Wednesday, December 31, 2014


So our wonderful trip through the locks of Belgium and France came to an end and 2014 has come to an end. Very poignant is a quote from William Penn - "I expect to pass through this world but once. Any good therefore that I can do, or any kindness or abilities that I can show to any fellow creature, let me do it now. Let me not defer it or neglect it, for I shall not pass this way again."
We wish you all a Happy and Healthy 2015.
Bring it on!

Tuesday, December 30, 2014


No visit to Paris is complete without seeing the Eiffel Tower. Taken from our ship as we sailed up the Seine.

Monday, December 29, 2014


Then it was off to Paris (the city of endless traffic). Here is a view of the Arc de Triomphe, the most monumental of all triumphal arches which was built between 1806 and 1836. Even though there were many modifications from the original plans, reflecting political changes and power struggles, the Arch still retains the essence of the original concept which was a powerful, unified ensemble. And oh, so much traffic!

Friday, December 26, 2014

Thursday, December 25, 2014

Wednesday, December 24, 2014

Tuesday, December 23, 2014

Monday, December 22, 2014

Friday, December 19, 2014

Thursday, December 18, 2014

Wednesday, December 17, 2014

Tuesday, December 16, 2014

Monday, December 15, 2014

Friday, December 12, 2014

Thursday, December 11, 2014

Wednesday, December 10, 2014

Tuesday, December 9, 2014

Monday, December 8, 2014

Thursday, December 4, 2014

Wednesday, December 3, 2014

Tuesday, December 2, 2014

Monday, December 1, 2014


Monet's Garden.

The water garden - In 1893, ten years after his arrival at Giverny, Monet bought the piece of land neighbouring his property on the other side of the railway. It was crossed by a small brook, the Ru, which is a diversion of the Epte, a tributary of the Seine River. With the support of the prefecture, Monet had the first small pond dug; even though his peasant neighbours were opposed. They were afraid that his strange plants would poison the water.

Later on the pond would be enlarged to its present day size. The water garden is full of asymmetries and curves. It is inspired by the Japanese gardens that Monet knew from the prints he collected avidly.

In this water garden you will find the famous Japanese bridge covered with wisterias, other smaller bridges, weeping willows, a bamboo wood and above all the famous nympheas which bloom all summer long. The pond and the surrounding vegetation form an enclosure separated from the surrounding countryside. Never before had a painter so shaped his subjects in nature before painting them. And so he created his works twice. Monet would find his inspiration in this water garden for more than twenty years. After the Japanese bridge series, he would devote himself to the giant decorations of the Orangerie.

Always looking for mist and transparencies, Monet would dedicate himself less to flowers than to reflections in water, a kind of inverted world transfigured by the liquid element.

The Japanese bridge - Monet had it built by a local craftsman. By the time the garden was restored the bridge was too damaged to be saved. It had to be rebuilt by a firm from Vernon. It is made of beech wood. The wisterias have been planted by Monet.

Friday, November 28, 2014

Thursday, November 27, 2014


A few steps away from his home at Giverny, Claude Monet had a chicken yard full of hens, and Fondation Claude Monet still keeps a few chickens in this corner of the garden.
Here is one of the funny Padua chickens, absolutely stylish with their fluffy feathers on the head. HAPPY THANKSGIVING!

Wednesday, November 26, 2014

Tuesday, November 25, 2014

Monday, November 24, 2014

Friday, November 21, 2014

Thursday, November 20, 2014

Wednesday, November 19, 2014

Tuesday, November 18, 2014


A pathway through the Clos Normand.

Monday, November 17, 2014


Giverny Monet's garden

We finally made it to Monet's garden in Giverny which was the highlight of this trip for me.
There are two parts in Monet's garden: a flower garden called Clos Normand in front of the house and a Japanese inspired water garden on the other side of the road. The two parts of Monet's garden contrast and complement one another.

The Clos Normand 

When Monet and his family settled in Giverny in 1883 the  piece of land sloping gently down from the house to the road was planted with an orchard and enclosed by high stone walls.

A central alley bordered with pines separated it into two parts. Monet had the pines cut down, keeping only the two yews closest to the house to please Alice.

From this Clos Normand of about one hectare, Monet made a garden full of perspectives, symmetries and colours. The land is divided into flowerbeds where flower clumps of  different heights create volume. Fruit trees or ornamental trees dominate the climbing roses, the long -stemmed hollyhocks and the coloured banks of annuals. Monet mixed the simplest flowers (daisies and poppies) with the most rare varieties. The central alley is covered over by iron arches on which climbing roses grow. Other rose trees cover the balustrade along the house. At the end of the summer nasturtiums invade the soil in the central alley.

Claude Monet did not like organized nor constrained gardens. He married flowers according to their colours and left them to grow rather freely. With the passing years he developed a passion for botany, exchanging plants with his friends Clemenceau and Caillebotte.  Always on the look-out for rare varieties, he bought young plants at great expense. "All my money goes into my garden," he said. But also: "I am in raptures."

This is a picture taken from the second floor of his home overlooking the Clos Normand.

Friday, November 14, 2014


One last flower picture from Auvers-sur-Oise before we move along.

Thursday, November 13, 2014


There was this little circus in Auvers-sur-Oise with this fanciful entrance.

Wednesday, November 12, 2014


We had a wonderful meal at Hostellerie du Nord in Auvers-sur-Oise prepared by Chef Joel Boilleaut. Here is a picture of just one course. Yum!

Tuesday, November 11, 2014


In Flanders fields the poppies grow,
      Between the crosses, row on row,
   That mark our place; and in the sky
   The larks, still bravely singing, fly
Scarce heard amid the guns below.

We are the Dead. Short days ago
We lived, felt dawn, saw sunset glow,
   Loved and were loved, and now we lie
         In Flanders fields.

Take up our quarrel with the foe:
To you from failing hands we throw
   The torch; be yours to hold it high.
   If ye break faith with us who die
We shall not sleep, though poppies grow
         In Flanders fields.

by John McCrae

Here is a red poppy taken in Auvers-sur-Oise in recognition of Remembrance Day/Veterans Day.


Monday, November 10, 2014


Vincent and his brother Theodore are buried side by side in Auvers-sur-Oise's cemetery.

Friday, November 7, 2014

Thursday, November 6, 2014


Vincent Van Gogh painted a lot of Irises and Auvers-sur-Oise had a lot of them in bloom. Here are a couple.

Tuesday, November 4, 2014


We visited the charming village of Auvers-sur-Oise. Vincent Van Gogh lived and painted many of his pictures there. They put up his paintings in front of landmarks that he painted. Here is the Church of Auvers-sur-Oise.

Monday, November 3, 2014

Friday, October 31, 2014


Domaine De Chantilly.

Thursday, October 30, 2014

Wednesday, October 29, 2014

Tuesday, October 28, 2014

Monday, October 27, 2014

Friday, October 10, 2014

Thursday, October 9, 2014

Wednesday, October 8, 2014

Friday, October 3, 2014