My mind has officially for the very first time been blown and left to float away. I hesitate to say that today was the best day of my life. Those words are usually reserved for proposals, wedding days and childbearing. Since none have happened for me yet I can confidently say today was in the top 3 of the best days of my life so far…and it almost didn’t happen. Everyone I told that I was going to Paris told me..”If you get the chance go to Giverny and see Monet’s home and gardens.” To which I thought I don’t really care for Monet’s work as far as art is concerned. I know… shoot me. I am not an arty person in the sense that I don’t follow art. I knew of Monet and his famous water lily painting but other than that I didn’t know anything else and didn’t mind not knowing.
I had already seen all of Paris I wanted to see including the Eiffel Tower 3 times! Today was my total free day. I didn’t have a shoot planned or any other monument to visit. So I thought after I slept in until 11 am that I’d make my way to Giverny. I was very anxious and a little scared to leave Paris. I’m already here traveling alone. I thought…what if I miss the train? What if I get lost. How will I find my way back? But I decided hell im here and im bored so lets do it. I put on a dress I thrifted from Vintage Desir in Monmartre and with chocolate croissant and strawberry shortcake in hand, I made my way to the train.
Pulling out of the station and exiting the city limits and looking out on the sun filled greenery of the landscape…. I felt free. Kind of like I feel when leaving New York after being there for many months. Sometimes you just need an escape from the city and to be amongst nature and trees and grass that isn’t perfectly manicured. Sometimes Central Park just doesn’t cut it. That’s how I felt on the train out of Paris. It was breathtaking. The high ridges of trees to my right flowing quickly by and the rolling plains on my left. I knew I made the right decision.
After the train arrived to Vernon, I along with a group of about 16 other people waited for the shuttle bus to take us the 20 minute ride to the small town (more like village) of Giverny. We were all excited. We were all ready to witness something magical. The tiny narrow streets of Vernon slowly gave away to an even tinier bridge over the Seine. Then around a bend and to the left was a lush hill of trees dotted with a chateau here and there. To the right was a meadow of cows slowly grassing. Down a dirt road and the little village presented itself.
Stepping off the bus I was hit with the best smelling air I have ever smelt in my life. I am a total smell person. I notice how a person smells before I notice what they are wearing. This was unlike anything I’ve ever smelled. It smelled what I think purity smells like. I mixture of life and flowers and God. Monet’s home is quaint and adorable. Wooden floors, it smelt old and lived in. The yellow dinning room was the perfect shade of yellow. The blue kitchen with copper pots hung against the wall. Looking out the window onto the gardens must have been the start of Monet’s everyday.
So as far as his paintings…yeah I guess he was a great. But when it comes to landscaping and architecture…the man was a genius. He planted whatever he got his hands on and just let nature take its course. I felt like Monet and God conspired to make this little oasis on earth. I have never seen so many flowers of every color. So many tiny creatures buzzing about tasting every one. I felt like I was the only person in the world walking a flowery path. Being in Monet’s garden was the most grounding experience of my life. It was so emotional, the smells, the beauty, the stillness, the quietness that I began to cry. Silent tears of happiness that I was alive and that I got to see something so powerful and moving. I know I’m crying on the flight and in the gardens…I was a mess in Paris.
I mean I may just be a little emotional because all I’ve eaten today are a chocolate croissant, a piece of strawberry shortcake and two pieces of apple and raspberry crumb pie and two café au laits. It may be the sugar talking but I know it isn’t. I know I will have to come back to France if only to come back to Monet’s Garden. Maybe I will come here for my honeymoon one day and sleep in one of the bed and breakfasts’ in the tiny village. I’d wake early with my love and walk into the pastures and watch the sun rise over the cornfields. Maybe I will buy a chateau here and spend my summers walking along the Seine and teaching my child how to do cartwheels in the grass. Yes…I let myself dream more than ever in the gardens.
The Water Lily Pond. I stayed there for a full hour just sitting. Watching the birds, watching the leaves on the weeping willow swing on the breezes. The breezes that smelled like newly born babies and love. It’s heaven on earth. There is no other way to explain it. I will cherish this day forever and will always remember how Monet and his garden made me feel the most alive I’ve ever felt. No wonder Monet always felt so inspired to paint the beauty around him. When you awake to a place like Giverny everyday just being there inspires you to create. The same way I mentally began writing this post in my head while walking through the gardens. Inspiration pushed me to this new level of thinking and writing.
If you are ever in Paris…make the trip…you wont regret it. It will change you.
Photos/Edited by Me