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Be calm, I tell myself. I have arrived on the first Navette from the Gare Vernon, in an attempt to beat the crowds and get some decent photos of this famous place. I have been leapfrogging an Asian couple pushing a stroller, passing them on the path and then stopping to take photos of the bamboo grove and passive flow of water, and then overtaking them as the child in the stroller fusses and demands their attention.
Already, at 10:30, the gardens are becoming clogged with tourists. I have already made my way through the vibrant gardens, where chains prevent the throngs from meandering, and allow easy view of the plantings, and photos of the gardens to be taken without human bodies in the frame.
After the riot of sunlight, color, form and texture that swirls around the the rows of mixed borders, the cool woodland path and glassy stream reflecting the bamboo stand is both physical and visual relief. It serves to prepare the walker for the next vista, the parallel pillars of bamboo calm and ground me. It’s a good thing, because when the alert comes up on my phone, I want to cry, or scream or both.
Instead, I move to the side, allowing the stroller to overtake me one more time and begin deleting things from the storage on my phone. Out goes apps I don’t really need for this trip. Still, there is not enough room. Next I delete all my music. Ahh. Now the camera is accessible again. With vicious purpose, I go through my 1400 photos and begin to delete any that are mistakes, fuzzy, duplicates and any I cannot immediately identify. Hopefully I will have enough to last the rest of my trip.
After I leave the gardens, I tour the Maison, which is an amazing journey through the eye of the artist. The walls and woodwork are all painted, and hung everywhere at eye level is a fantastic collection of Japanese art like nothing I have ever seen before. I am immediately sucked into the eye of the artist, seeing the inspiration for the form of the bridges, the bamboo island, the trees with character, that Monet incorporated into his home in Giverny. It is all there in the Japanese art.
The rooms are so colorful, they reflect the hues of the gardens just outside. Large French doors and huge windows provide views of the gardens and ponds. This home is all about light and color, inside and out. I have never liked colorful interiors, but here, I find it irresistibly inviting, as though the artist has taken the Mediterranean sunlight I love indoors. Photos are not permitted, but in a later post, I will attempt to describe the sensation.
I stood off to the side when I came to the sal a manger, which can only be described as the color of pure sunlight, and began to take furious notes.
It’s a good thing I arrived so early. When I exited the house, the line for admission stretched a block, three deep. I moved on to the Musee Impressioniste, where the current exhibit was both educational and inspiring.