Search: Advanced | Preference
Traveling Boy means the travel adventures of the Traveiling Boitanos
Travel adventures of Eric Anderson Boitano
Travel adventures of John Clayton
Travel adventures of Deb Roskamp
Travel adventures of Fyllis Hockman
Travel adventures of Brom Wikstrom
Travel adventures of Jim Friend
Travel adventures of Timothy Mattox
Travel adventures of Corinna Lothar
Travel adventures of Roger Fallihee
Travel adventures of Tamara Lelie
Travel adventures of Beverly Cohn
Travel adventures of Raoul Pascual
Travel adventures of Ringo Boitano
Travel adventures of Herb Chase
Travel adventures of Terry Cassel
Travel adventures of Dette Pascual
Travel adventures of Gary Singh
Travel adventures of John Blanchette
Travel adventures of Tom Weber
Travel adventures of James Thomas
Travel adventures of Richard Carroll
Travel adventures of Richard Frisbie
Travel adventures of Masada Siegel
Travel adventures of Greg Aragon
Travel adventures of Skip Kaltenheuser
Travel adventures of Ruth J. Katz
Travel adventures of Traveling Boy's guest contributors

Ketchikan Bed and Breakfast Service

Panguitch Utah, your destination for outdoor discovery

Alaska Sea Adventures - Alaska Yacht Charter and Cruises

Colorado ad

Sorrel ad

Polar Cruises ad


About Roger   write me    Feeds provide updated website content        

Roger: Monet's Garden & World Cup Rugby
Monet’s Gardens and
World Cup Rugby:

What A Romantic Day
Story and photos by Roger Fallihee

he worst day in Paris is better than the best day anywhere else on the planet. The larger-than-life French capital always offers the promise of exciting adventure, amazing art and architecture, incredible food, and incomparable romance. If you’re bored in Paris you’re in big trouble.

It was a warm October morning when we wandered out of our hotel to catch the morning train to Giverny and the home and gardens of Claude Monet, one of the fathers of French Impressionism. Both my wife and I had been inspired and moved by the iconic work of Monet, so to see the gardens, the water lilies, and the Japanese Bridge, the objects of so much of his art, would certainly be an exciting and romantic day.

Little did we know that missing our train back to Paris would lead to a late afternoon of wine, cheese, fruit, bread, and World Cup Rugby, that would prove to be equally exciting and romantic. We arrived in Giverny at 11:00 am and immediately hopped onto a waiting shuttle bus that would take us the two miles to Monet’s home and gardens.

location of Monet's Gardens: the village of Giverny, France
The charming village of Giverny, France.

Once we dispensed with the 21st century ritual of slapping down the Visa card to buy tickets, we went through the gates and entered a world that was at once as magical, beautiful, and captivating as the collected works of Monet.

Claude Monet (1840-1926) was the rarest of all artists: he was financially successful. Today his work has been reproduced into countless posters, calendars, and reproductions, making Monet one of the most famous, recognizable, and posthumously wealthy artists in history.

One day in 1883, while riding through the village of Giverny, Monet gazed out the window and instantly fell in love with the light and the colors of this corner of his beloved French countryside. Monet and his companion Alice Hoschede, along with their combined eight children, rented a large house on three acres. Over the next few years they planted thousands of flowers and plants. In 1890 he had gained enough wealth to purchase the property. An inspired Monet hired workers to dig a large hole in the ground and divert a branch of the Epte River into the hole. The resulting pond and Japanese Bridge would forever change the course of art history.

the lily pond and Japanese Bridge at Monet's Garden, Giverny
Monet’s meticulous attention to detail created one of art’s most enduring settings.

Monet had a practical and businesslike approach to painting. After years of watching himself and his peers struggle to find the correct light and landscape to create art, Monet decided that the best way to resolve the problem would be to build and maintain his own environment. Monet, a practitioner of the “en plein air” (in the open air) style of painting, directed his staff of gardeners and laborers to create the world that he would paint for the next forty-three years. In addition to the Japanese Bridge and the water lily pond, Monet had in excess of 200,000 flowers planted. Half of these were perennials but the other half had to be replaced each spring.

Monet's Garden showing flowers with his house in the background, Giverny
Monet’s beloved garden with his farm house in the background.

