When my wife and I visited Paris for our honeymoon a couple of years ago, my favorite part of the trip wasn’t even in the city. And we almost didn’t make it there, either.
We had a week in the City of Light, and while we knew there was plenty to keep us occupied within its borders, I figured a day trip would be a good respite from busy streets, crowded museums and hurrying Parisians. Now it seems to me that when people talk about day trips from Paris, they mostly talk about Versailles, a mere 40 minutes by train.
I can’t quite remember why we didn’t go. Maybe we were afraid of the crowds. Or I thought I was too cool to go to that place everyone else goes to. It’s possible we just didn’t find the idea of a palace that interesting, and that the gardens there didn’t seem much to different from what we could find in Paris itself. At any rate, we chose Claude Monet, even though Giverny, the little village (population 502 in 2008) that is home to his water lily ponds, was at least an hour away.
Our plan was simple. The train would take us to Vernon. We’d skip the taxis and shuttle bus, and rent a couple of bikes for a scenic 4-mile ride through French countryside on our way to seeing a master artist’s inspiration.
We barely made it out of the city. Continue reading