Friday morning we somehow managed to drag ourselves out of bed to head to IES to go on our excursion to Giverny. It was difficult but there was no way I was going to miss this!

On the two hour bus ride, everyone from our little group was completely passed out. We’d all gotten around 3 hours of sleep the night before and it was catching us.

Once we got to Giverny though, I was wide awake. You can tell just driving up to the place that it’s something special and magical. There we were split into two groups to go on the tour. The group I was in started at the museum and got a tour of the artwork there. Everything at that museum is from Monet’s years at Giverny. We saw more of his water lilies and his Japonese bridge, as well as several other views of his garden and his house. This exhibit was cool because I didn’t know he had used so many different canvas shapes and sizes. Several of his paintings were on large, square canvases and a couple were even on round ones. We also got to see personal photos of his family and the process of building Giverny.

From the museum it was off to a really nice bistro to meet the other group for lunch. Again, lunch was incredible. We had chicken with yummy potatoes and some sort of orange mousse/souffle that none of us are sure what was in it and an apple tart for dessert.

After lunch the two groups switched places and my group headed to Monet’s actual house and gardens. I can’t even begin to describe the beauty and serenity of the water lily pond. Just walking around it for 45 minutes or so made it so easy to see how the man spent over 40 years there painting and still found inspiration. The water is so clear and so beautiful with all the willow trees and the water lilies being reflected in the surface.

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The gardens up by the house were beautiful as well. I’ve never seen so many poppies growing in one place before. He had them in all different colors and mixed in with lavander and peonies and apple trees and a dozen other flowers I don’t know the name for. The grounds were so extensive I have no idea how the man kept up with everything but I’m so happy they’re being kept in order now. I think it’s so great to be able to see the place where so many of the most influential paintings of a century and an art movement were created. Monet’s house was pretty cool too. Each room had its own color and everything was that color. Walking through the house also made it so obvious just how much Monet loved Japonese art. His personal collection is still on the walls and it covers nearly every free inch.

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With the tour done and a day at Giverny well spent, it was back on the bus to go back to Paris. There we, of course, had the usual argument of what to do for the rest of the evening. We were all pretty tired still so we didn’t want to do anything too intensive. Eventually it was decided that we would go to Ile St. Louis because M. Chalufour had told Jaclyn and me that the best ice cream in the city was there. Meaghan wanted to go to the Louvre with a couple other girls and Harrison had to run home to do a few errands first so Katie, Jaclyn, Andres and I headed there alone first. We got there and stopped at a cafe for coffee before doing much else. Then we just wandered for a bit waiting on Harrison to come back. While we were wandering we looked at a few book stands along the Seine. The river is covered on both sides by little book stands that sometimes have pretty good finds. Katie spotted Alice in Wonderland and I spotted Shakespeare’s A Midsummer Night’s Dream so needless to say my French library is growing. Eventually, Harrison and Jaclyn’s friend Max and Max’s friend Alex found us (after a 45 minute wait) and we set off in search of dinner.

Because we were hungry and tired, we went into the first Indian restaurant we found and enjoyed a pretty good meal. It was nice to just sit and relax again because this week was insane. We were all running around like chickens with our heads cut off this week and it was beginning to get tiring. After dinner Katie went home to go to bed early and the rest of us went to get the ice cream. It’s called Berthillion and M. Chalufour was right, it’s delicious! It was so flavorful and was in a waffle cone. I’ve missed those! After that we all decided it was definitely bed time and called it a night!

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