Archive for February 15th, 2011

February 15, 2011

Giverny, Monet, and Roche Guyon

It is tucked in a bend just between the Normandy and the Ile de France regions, small, but very popular ,we all love to see Claude Monet. Giverny is for the artistic senses n you, the art lover. The one before is Roche Guyon, a massive stone fortress used as HQ in WWII, and now has tunnels to see history and beautiful gardens too. This is my neighborhood away from city crowds in Paris. You can easily come from Paris on the A15 autoroute that becomes the N14, and follow signs for Giverny.Or take the train from gare St Lazare to Vernon, then take bus no 240 from the train station. You can take a taxi or walk/bike  about 7 kms. The bikes can be rented from the Cafe in the train station at Vernon. The regional trains is here

I would like to tell you a bit ,first, about Giverny.  The things to see,and eat,and even stay in between your trip from the landing beaches and Paris.  You have the house and gardens of Claude Monet, see the reading room or salon bleu that connects with the epicerie or grocery ,where he kept all the kitchen needs, then you go to his shop or atelier,where he worked until 1899. You go up one floor to his bedroom , with many paintings of his, and then the toilette or bathroom and the small bedroom and bath of his wife  Alice , and the dining room below, all in remarkable state of preservation.  You can see the Clos Normand, a beautiful vegetable garden and apple trees. At the end of the clos Normand he creates a water garden or jardin d’eau with a fountain,and a japanese bridge. It is here that he does the Nympheas painting now showing in the Orangerie at Paris.  Here in the shop of Nympheas you will find a boutique/shop with all the trimmings ::)  You can buy your tickets in advance at any FNAC store in Paris, the official webpage for Monet is

You can visit the museum of Impressionists, with painting from the period;it replaces the museum of American Arts from 2009.  It is a wonderful place to see the Impressionists art movement and its effect on others over the years. As well recommended. Admission is 6,50€ adults and the official webpage is

Both above are wonderful to see, and the area is very quaint. you can, also, see with more time the Castles of Madeleine , Chateau Guillard ( rue Richard Coeur de Lion or Richard the Lion Hearted which he ordered built, Chateau de Bizy as well as my favorite La Roche Guyon.  This site by a non profit org tells you more about the whole area,

As I live close by no need for hotels, but do have seen quite nice the property at Hôtel Les Bords de Seine at La Roche Guyon, webpage  As far as eating, my favorites are other than the aforementioned hotel, the La  Halle aux Grains, in Vernon,webpage ,  and the Auberge des Pêcheurs resto in Port Mort between Giverny and Vernon, no web but the city hall webpage tells you in French, . All French local cuisine at its best. For a quick meal in the Impressionist museum there is Terra Cafe, quite good for a museum resto. Another, pizza place and simple meals on site, try La Grenouillere, 13 rue Falaise, tel +33 02 32 51 23 59 no web but just by the entrance from Paris to Giverny near house of Monet. Another and historical but a bit touristic is the resto of the hotel Baudy,81 rue Claude Monet just by the house of the painter. webpage

We always stop by La Roche Guyon, make it a one two punch hard to resist while driving this beautiful area great for weekends. Here you have the Chateau de la Roche Guyon, here the river Seine form an unique turn by the river with a high elevation ideal for a lookout from those invading Normans,,, In the 3C AD, the troglodyctives caves, and the local lord Guy eventually gave the name to Roche Guyon. History tell us that from the year 911 AD, the treaty of Saint Clair sur Epte giving Normandy to the Vikings, the Roche Guyon keeps the limits of the frontier with the French kingdom over the Seine river.  The French revolution has a tragic and bloody event here, as the owner of the castle was Louis Alexandre de La Rochefoucauld (1742-1792); he was very close to the ideals of the American Revolution and translate to French all the articles of the constitution of the States of Delaware, Maryland, Virginia, and South Carolina with first editions in 1778.  He along Lafayette, joins the estates generals and guide in principles the avenants of the French Revolution, elected President of the department of Paris in 1791. Aftet the revolutionaries turn against him for fear of his democratic ideals, he take refuge with his wife and mother at  Forges-les-Eaux where he hides there bu in september 4, 1792 while doing a carriage transfer at Gisors he is arrested and massacre by stoning while his mother and wife looks on in disbelief. More than 1000 are taken prisioners there and kill, the mother the Duchess of Enville is spare with the daughter in law by the intervention of the local people who appreciated their support always. She died in Paris in 1797 and the grandson continues with the property of Roche Guyon which eventually passes to his heir, the Cardinal Rohan. Some renovation is done to preserve the castle from lack of care in years later. Then WWII starts, from 1940 the village is occupied by the nazis, and on 1943 a civil defense field  created.  In February 1944, marshal Rommel established his command HQ in the Château de La Roche-Guyon.  The town is liberated the 8 august 1944 after 8 bombs hits the Chateau ,taking about 20 yrs to make it back to how it was before the war. The castle and gardens are now visited from February 5, every day from 10h to 17h. From March 28 from  10h to 18h during the week and 10h to 19h the weekends, from October 31 every day from 10 to 17h.  The visit is done following the terrases, then along and inside the salons or rooms, then the circuit of donjons /towers, and chapels, then the casements. Dont forget to visit the gardens just in front of castle towards the river Seine. The best way is by car, direction from Paris on the autoroute A13 of normandy, direction Rouen, at Mantes exit 14 take it followed direction Limay than Vétheuil./La Roche Guyon. The official webpage is

You do well in staying in the above Les Bords de la Seine property, its a great place if never stayed I have eaten inside. La Cancalaise créperie is good ,nice, and inexpensive place to eat too on the main road walk to it from the castle at 18 rue du General Leclerc.Tel +33  01 34 79 74 48. no web.  The official site of the mayor of the city has a wonderful webpage too for La Roche Guyon,

Hope it makes for a great idea on your next trip down over west to the real French countryside. Cheers.


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