Sunday, May 18, 2014


When I was in Paris last weekend we took a day trip to somewhere I've long wanted to see: Giverny. My grandmother (yes the teapot one) had a beautiful, large framed print of Monet's Japanese Bridge, that I remember not quite understanding wasn't the original painting until I was old enough to realise that this was unlikely. So to see the actual bridge that I grew up looking at in the painting print was a dream.

I seriously didn't know quite what a major tourist destination the home and gardens that belonged to Monet and inspired his paintings were. We thought that by arriving late in the day we'd beat the crowds, but wow, we were wrong. Apparently Giverny ranks up there with Versailles as a day trip for Paris visitors (and it's a fraction of the size) - I had no idea...

The planting of the gardens was beautiful - peonies, tulips, irises and roses out in full force. It was a bit hard to move around - you just had to follow the herd and shuffle forward when you could. When we got to the waterlily pond it was difficult to imagine Monet painting the scene in the serene, calm environment that inspired him for so long - and difficult to take a photo that didn't include two hundred other people also madly taking photos from every angle in the frame. At one point a lady took a photo up my nose. Such was the frenzy. I mention this not to complain, but to give the full experience. I don't think there's a time of day you can go that would not be so busy though. Maybe during winter, but then you'd miss the flowers in bloom and the wisteria which absolutely covers the Japanese Bridge. I somehow managed to take a photo of it that doesn't betray quite how many people were standing on it also taking pictures. I started to wish that brightly coloured gore-tex anoraks and DSLRs were banned and that everyone had been issued with faded linen artists' smocks and panama hats on entry and made to take photos only with vintage or very small cameras; they'd blend in a bit more... In this setting, hell was definitely other people. But if you can't beat them, style them.

Anyway! It was lovely really! I was very inspired by the planting in the gardens near the house. Long beds full of colour and so many different flowers.

Monet's breakfast room

Monday, May 05, 2014


Herewith - a selection of my photos of Paris, which I have arranged in a procrastinatory fashion into a little gallery on my website - here. It will rotate as and when I add to or subtract to it with new photos. Luckily I'll be seeing all the above things in person this week.