Monet Gardens, Giverny, France, April 2011

by Emma Bumpus on April 5, 2011

Keen to capture the essence of spring with a cultural twist made our weekend break in France an inspiringly easy challenge for with children in tow!

Thankfully, Eurostar gave us a two and quarter hour head start, which meant we were in Paris well before midday. Whilst indulging copious amounts of coffee, magazines and pure respite, the kids revelled in excitement as they recited French vocabulary, enjoying the window views train journeys bring.

From Gare du Nord we captured a snapshot of Paris from the back of a taxi before taking the double decker train from Gare Saint Lazare to Vernon, a smooth forty minute journey delivering picturesque views of Normandy.

From Vernon a five-minute taxi ride delivered us through Giverny, a quaint village, where a lane laced with lilac wisteria led us to Le Clos Fleuri, our Bed and Breakfast aptly translated the “blossom garden”.

With “impressionism” in mind our vision of staying in an enchanting location did not disappoint. Hypnotised by the range of bold coloured flowers we took to the sun loungers whilst the children played in the lush garden with “Darwin”, the owner’s dog.

Our room named clematis was in keeping with typically French rustic hospitality; clean, uncluttered and fresh. Stairs leading down to the garden provided fun for the children as they indulged in the freedom of just being on holiday.

An afternoon walk around Giverny was an introduction to the wonderfully relaxed, stylish and family friendly traditional cafes and restaurants, which attract tourists, year after year. Encompassing green fields of stunning Normandy countryside made this a spectacular spot from which to explore Northern France and base film locations.

A peaceful night’s sleep in clematis followed by a continental breakfast prepared us for a ten-minute walk to the Monet Gardens. As we meandered down a lane dotted with irises, wisteria and clematis, we were dazzled by the purple hues which gave us a preparatory insight to the influences of the artist Claude Monet.

Walking into the gardens was a heavenly experience of colour, texture and light, of which the artist became famous for studying and of course painting outdoors. Greeted by rows of rainbow coloured flowers introduced us to Monet’s colourful palette and appreciation of landscape.

A historical tour of the house gave us a vivid insight to the influences which shaped and developed the artist’s career journey. As we walked around the rooms painted bright blue, we began to understand Monet’s passion for colour, which as a young boy, originated from his fascination with sunlight and yearning to be outdoors in fields or by the sea.

Several coffees and ice creams later we visited the Giverny museum of Impressionisms and learnt how the Monet and his artist friends Renoir, Pissarro and Sisley, the “Impressionists”, used bold paints and light to “catch the first impression of a scene in a painting”.

Keen to prolong our French experience, we could not end our weekend without a “tour de Paris”. After leaving out baggage at Gare du Nord and several French lessons later we managed to fast track our way to the Eiffel Tower on a bus, which toured Les Champs-Elysees. Fun, fast and “tourist like” we managed to successfully capture the essence of Paris before catching the afternoon Eurostar back to London. Marvellous.

{ 10 comments… read them below or add one }

Josue Rials October 20, 2011 at 7:52 am

You are a very clever person!


Emma Bumpus October 20, 2011 at 8:11 am

Thank you Josue, my aim is to bring travel to life and educate!


Darrell Sagi November 2, 2011 at 6:43 am

Hi there, just became alert to your blog through Google, and found that it is really informative. I am going to watch out for brussels. I will be grateful if you continue this in future. A lot of people will be benefited from your writing. Cheers!


Emma Bumpus November 2, 2011 at 9:15 am

Many thanks indeed for your feedback, watch out for Brussels!


Emma Bumpus November 12, 2011 at 4:34 pm

Thanks and please watch out for my November features coming up.


Gdansk Busy November 12, 2011 at 7:48 pm

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Emma Bumpus November 13, 2011 at 6:37 am

Many thanks, more to come this month!


Emma Bumpus November 12, 2011 at 7:50 pm

Thank you, nice of you to say so. More festive features coming!


Emma Bumpus November 12, 2011 at 7:54 pm

Many thanks!


Emma Bumpus November 12, 2011 at 7:59 pm

Thank you very much


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