|Me in front of the Japanese water garden,|
with the famous bridge in the background
As a child of two self-professed garden geeks, who are each the product of other garden geeks, you could say that an appreciation of all things flower-related pretty much runs in my blood. My parents filled my childhood with innumerable trips to state and local botanical gardens, on top of springs and summers spent in our own gardens that they themselves labored over 3 seasons out of the year. Hence, I had kind of mixed emotions about going to see the sites of two of the most famous gardens in the Paris vicinity: excited (because hey, who doesn’t like firsthand experiences with famous things?), but also a little ambivalent because after a certain point, you’re like, seen one garden, seen them all. I know, I know, that sounds terrible. But let me just assure you that the excursion to Giverny and Versailles definitely changed that attitude real quick!
First off, a little explanation. Giverny is where Claude Monet spent the last few decades of his life painting. It’s chiefly known for being the place where he painted his famous water lilies, but it was also where he lived and had several other gardens constructed specifically to his tastes. Our timing there to see these gardens couldn’t have been better. All the springtime flowers were just popping; there was row after row and bed after bed of tulips, daffodils, azaleas, and more tulips all totally at their peak in blooming. It was amazing to see that many perfect tulips in so many different colors just gently moving in the breeze—like an ocean of flowers.
|The front of Monet's house. So pretty!|
|Megan, Kharissa and I under a pretty pink tree|
Specifically, we wanted to see Marie Antoinette’s Petit Trianon, the area of the grounds Louis XIV specifically gave to her and where she had constructed a little English hamlet all for herself. The way some little girls like to play “house,” Marie Antoinette kind of liked to play “village” in this hamlet, complete with farms and villagers. Ah, well, what else would you expect from the woman who coined the phrase, “Let them eat cake?” I’d learned about the Petit Trianon in high school French class, so I really wanted to make a point to see it this time around.
|View across the pond of part of |
Marie Antoinette's English hamlet
|Me laying in a grove of trees at Versailles.|
Again, so pretty!
GSE Spring 2012 - Paris, France
University of Paris Sorbonne