Thursday, May 22, 2008

French Bliss

The old watermill in Vernon, Normandy

is what I enjoyed earlier this month when I went for a short holiday to Normandy, France. It's a 6 hours drive from where I live so not too bad. My main reason for going was, of course, to experience Monet's garden in May and it did not disappoint as you can gather from my previous post.
The weather was lovely so that made the holiday even more enjoyable. Monet's garden was not the only garden I saw when I was there. Just a few hundred meters from Monet's garden is the American Art Museum that comes with its own lovely garden and, you haven't heard the best bit yet, it's free!
The road from the American Art Museum to Monet's garden flanked with zillions of Irises
The garden of the American Art Museum
Hmmmm, what does this Grand Allee remind me of? Not the foggiest, you?
It is not the biggest of gardens but you can spend a very pleasant half hour there before or after you've visited Monet's garden. And the museum itself is worth a visit too. I went to see the exposition Portrait of a Lady. and very pretty Ladies they all were too.
Before I went to Monet's garden I had a nice cup of coffee and a scrumptious fruit tart at the Terra Cafe of the Museum. After my visit to Monet I returned to the Terra Cafe to have an excellent lunch outside on the terrace underneath a canopy of tree branches, overlooking the garden. Simply Bliss!
Close to Giverny you find the small town of Vernon with some lovely architecture but appallingly bad food. I had the worst dinner ever there although the wine was excellent. Yes, the French do bad food too. Yuck!
Some beautiful old houses dating back to the Middle Ages, Vernon
Ancient Donjon, Vernon
Gothic church with the gargoyles to prove it

All that sightseeing makes a person hungry so off we went to a lovely old watermill, Le Moulin de Fourges, to have dinner.
We'd booked a table at 8 and when we arrived it was still warm enough to have our aperitifs outside in the garden.

Later on, when it got a bit nippy, we went inside to have our dinner.
One of the charms of dining in an old building is its lovely atmosphere; it was simply riddled with old beams, quaint little windows and whathaveyou.
There also was a lovely view of the surrounding countryside. But enough of quaint sloping floors, adorable little mullioned windows and forehead bumping low beams, let us progress to the more important stuff : the food!
Main course
Just deserts ;-)
Feast your eyes on this, gentle reader. What a pity that it can only be a feast for your eyes.With it I drank a half bottle of an amusing red wine, tres amusant in fact, not to mention tasty.

I was in Normandy for only a few days but I made the most of it. Even the drive to and from Normandy was very pleasant as we drove through gently rolling hills and these gorgeous fields of golden Bliss under a deep blue sky. You could smell the flowers long before you could see them, a kind of warm wild honey, very enjoyable.
copyright 2008 Y.E.W. Heuzen

The gardener does not love to talk (...)
And never seems to want to play, (...)
O how much wiser would you be
To play at Indian wars with me!
Robert Louis Stevenson, A Child's Garden of Verses


Karin A said...

Thank you for sharing some more pics from your trip! The garden of the American Art Museum looks really nice and so do Vernon, despite the food! :) But the food you show in the post looks yummy...I'm getting hungry...sitting here waiting for dinner! Have a nice weekend!

Kram Karin

Annie in Austin said...

Oh, my, Yolanda Elizabet! I just read both of your travel posts one after the other and am bowled over by your photos and wonderful narrative. Thanks for taking the armchair travelers along with you.

Driving six hours from Austin will just about get me out of Texas and into Oklahoma or going west I might reach the edge of New Mexico ...quite different from Europe, it seems.

Annie at the Transplantable Rose

Gail said...

How wonderful to have such a great visit, eat good food, see flowers and have it be within a decent driving distance of one's home...I often wonder what it would be like to live in Europe and what country I would choose. Don't know, but I thank you for this delightful look at Normandy.


lisa said...

Wow, thanks for sharing those pictures! The gardens and food look amazing, and the gothic church seems intersting and scary all at once.

Pam/Digging said...

What fun, and that last dinner looks scrumptious too (too bad about the other). Thanks for showing us the rest of your vacation doings.

Lisa at Greenbow said...

I just love seeing those old buildings. They have such character.

Your dinner was almost too pretty to eat.

What fun going on your trip with you. Thanks for taking us along.

gintoino said...

Such beautiful pictures,such beautiful places. Thank you for sharing yolanda.
That meal almost looked too prety to eat ;-)

Libbys Blog said...

Magnificent, journey, holiday, views and food. I thoroughly enjoyed it although sadly couldn't taste the food! lol! Lucky you.

Nicole said...

Beautiful photos and tour-I loved all my visits to Western Europe! Gardens, architecture, scenic countryside, art, great food and drink-hits all the right spots. How wonderful that the weather was perfect,too.

Ruth Welter said...

Another wonderful tour Yolanda. How I wish I could drive 6 hours and end up in France. If I could do that, you had better believe I would be there in a heartbeat. : ) Lovely, lovely countryside and gardens...I so enjoyed my visit. I also loved your last post on Monet's garden. That will go down as one of my favorites of all your posts.

marl1 said...

