailles chief curator Gerald Van der Kemp and his American wife Florence, in 1976. Having raised substantial sums for the restoration of Versailles, they turned their attention to Monet’s heritage, and the house and garden were saved by millions of dollars from generous American donors.  ( read more about this store at the link below)

 Rose bushes shaped into umbrellas


Monet's home
excerpt from
Painting was put on hold while he dug, seeded, weeded and hoed, doing a lot of the work himself—at Giverny he rose at dawn and usually was in bed no later than 9 pm. His eight children—his two sons by his first wife Camille and his second wife Alice’s four daughters and two sons from a previous marriage—were in charge of the evening watering.

“Monet was his own head gardener,” Gall declares. “He was obsessed by the beauty of flowers and the composition of his garden, he was an inventor and a researcher. He had a library of horticultural books, periodicals and plant dictionaries in French, English and German, so he could keep permanently informed of new plants that could represent a color or an atmosphere. He planned the garden like motifs for his pictures and his paintings became the inspiration to continue the garden.” 

 Monet's personality was strong and complex.  It is said that when he couldn't create a beautiful painting, that he would go to bed for 2 days. The household knew to be quiet.  He also insisted that the family eat together everyday at exactly 11:30 am.  One of his youngest daughters always had to leave school quickly at lunch just to make it home on time or else she was strongly reprimanded.


Monet was particularly proud of his tree peonies.


Monet's painting of this bridge
To read the entire history of the gardens and how they were developed by Monet read the following article-


Tuesday, June 25, 2013

Day Trip in Provence to Gorges du Verdon

On one of our days in Provence, we decided to drive from Avignon to Castellan.  My husband wanted to flyfish in the Verdon River before we left.  The drive proved to be a quite delightful 4 hour trip.

 Through the area where lots of lavender grows- not quite blooming yet, but the poppies were magnificent!

rows of lavender getting ready to bloom in the next 3 or 4 weeks!
 The rose bushes in every little town were big and lush.

 Valensole in Provence
Stopped for breakfast in this quaint town and saw this unbelievable chateau-------

 The grounds were impeccably manicured.
                                            On my bucket list to stay there sometime!

 Driving by St. Croix du Verdon
Finally we reach the Gorges du Verdon and it was truly one of the prettiest places on earth.

As we round the corner of this narrow windy road, we see sheep in the middle of the road.
Next a black sheep dog runs into the middle of the road, barks continuously and goes in circles, until he is sure all the traffic has come to a complete stop.  Then he turns his head and looks up the hill and gives 3 more barks and all of a sudden, a large herd of sheep start down the mountain , cross the road and go down the other side of the hill.

That was one really large herd of sheep! 
Loved watching them - I don't see that very often in the states!

We continue along this river and enjoy it's rustic beauty, stopping at several places.

We finally arrive at Castellane, where my husband can finally find a shop to purchase a French fishing license.

He is really itching to get in this gorgeous river.

This area is also known for rock climbing.

 Another field of sheep grazing on the way to our fishing spot.

 Finally, Jay is in the water, trying to catch the perfect fish.  While he fishes,  I am sitting in the car reading French home magazines ( I should preface  that by saying, I am looking at the pictures , can't read a lick of French), when I look out the windshield and see another-

 yes another--
 huge herd of sheep coming towards the car. So of course, I grab my camera!

By this time , they have surrounded the big fat BMW, and I am in heaven with my camera!
 Finally the end of the herd, followed by 2 sheep dogs and the shepherd himself! 
 Isn't this picture great?????
They head across the old wooden bridge and up the hill.

 How wonderful was that??????
With just a little time in Provence- simple things seem so special.
Heading back to Avignon, passing through all the tree lined streets heading in and out of the villages.