Tuesday, September 23, 2008

les endroits que je préfère

Welcome to Giverny, the home of Claude Monet. I'm pretty positive that this is a place where part of my heart will be for the rest of my life. This is where we went Saturday morning of the Paris weekend, about an hour away. Beautiful, cold morning and we couldn't have picked a better time of year to come. There are virtually no tourists because it's mid September, just some locals and elderly people on a giant tour. All the right kind of people to have in a garden.

Right after the entrance this is what you see - the arches that have vines starting to grow on them. I want to come back some day in the spring and see them full of roses and morning glories. I took literally hundreds of photographs of flowers, bees, of scenes, of the hills behind, at Giverny. There were also hundreds of moments spent with my eyes closed, inhaling the impressionism, which I had never realized had a smell. It does, and a distinct one at that.

The entire time I was there it made me think of people that I'm very close to, especially my mother and my sister. My mother, for those of you who do not know her, is an incredible gardener and has turned our home into a piece of paradise with our garden. And my sister is an artist. I would have given anything to have had them there with me...they probably would have loved it even more than I did.

When I was walking to the waterlily pond I realized that as much as Monet had a talent for impressionism, I cannot see how anyone could have lived in Giverny and not been an impressionist. There is a tiny bridge going over one of the small streams off of the large one that circles the pond with long grasses growing in the water. The blades were at least a foot long and the way they undulated in the current underneath waves of weeping willow branches blowing in the wind...Impressionistes were the first artists to see through creating pictures, the exact images of what they saw, and instead painted what it really was. They painted feelings, movement, they painted life.

Enough poetry :)

These two are some of my favorites. Throughout this entire weekend I attempted to take pictures of the things and palces that millions of people have taking photos of differently. With different angles, different focuses, and in these, I think I truly reached this goal. The waterlilies. You can see them, they're there and they're beautiful, but the focus on Monet's home. I wish I could show this to him and ask him if this captures his home. I hope he would say yes.

Okay...more photos of waterlilies and willow trees...

I could go on about Giverny for hours and show you every single one of my photos. When I come home, I probably will. But for your sake, and my sleeping needs, I'll move on to Chatres.

Sunday morning after visiting the museum which features Monet's paintings of his waterlily garden, we headed out from Paris. Chartres is located roughly half way between the two which was convenient and lovely. Chartres is an adorable little town, very provincal French looking. Sadly the front of the catheral is being restored, so I didn't get any spectacular phots of the front, so I resort to google images :)

There is no way to describe how impressive the cathedral is when you stand in the back looking at the immensely huge interior. It's huge...as someone who lives right outside of New York City and looks at skyscrapers frequently, it's HUGE and impressive. As pointed out by one of the girls - it's impressive to us today, imagine what it was like for people in the 13th century who lived in hovels. The stained glass is incredible, the organ is huge (Chartres homes a huge organ competition twice a year), the choir curtain is 20 scenes carved in stone that took 200 years to finish, so much incredible everything. I wish I could remember all the history told on the auditory tour.

Everything was nearly unbelievable. I wish I could do it justice with words and photos, but it's impossible. Truly impossible. So I'll finish with a fun story!
As I turned the corner outside during the tour (we each had individual headsets) I saw a bride and groom coming up the side of the cathedral. They then took pictures underneath some of the most beautiful overhead arch way carvings and the columns were beautifully carved too.
Happy day, happy ending. And they all lived happily ever after.

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