The house was warm and inviting, colorful, probably drafty. Monet laid out his flowers gardens in the front of this house where he moved with his wife and family in 1883. Guide books say he spent 40 years at Giverny, building a pastoral paradise with a Japanese garden and a pond of floating lilies.
The first room is very Mrs. deMenil-esque. That white space appears to float. Pure light comes into the space from several directions. There is not a thing here but quiet white space. Planned that way by Monet, so that when one at last enters the two galleries, the mind may have quieted itself from the rhythms of the city.
Each oval gallery has a series of four long, long gently curved paintings. The paintings in each gallery compliment and enhance the others. Monet is painting water here and I assume damp lily pads. So, I found it curious that when I got within inches of the surface of the paintings, I saw that the lilies were painted very roughly without a 'lily' form, really, until you step back several feet. And he appears to apply the lily shapes with a very dry brush. Painting wetness with a dry brush? And making it work. But after all, he is not so much painting water as he is painting light and he certainly found a multitude of ways to do that.
I wouldn't have missed Monet's gardens. They were beautiful when my daughters and I visited them in 1981 and they were beautiful today. Artists' visions enrich us in often undefinable ways. Will a pond of lily pads ever be seen again in this world without reference to Monet's interpretation?
Here are two faded photos from our visit in 1981. The girls look sober and their photograph is awkwardly taken. It was a difficult time for our family. They appear to reflect that.
Aggie and I are in agreement. Neither of us is willing to spend our money on one fine dinner after another. Are we not in need of fine dining? We are in Paris, the city where fine dining is one of the reasons the world flocks to its streets. What is the matter with us?
So, this first week in Paris, it has been far easier to pick up fruit, a potted terrine or can of aged sardines, a baguette, perhaps some cheese. It has also been easy to drop by the Lebanese place just below our apartment for falafel, hummus and whatever else goes on their tasty plats de jour.
We've had some very tasty and modest meals. Yet, we are in Paris. We would enjoy one great meal, surely. Off goes that email to Ginny.