For Christmas, MIL gave me a picture frame with the spot on quote from Audrey Hepbrun, “Paris is always a good idea.” So when she and FIL were planning their 2015 Eurotrip, I strongly suggested to the hubs that we meet them in Paris, because YOLO. He got on board after finding über cheap Eurostar tickets, and I got to plotting a weekend in one of my favorite European playgrounds.
A visit to Monet’s gardens in Giverny had been on my mind since reading Paris in Love. Scheduled in with a couple of bistro dinners, walks along the Seine, and soaking in Paris’ lovliness, the weekend was set to be a sightly one.
The spring sky welcomed us late Friday evening as we met MIL and FIL for dinner at Bistrot du 1er, a classic place with super friendly waiters and perfectly satisfying French food.
Later at Frenchie, a trendy spot in the 2nd, I indulged in a little liquid courage to psych me up for a game of ding dong ditch. Just kidding, kind of.
With a full day trip to Giverny ahead, the hubs and I took in a hot second of our hotel’s live jazz before tucking ourselves in.Getting to Giverny on our own sounded a wee bit complicated, so MIL and I opted to book the Fat Tire Bike Tour of Monet’s Gardens. Included were train tickets from Paris to Vernon, a guide-led bike tour/ride to Giverny, and entrance to the gardens (which let us skip the long queue, being part of a group). The schedule also allowed for time to pack a picnic full of Vernon’s amazing offerings, a break from biking to enjoy lunch on the riverside, and time to wander around Giverny’s pretty streets. I really couldn’t have planned the day better myself- it was so relaxing and enjoyable.
The weather was not really cooperating Saturday morning, but only a monsoon could keep us away from the dozens of delights at the local market waiting to be packed up for our picnic. Cheese, meats, cherries, baguettes, olives and wine in tow, we picked up our bikes and followed our guide to Giverny.
Along the way, we stopped off for lunch and listened to our guide’s tidbit on Monet and his gardens. It was hard to contain myself and keep quiet as I ate the most delicious cheese EVER. We all kept bulging our eyes at each other and considering how to figure out what, in fact, we were eating.
Unable to resist a couple of selfies, we got cheesy before continuing on our way. The wine helped too. The scenery was unsurprisingly enchanting along the path from Vernon to Giverny. While it wasn’t too complex, navigating with a GPS would have been totally impossible for me. All concentration was needed to avoid running into cars and pose for photos. In Giverny, we marveled at the quaintness of it all and giddily made our way to the gardens. Well, MIL and I were giddy; the guys were more interested in scoping out an afternoon beer spot.I’d of course read and expected the gardens to be beautiful, but was completely blown away by the abundance of flourishing, vibrant flowers. If you have allergies, stop reading here, so many flower photos ahead! Once we’d had our fill of flowers, we walked through Monet’s home. High end replications of his works hung everywhere, but the kitchen was the real masterpiece. Sunny skies enhanced the gorgeous grounds. I could have meandered around for hours and loved the day trip, but we were scheduled to make the 5:50 pm train back to Paris.Walking back to our bikes, a bride and groom leisurely strolled through the town. It was impossibly fitting and the hubs snapped this great photo. Back in Paris, we quickly prettied ourselves up and headed out. Determined to soak up as much of the city as possible in our quick trip, we took the scenic route to dinner at Le Balto.
This bistro was so much fun. The owner couldn’t have been sweeter and insisted that we sample the wine before choosing even a [cheap] glass. She was vivacious and patient with our English, which made for a lively atmosphere. And the food was wonderful too, especially our dessert sampler!
On our stroll back to the hotel, we took advantage of a few more photo opps. Sunday morning was filled with more sunny skies. Eager to make the most of our day, the hubs and I sipped cappuccinos just outside our hotel while waiting for MIL and FIL. One more pass around the Louvre and we were off in search of croissants and more coffee. Ironically, we ended up at the same cafe where we’d had breakfast with my parents last year. It’s a convenient spot if you’re walking from the Louvre to the Eiffel Tower, and the warm croissants don’t disappoint!
Carbo loaded and content, we sluggishly made our way towards the Eiffel Tower, marveling at the beauty of ordinary Parisian things like doors, flower boxes and lattice work. Everything is exquisite in Paris.
Two quick hours later, the hubs ignored my suggestion to miss our train and lugged me back to London.