Ik heb even heerlijk meegenoten van je tripje.....schitterende foto's van alles :-)
Ontzettend mooi gedecoreerde borden (koolblaadje rechtop ;-))ziet er super uit!

Strawberry Lane said...

What a wonderful visual treat you have given ... pure bliss!

Cheryl said...

What can I say Yolanda. Can I come next time pleeeeease?

Marian said...

Het is toch ècht de mooiste tijd van het jaar om tuinen te bezoeken, mei-juni, dat blijkt hier ook weer!
De tuin bij het museum mag dan niet groot zijn, hij is wel mooi.

Ze hebben lekker gefröbeld in de keuken, is het voorafje paté of een snee roggebrood met rauwe spinazie? ;-)

Morgen weer even de tuin in, zondag een paar buitjes, wat willen we nog meer?
prettig weekend Yolanda
en namens 4 katjes bedankt voor de knuffel prrrprrrrprrrr!

Terra Hangen said...

Now you have given me the incentive to visit France again. The gardens of Monet, the paintings of ladies, it is a wonderful destination.
Our cats would miss us, though :)

Frances, said...

Yolanda, you give the most wonderful travelogues ever. Thanks so much for showing us the food and its delightful presentation. Especially the dessert!

Mr. McGregor's Daughter said...

Wow, that is my dream too, to see Giverny when the Wisteria is in bloom. (Too bad about the garish new planting.) Normandy looks charming. I've never been further north in France than Paris. And that dessert - to die for!

Liane Schmidt said...

This is by far one of THE best blogs I have come across in awhile - - the pictures are superb - - it felt like I went on the trip too. I am adding a link to your site to my "Recreational/Interests" section.

Best wishes & blessings.


-Liane Schmidt.

em said...

i agree with ruth, i wish i could drive 6 hours and be in france... though a little longer and i could be in montreal! not quite the same...

Tracy said...

So romantic...Even the food looks romantic--LOL! So enjoying your French posts, Yolanda. Happy Days ((HUGS))

Brimstone said...

Dat was echt een super trip! Je maakt me wel lekker :-)

Sandpiper said...

These pictures are so lovely. It makes me want to catch a plane and go there.

Anonymous said...

Oh Yolanda, I so wished I had the time to take the day trip out to Giverny when I was in France. But thank you for these glorious photos.

Robin's Nesting Place said...

I had quite a bit of catching up to do here. I thoroughly enjoyed reading the last few posts and seeing the beautiful gardens.

Ewa said...

Yolanda, thank you for sharing the beauty of the places you have seen.
Picture of the watermill (first picture) is amazing - would you dare to build a house like this? over the water? I would be scared it will fall apart very soon :)
But maybe I am not properly educated about construction...

walk2write said...

You are blessed with beautiful gardens/food/history/scenery nearby and a special insight for sharing it with the rest of the world. Thank you!

Weed Whackin' Wenches said...

It's been quite a while since I was in France. What fun to revisit those gardens. I remember loving the gardens but wishing all the tourists would just go visit Italy or Spain! The presentation of your meal was so beautiful. It is definitely a well kept secret that the French can do really bad food. When i lived in France in the early 90s they were doing vegetarian food really badly.

marga said...

Ik heb genoten van de mooie foto's van je reis naar Frankrijk. Mooie tuin weer en zo te zien hebben jullie ook heerlijk gegeten.

M Sinclair Stevens (Texas) said...

How you're spreading the traveling bug. I look at your photos and I want to be in France. Right now. The gardens. The flowers. The food. The architecture. The wonderful fields of yellow (is it rapeseed?) under a blue sky.

I'm intoxicated with a desire to go.

Matron said...

Do you mean that the picture of the Grand Allee reminds you of the bit in the Sound of Music when Maria and the children are running along making windmills with their arms?

lenie said...

wat heb ik genoten zeg van de Monet tuinen ..ben groot liefhebber van zijn werk !!
prachtige logs ..heb dus nu heerlijk bij kunnen lezen ;))
groetjes Lenie

Curtis said...

What awesome Shots. Very lovely view and gardens. I am slso going on Vacation in a month. Down to a Mexico resort to take a breather.

chigiy at Gardeners Anonymous said...

GA...GA. Gorgeous. I love the colors in the gardens and the lovely buildings. Gothic architecture is one of my favorite things. The watermill house was incredible.
Next time I would love to see a picture of you and your friends enjoying your tasty meals.
Thanks for the tour.

Naturegirl said...

Yolanda this was a wonderful tour with you! That last photo is like a painting! Thank you!My girls are posing for you.

Linda Lunda said...

I just love the house in the first photograf!!!! WOW!!!
But I wold not like to live there in a stormy day!

The Garden Faerie said...

Wow, am I ever envious of this great trip! What are the yellow and orange drinks, by the way? (Yes, out of all the glorious and grand photos, I ask about drinks!).
~ Monica

Hanneles paradis said...

Monet's Grand Alle, i have seen nasturtiums, best in September, lovely garden.