Last Monday, I bid farewell to my mother and students and packed up my suitcase. I then made my way to the metro and RER and took line C to le chateau de Versailles, where my host family’s mother/grandmother has resided for most of her life post-war. Let me just say that for the record, she is 95 years old, moves like she’s sixty-five, attends English class twice a week, and lives alone unsupported.
It was there that I met my host brother JB, who was working for the week in Vernon (right next to Giverny.) He had Easter Monday off and since he would not be accompanying me to Normandy, decided to plan an excursion for the two of us. JB knows how much I love strawberries, and he had bought an entire BOX for me. I had a huge bowl waiting for me at the table when I arrived.
After breakfast and exchanging war stories with Mamette, the two of us packed up his car and made our way to Vernon/Giverny. We first stopped at the office where he was working, and he showed me the cabinet and his rented room. After, we headed out.
Monet’s garden was beautiful, and luckily for me I had just spent three days in museums in Paris, so I was up-to-date on his most famous, garden-inspired paintings.
Afterwards the two of us drove out to Chateau Gaillard which overlooks the Seine, to do some hiking. I chose not to take pictures, but the views were incredible.
This fortress was designed and built in Les Andelys by the Richard I of England, feudal Duke of Normandy, aka Richard the Lionheart, friend of Robin Hood. Completed in one year, this chateau represented strength, power, and invincibility. His goal was to impress King Philip Augustus of France, whose lands expanded about ten kilometers away. Chateau-Gaillard was built with the goal of preventing the king from invading Normandy.
I was touched that JB planned that whole day for us. At the end, he shipped me off back to Caen!
Have you ever visited Monet’s gardens?