Tomorrow I leave for 3 weeks in Paris. One of the things I’m most looking forward to seeing again are Monet’s water lilies—both at his home, Giverny, and on his spectacular canvases at Musée de l’Orangerie.
Monet’s water lilies, Les Nymphéas, are marvels from afar; and abstract wonders up close.
The huge horizonless canvases, without edges of water or sky as reference points, immerse viewers in the pond. With that in mind, here is my haiku ode to them.
Water lilies drift,
white-capped, synchronized swimmers
learning new routines
Have you been to Giverny? to l’Orangerie? What were your impressions?
Giverny – Monet’s home and gardens – is a treat any time, but recently completed renovations have the grounds looking fresher than ever. The long rows of flower beds in front of the house bubble over with bright colors. Nearby, the water lilies and the pond’s reflections are more subtle, but every bit as beautiful. Here, you feel like you are part of the Nymphéas, Monet’s largest works.
Getting to Giverny is also easier. Trains to Vernon leave from Paris Gare St Lazare every two hours, beginning at 8:20am. Tickets can be purchased ahead of time (follow the signs for Grandes Lignes), and can be used for up to 2 months. Once the train arrives in Vernon, blue footprints lead visitors through the gare to a bus that covers the rest of the distance to Giverny.
In the past, the shuttle’s timing made it a hit or miss propostion, and a more expensive taxi was the only way to be sure to get back to Vernon in time for the train. Now the train and bus schedules are coordinated, and easy to discern. Ask for them when you buy your train tickets; there are also signs at Giverny.
A bonus, for those who arrive at Giverny midday: a free guided tour leaves most days from the boutique.