Vernon & Giverny

Continuing on with the blogging about my European adventures....

The Vernon/Giverny visit was by far my ABSOLUTE favorite part of the entire trip.  On the third day we were in Paris we met at the Saint-Lazare train station with the Fat Bike Tire Company headed towards Vernon!  It was a nine hour bicycle tour that included taking the train to Vernon, shopping at the local market for picnic supplies, having a picnic by the river, bicycling to the town of Giverny and touring Monet's garden and home.  The entire day was peaceful, scenic, laid back and breathtaking.  I will cherish the memories of that little French town for the rest of my life!  I have an insane amount of pictures from that day so I'm going to have to blog the actual garden's separately but here's a "little" taste from our adventure (please note some of these shots are from my cell phone so they aren't all super high quality, LOL.)

We begin our journey at the Saint Lazare train station where two seconds after snapping this shot of Nick and I I was yelled at for taking pictures.  Location number two of my Paris trip where I was yelled at.  Apparently having a professional grade camera pisses some Frenchies off.  Anywho - the day started out lovely, grabbed a Starbucks on the way and walked a few miles to the train station (don't judge me, it's THE only coffee shop in Paris that lets you take your coffee to go).

The train ride was so sweet.  We passed loads of adorable cottage homes perched along hillsides and along the river.  We mostly spent our time getting to know a few of the other bike riders from our group, mainly BILLY ZANE our tour guide.  No it wasn't THE Billy Zane but this guy was just as amazing.  And TOTES random - he was from Denton, Texas.  Yup. Denton.  Moved to Paris for a year post college and upon going on the bicycle tour of Monet's garden decided he wanted to stay a little longer and become a tour guide.  Four years later he was still going strong as one of their best tour guides.  I highly recommend you use him if you are ever in the area.

So after Billy got us all our very own bicycle we rode down the street to the local farmer's market.  It was - AWESOME.  Pretty much no one spoke English and oddly enough for living in France for over 4 years, Billy didn't speak French all that well, so we were all stuttering fools.  We had about 45 minutes to buy whatever we needed to buy - which kind of seemed impossible.  I felt like we were on Supermarket Sweep, racing to each and every booth trying to make sure we didn't miss out on anything good and got the best lunch possible.  We hit up a local bakery for some fresh baguettes and sandwiches, grazed the local "monoprix" for some American Coke (obviously), got about every piece of fruit imaginable (all from different vendors), a couple of bottles of champagne, and CHEESE.  A very random unknown block of cheese.  That I LOVED, Nick hated, it kind of smelled like feet.  But I've heard the stinkier the better so I was spot on with that one.

Oh and my BEST piece of loot - this gorgeous hand made quilt from a teeny tiny French woman at the market.  She literally spoke no English and I only knew how to pay her by holding up euros and having her shake her head "non" until I put enough cash in her hands. I love that quilt.  It looks like something you would buy online from Layla Grace - a beautifully french piece of history that I plan to have forever.  I'll cover up my babies in it when they are sick, use it on cold winter's days and then pass it down to generations to come.  I trucked that quilt all over Paris and Greece.  And in the last 20 minutes of our trip - on the decent down from the sky into Dallas my father's freshly made Baklava exploded and covered the whole thing in honey.  That's pretty standard in how things go for me.

After we had the most fabulous picnic I've ever experienced we hopped back on our bicycles and continued our journey to Giverny to see Monet's garden!  It was an amazing 9 mile ride - along a country road, passing home after home filled with fresh flowers, gardens and children's play lands in their back yards.  What an idyllic home to grow up in, swinging in the yard across the streets from some of the most historic fields and pastures in the world. Ugh I'm so excited just reliving it!  Here are the rest of the images from the journey itself - later this week I'll blog about the images FROM the gardens. STAY TUNED!!!