Wandering around the grounds with my wife of two weeks (I knew her for thirty-three years, but these things take time) we were transported back to Monet’s wonderful world of light and color. It was amazing to sit where he sat, look at what he looked at, and imagine him painting some of the world’s finest and most works of art.

one of Monet's paintings of his garden showing the Japanese Bridge and lily pond
One of the many beautiful “Water Lily” paintings that Monet created over 43 years. Photo courtesy of arttoheart.com
After several leisurely hours wandering through his house, studio, and gardens, we realized that we needed to get back to the train station in time to make our dinner reservation in Paris. We arrived at the station just as our train pulled away. A quick look at the schedule indicated that the next train wouldn’t arrive for two hours. Oh well, there goes our dinner in Paris. We walked up and down the picturesque roads of Giverny eventually stumbling onto a quaint looking establishment called “Le Havre,” a pub that looked like a great place to unwind, grab a bite to eat, and wait for the next train.

We walked in expecting a low-key, quiet restaurant, which I’m sure is normally the case. However, on this day, France was playing England in the semi-finals of the 2007 Rugby World Cup. The place was packed with boisterous, loudly cheering and booing, smoking and drinking, laughing and eventually crying locals. (Final score: England 14 – France 9).

the Le Havre pub in Vernon
The food was fantastic. The rugby was sublime.
Photo courtesy of Giverny.org

Unlike American sports bars, with fifteen big screen TV’s, chili dogs, pizza, and pitchers of Budweiser, Le Havre had platters of local artisan cheese, slices of pears and apples, Duck Foie Gras, skate wing fish with green beans, small baguettes, and a single 13” portable TV.
We found a tiny table near the window, with a view of the train station, and sat down for a pleasurable afternoon of wonderful food (how can their bread be so good?), fantastic wine, and a lively and rowdy crowd going crazy over a game that we knew nothing about.

The French didn’t need a 60” Plasma TV and plates filled with hot wings and potato skins. They had their camaraderie, their bread, cheese, and wine, a fierce love for their team, an equally fierce hatred for Team England, and in the end a strong spirit of “attendre jusqu'à la prochaine fois” (wait until next year).

Romance can be found in the most expected and unexpected places. The beauty and history of Monet’s gardens and the unexpected thrill of watching Rugby World Cup and eating gourmet food with a room full of emotionally charged French people, made us both realize that, in the end, it’s not necessarily the events, but the time that we spend together that creates the romance. And we did make it back to Paris in time for the perfect ending to the perfect day. Love is better the second time around.


Name: Required
E-mail: Required
City: Required
Feedback:
 

Let Roger know what you think about his traveling adventure.

* * * * *

As you may (or may not!) know from reading my stuff on TBoy, I'm a WW2 aficionado, and several years ago on one of my many trips to Normandy, I stopped by Monet's home. I was transfixed from the second I walked into his garden, and felt as if I was part of one of his paintings. Your marvelous story captures the essence and magic of an equally marvleous and captivating house and garden, and it made me feel as if I were back there myslef. The hallmarks of any really great travel journalist is to be able to transport the reader to whatever he or she is reading, and make them feel as if THEY are seeing and doing what you, as the travel journalist, are describing. YOU have that talent in spades, and let me give you a British Hi Five and Super Bravo for a super story on this mesmerizing French destination. I hope it encourages many TBoy readers to go there. Again, congratulations!

-- John, Rancho Palos Verdes, CA

Loved this article! You have such a strong, true voice -- reading you is like having a chat with you -- always a pleasure!

-- Jamie, Edmonds, WA





Ed Boitano's travel blog/review
Journey to the Bottom of the Globe: Exploring the White Continent of Antarctica

nguins on  shore as writer's cruise ship passes by, Antarctica
As a travel journalist I am constantly asked what are some of my favorite travel experiences. The list is endless. But there is one destination that seems to raise the most eyebrows. That destination is a cruise to Antarctica. Sadly, that cruise line I was on is no more, but today there is a plethora of cruise lines that offer similar packages. Here's a look back at my Antarctica cruise.

Go There

Tom Weber's travel blog/review
Treasures of Ireland: The Quiet Man (Dispatch #17)

sunset at Galway Bay

The Palladian Traveler follows in the footsteps of some Hollywood icons as he goes "on location" in Cong to pay his respects to his all-time fave movie.

Go There


© TravelingBoy.com. All Rights Reserved. 2015.
This site is designed and maintained by WYNK Marketing. Send all technical issues to: support@wynkmarketing.com
Friendly Planet Travel

Lovin Life After 50

Big Sur ad

Herzerl Tours ad

Tara Tours ad

Alaska Cruises & Vacations ad

Dude Ranchers' Assoc. ad

Cuna Law Yacht ad

Cruise One ad

Global Exchange Reality Tours ad

Global Exchange Reality Tours ad

Global Exchange Reality Tours ad

Park City ad