Wednesday, 1 June 2016

Quatre Jours de Vacances en Normandie

OK so Mr P and I decided it would be a bonne idee to take a short trip, camping, in France - when the workers go on strike and ban the petrol tankers from entering the filling stations. Well that's what we were told on the news but after much discussion and planning we still went ahead with our trip. But wonderfully the news was exaggerated and virtually every petrol station we passed was selling fuel and had no more than the normal queues. We knew we were heading for Giverny but not too sure where we would stay. As per our usual style we arrived in the rough area of Vernon and saw a camp site sign and headed for it. We were in luck, it was a lovely wee site, small but adequate washing facilities and wonderfully quiet.

By mid Friday afternoon we had pitched our tent and were ready to spend the rest of the day exploring Vernon.

Just look at these cruise boats going along the Seine. Not for me but I think they must be great especially for those who don't drive or have difficulty getting about.

As you can see the weather is fabulous, in fact a little too hot.

This is the Old Flour Mill. 
Then as we crossed the bridge we saw this working boat, I was amazed at the speed it was travelling carrying all this sand and shingle.

 Then after much walking we bizarrely seemed unable to find anywhere to eat so we ended up driving to Pacy.

 Sadly my stomach didn't feel too good, whether I was over tired or what I do not know. So I opted for a fishy salad. It was really yummy and a good decision. Mr P had his favourite steak and chips. Annoyingly this also meant I didn't feel like too much wine! Horrors I know!

Did I tell you I have the best hubby in the world - well I have. He actually bought tickets for Monet's Garden in Giverny. We studied the weekend weather and realised that Saturday morning was the best time as the rest of the days were showery.  Oh it was a most delightful place - couldn't believe I was actually there. And oh his paintings made so much sense. So if ever you are near to Paris then this is a must.

I took nearly 700 photographs and it is really hard to just pick a few to show you.

We went knowing that the lilies would not be out yet but the ponds were still amazing. I felt sooo privileged being able to see them.

After the gardens you can then see inside Monet's home. Now those who know me really well know I have a thing about "gingham". So you see even Monet had gingham!

We then spent some time in the local art gallery. Have to say this was rather over priced, with only a few paintings.

Now I got rather confused with this painting. See the boat is heading to the right of the frame - but if you walk to the other side of the picture it looks as if the boat is heading towards the left of the frame!

Monet's grave.

Sunday we headed into Paris, and headed to our favourite art gallery Musee D'Orsay. Fantastic collection of impressionist paintings.

The bridge to the museum was full of padlocks, people declaring their undying love!

This couple had just placed their lock, had a long kiss and now taking a souvenir picture.

After a long queue and Mr P questioning himself as to why he didn't buy a ticket online we finally entered the museum.

Not only are the pictures amazing but so is the building - which was once a railway station.

Time for a coffee in this fantastic setting - but oh boy did we have to pay for it!

I drink expressos which always confuses the waiters as they seem to think it's the man who drinks  this and the woman has the long coffee. I hate milk! So this is perfect for me.

We then headed along the Seine to Notre Dame, but the forecasted rain came. Inside was beautiful and whilst we were walking around a service was taking place and so we were able to enjoy the magnificence of the organ playing. Afterwards was a trip back onto the Metro to Champs Elysees to take a quick photograph.

Should say we had some problems with our Metro ticket that twice involved us both crawling under the barriers! Promise we did pay for a ticket.

We then raced back to Pacy to enjoy a late evening meal.Mr P is having what looks like a giant cornish pastie but is infact a rolled up pizza. I had salmon gratin which was rather delicious.

We were rather lucky and every evening was warm and dry - so we were able to sit outside our tent and enjoy a glass of wine under the stars. It never got really dark.

Monday and it was time to start heading towards Calais. So we stopped at Rouen. The houses were amazing.

Visited another art gallery Musee des Beaux Arts. Then sadly time for our last meal.

And my last authentic true French coffee :(

Followed by a quick trip around Rouen Cathedral - one which Monet painted many times.

Time to make our final stage of the journey to the port. Followed by a long delay whilst P & O decide they are going to cram two boats onto one! So rather a full noisy ship. But we did finally make it for home at 00:30! Needless to say I felt rather grotty on Tuesday, but it was soooooo worth it. Thanks to my wonderful hubby for organising such a special short retreat.

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