Friday, 26 September 2014

September 26th 2014: France: Giverny

Monty the Motorhome is being bathed by fine mist, while parked up on a seafront Aire, in the town of Le Touquet-Paris-Plage, which is just south of Boulogne. It is our first bit of poor weather since arriving in France - perhaps because we’re getting close to England again!

The day started with a drive from our overnight campsite to Giverny, the house where Claude Monet lived from 1883 until his death in 1926. The garden that he laid out, complete with the famous lily-ponds, was awash with colour, despite the lateness of the season. It was also awash with visitors - we arrived shortly after opening time of 9.30 and already 12 coaches were there. We also noted that a number of motorhomes were parked up in the ‘camping car’ designated area. They looked like they had overnighted and this was confirmed by the parking attendant. We were quite miffed, having spent €18 for our site last night that we were not too impressed with. The Giverny parking area is free, grassy and flat, as well as being in full sun. Unfortunately they do not promote this on their website, but maybe we could have found out by a bit more diligent research.

Colourful Nasturtiums line the ground below an arch which probably held summer flowering roses

The famous lily-pond

Monet's house, which overlooks the garden

The house does not contain any original paintings, but every wall seems to be crowded by works of art, including many Monet reproductions. Rooms have been restored to resemble the period that Monet lived and you get a real sense of history as you follow the crowds round from room to room.

Back at the van we had a short sun bathe before setting off for the coast. Another long drive - over three hours - before arriving at Le Touquet. Our Sat Nav successfully found the Aire, but unfortunately it put us at the exit, which was marked with a big ‘No Entry’ sign. A little bit of driving round the adjacent roads got us in and we got parked up facing the sea. From this vantage point we observed a fair number of other motorhomes also coming in along the same road as we had, however they all seemed to totally ignore the ‘No Entry’ sign and merrily drove in. Perhaps I just have a heightened fear of contravening traffic signs!

We had a stroll along the front before tea, but with the mist starting to roll in we are probably going to stay put tonight and venture into the town tomorrow. 

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