This is a sample entry from my current app "Paris Travel: the City & Great Day Trips." The complete app for the iPad, iPhone, and iPod Touch may be downloaded at Apple's iTunes App Store for $2.99. It is also available for Android devices at Google's Play App Store under the title "Paris Day Trips Travel Guide."
This app takes you to many unusual places within daytrip range of Paris, and within the city itself — along with the popular favorites. Names in BOLD FACE CAPITAL LETTERS are actually links to separate entries describing the attractions in detail. These links do not function on this blog. Also, the actual app contains many more photos and maps than are shown here, along with separate entries for the various attractions and eating places.
The Monet Gardens and More
Born in 1840, the celebrated French painter Claude Monet was one of the founding fathers of Impressionism and a vital force in the modern art movement it led to.
After a long period of ridicule and poverty, his talent finally received broad public recognition. Now fairly prosperous, Monet in 1883 created for himself and his family a lovely home surrounded by lush gardens near the Seine, in the tiny hamlet of Giverny. It was in this serene environment that his greatest works were achieved.
Following Monet's death in 1926, the property deteriorated badly until 1966, when it was willed to the Institut de France by his son Michel. Generous donations, primarily from the United States, have made possible a stunning restoration of this extraordinary place.
Ever since its public opening in 1980 as the Claude Monet Foundation, the gardens — along with his remarkably charming house and cavernous studio — have become an extremely popular destination, indeed a pilgrimage, for art lovers and tourists alike.
Organized bus tours to Giverny are offered by several firms in Paris, which are certainly a convenient way to reach this secluded spot. They have the disadvantage, however, of limiting the amount of time you can spend savoring its enchanting atmosphere. They also overlook nearby Vernon, an ancient town of considerable charm, worthy of a trip in itself.
Trains depart St.-Lazare Station in Paris several times daily for Vernon, less than an hour away. From here take a taxi (or Navette bus) the three-mile distance to Giverny. It's also possible to walk or rent a bicycle. Return trains run until early evening.
By Car, take the A-13 Autoroute to Bonnières-Vernon exit, then the N-15 into Vernon, cross the seine and follow signs to the Monet Museum. It is about 73 km (46 miles) northwest of Paris.
The Monet gardens and house are open daily from April through October. Avoid coming on a rainy day. The Tourist Office in Vernon is at 36 Rue Carnot, near the church.
Some good places for lunch in the area are:
LES NYMPHÉAS GIVERNY
ANCIEN HÔTEL BAUDY
Touch photo in upper left. It will then fill the screen and morph into a DIAGRAM MAP. Touch that to remain on screen, THEN slide a finger from right to left to see the Vernon Town Map and more photos. Touch in upper left to return to text. Numbers on the maps correspond to numbers in the text.
From the Vernon Train Station (1) you can take a taxi or bus some three miles to the FONDATION CLAUDE MONET (2) & (3).
Walking is also possible by following the map, or rent a bicycle in Vernon.
While in Giverny you might want to visit the stunning MUSEUM OF IMPRESSIONISM (4).
Returning to Vernon, you will have a beautiful view from the bridge of the town, the Seine, and the woods beyond. Visit the COLLEGIATE CHURCH OF NOTRE-DAME (5).
In the immediate vicinity stand a number of medieval half-timbered houses, lending atmosphere to this ancient settlement founded by Rollo, the first Duke of Normandy, in the 9th century.
Stroll down Rue Carnot and Rue Potard. The Archives Tower (6) is all that remains of a massive castle built in 1123 by King Henry I of England. Closeby, in another venerable building, is the POULAIN MUNICIPAL MUSEUM (7).
Another worthwhile sight stands a mile southwest of Vernon. Sometimes called "Le Petit Versailles," the CHÂTEAU BIZY (8) is a baroque masterpiece surrounded by forest.
To see the rest of this tour (including more photos and another map), along with the other 18 one-day adventures, take a $2.99 download of the entire "Paris Travel: the City and Great Day Trips" on your iPad, iPhone, or iPod Touch at Apple's iTunes App Store. It is also available for Android devices for $2.99 as "Paris Day Trips Travel Guide" at Google's Play App Store.
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