Firstly: happy Monday! (grumble, mumble, blah)
Secondly: I've started a Facebook page for You had me at bonjour. If you like that sort of thing, you'll find the button doohickey over to the right there. Those buttons are new too - if you want to grab yourself some you can find a whole bunch of them here.
Thirdly: the mister completed the Etape du Tour (amateur leg of the Tour de France) yesterday. The course (in the French Alps) was 140km with three mountains - it rained and of the 10,000 participants only some 4400 finished. Proud of you Schmoopy!
Right, back to the travel: this time it's the stunning home and gardens of the painter Claude Monet which can be found in the town of Giverny, about an hour's drive west of Paris.
Monet lived here for the last 43 years of his life (he died in 1926).
Monet and the family rented the property (on 2 acres) in 1883 and in 1890 the painter's growing success meant he could buy the house and land.
He built up the gardens and installed the large lilly pad-encrusted pond that features in many of his works.
The house has been refurbished and you can tour through it (no photos allowed of the inside). All the paintwork is exactly as it was when Monet lived in the house - he loved him some colour.
View from the second floor of the house
The gardens are just amazing and beautifully maintained. I would love to visit every three months to see the seasonal changes.
Most of the paths are roped off but the kids still had a great time running around the gardens and referring to the map given to them at the ticket office.
The famous pond is surrounded with flowers and weeping willows. The lily pads weren't that spectacular (early spring) but I've heard in summer they almost completely cover the water's surface with leaves and blooms.
I think there was something important about these chickens (rare breed or whatnot) but I can't remember and I couldn't be bothered googling chickens for half an hour. I hope you understand.
There are a few cafés/restaurants near chez Monet - places with outdoor seating suitable for young families. We had the best soup ever (lentil and bacon, of all things) followed by a crêpe made in this cute little caravan.
The café was also a garden centre and had some of these:
I don't have much more to add other than I recommend you visit Monet's House and Gardens (if you're clever you will order your tickets online before you go) - it's a great one for those with kids, too.
Wishing you all a wonderful week!