Tuesday, May 15, 2012

15 May, Tuesday: Giverny and Montmartre

Tuesday,  15 May.  Today was our scheduled tour of Monet’s Gardens!  We easily caught our 8:20am train to Vernon (we had enough time to get our tickets at Gare St. Lazare, although it was less stressful to have them in hand already).  It  looks like they don’t put up platform numbers until about 10 minutes before departure so we didn’t exactly know where to go.  We asked a couple of guards in the station and they nicely directed us upstairs.  We didn’t know to stamp the ticket before boarding which the ticket checker did not like.  The train ride was otherwise uneventful, the sun was out and the countryside looked very pretty.

At Vernon, we lined up with everyone else and were on the first bus to Giverny.  Got there and walked to the Group Entrance as I’d bought the entry tickets online.  Walked in to the site but instead of going directly to the Water Lilies area, I mistakenly led us toward the gift shop and bathrooms.  Hubby figured out we had to retrace our steps to get to the Water Lilies and as we started to do that, the rain poured down.  We instead went into the house and toured it, at first with few other people then everyone who had been outside came rushing in to avoid the rain.  By time we were done with the house, the rain had let up (although not ceased) so we went to the Water Lilies area.  It was spectacular!  Crowded and wet but gorgeous.  We took tons of pictures, got a little damp and thoroughly enjoyed the gardens.   We bought some souvenirs in the extremely crowded gift shop, had lunch at a little cafe then niece and I made our way back to the bus stop.  Hubby decided to walk to Monet’s grave and just made it back in time for the 12:25pm bus.  Why do they have such a long break between buses?  Had we missed the 12:25, we would have to wait 2 hours for the next one!

Figuring outthe train to Vernon, we were not the only ones confused...

Monet's beautiful garden

The Japanese Water Lilly Garden

It's just spectacularly gorgeous, even in the rain

Giverny is pretty cute, as hubby found out on his walk to Monet's grave

Back at Gare St. Lazare, we decided to head to the apartment to relax and wait for the weather to clear a little before going up to Montmartre. So glad we did this as there were two hail storms, which we watched from the comfort of our apartment. Crazy weather! We put on the rain gear and headed out around 3pm. 

View from the apartment terrace

View from the apartment's other terrace

Unhappy niece climbing up the Abbesses Metro station steps

We made it!  That was quite a workout!

Sacre Couer was crowded but lovely as ever. We heard part of a mass led by nuns; so refreshing to hear female voices in that setting. The weather was ok, a little rain but mostly blue skies. Walking around Montmartre was eye opening—it’s so changed since 2005, what happened to all the artists at Place du Tertre? Hubby and I bought “art” there on our first trip, now it’s restaurants and caricaturists. Change isn’t always good… 

Brave firefighter

Lovely Sacre Couer

We had drinks at Bar a Bieres on Rue Lepic down the street from Moulin de la Gallete then decided to find Le Cottage Marcadet for dinner. Got help from the locals in finding it but looking at the menu we decided against it, too expensive and similar to Le Reminet. We opted for the place next door, Le Baignoire, which was more casual. Niece ordered an apple, avocado and crabmeat entrée that was outstanding; hubby and I were also impressed with our meals. The only let down was the crème brulee—the caramelized sugar was a little too burnt. Otherwise, this was one of our best meals in Paris, start to finish.

We enjoyed our dinner at Le Baignoire

It was late and quite cold but we still detoured to Pigalle to see the ''red-light district" and then to the Arc de Triomphe for the night time view. Niece and I talked hubby out of going to the Trocadero. We got back to our apartment and crashed. Another great day even with the awful weather!

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