I'm not an artist, in the traditional sense. I can't paint or draw or sketch or sculpt, but I do know art, atleast from my subjective standpoint. One of the earliest memories I have of creating art was when my 3rd grade art class Van Goh-esque masterpiece (a yellow flower painted using sticks) was framed in the library (along side at least 50 others). I knew I was destined for great things. I'm TOTALLY joking - that was actually my only traditional piece of art I have ever cared for. Thank God my mother saved it. My mother, on the other hand, was just fabulous. She loved art and used to paint all sorts of watercolours and oil paintings. She especially loved the works of Claude Monet. I've known of "Woman with a Parasol" and "Waterlilly Pond" because she would recreate them to see whether she could.
I was casually looking for interesting things to do in Paris and saw that there was a tour to visit Claude Monet's garden in Giverny, a small village in Normandie. Was it worth it? Can I be bothered? Its freezing. Can I uber it? Its a tourbus. People and smalltalk. Errr. Should I wake up at 7AM and drag my poor 1 year old on yet another adventure? These were my questions. Actually, they were my sisters questions projected on me. But I thought if theres one thing I love more than sleep its pictures, so we bit the bullet and went to Monet's house in Giverny, now a national monument.
It was so beautiful. I love the first world and their penchant for maintaining things. They've set up his house the way it was, and its just as you'd imagine a house from that era (late 1800s-early 1900s) to be; checkered kitchen floor, different paint jobs in every room, ruffled curtains and floral wallpaper. But the garden was one of dreams. I haven't seen lilies like that. Im not going to pretend to know so much about flowers, I can name only about 6 kinds. But every single flower painted so many stories and it was so easy to imagine Monet's inspiration.
Flowers are gorgeous to anyone, and they hold an importance in the way I look at all things beautiful. I might go as far to even say they're the reason I started taking pictures. I remember incorporating them into most of my earlier photographs. Everything can be told with roses. I think what I found so appealing was not the beauty, but the metaphor. The art of living and dying. The shelf life of something gorgeous. Walking amongst the most famous impressionist artist's inspiration was something so profoundly enlivening. If just for a short while, it colours your life. Like a flower.
Small side note: Going with a tour was great because we didn't have to worry about logistics, lunch, and we went to Versailles Palace afterwards. Ubering both places separately was significantly more expensive than going on the tour because Giverny is 1.5 hours away from Paris and Versaille was another 45 minutes. HOWEVER, if you are travelling with a 1 year old, don't expect to be able to listen to any audioguide (without the ear set being torn off) or to even stay with the group at all. Its the second time in my life I've felt the need to be slower paced because of Layaan (first time was at an amusement park where our groups had to keep splitting to stay with the kids). I'm not personally a tour guide sort of person, I love exploring and reading the info signs and disappearing to take my own photos, but its France, and most things were in French.