I knew that you had to take the train to Giverny from Gare St. Lazare. I knew that you could take the TGV for 13 euros in each direction, but since I’m an insider now I figured there was some way that I could get there using the Ticket Mobilis that I had purchased that morning to get from Coulommiers to Paris. This special ticket lets you travel as much as you want on the public transportation system of Ile-de-France over the course of a single day.
In a Parisian train station, you will find several different types of information centers. There’s the Ile-de-France center, the SNCF center, the RATP center, and the center that tells you which of these you need to go to. I tried two different centers asking if I could get to Vernon, the closest train station to Giverny, with my Ticket Mobilis. Through ignorance or mean-spiritedness they were not giving me the answer I wanted to hear. They kept insisting that I would have to buy separate train tickets, but I was simply not willing to spend 26 euros to head out to Giverny and back. Finally someone told me what I wanted to hear—that I could take the Ile-de-France train almost all the way there but that I would have to get off and buy a ticket for the 15 remaining minutes to get from Mantes-La Jolie to Vernon. So to make the long story short, with a little persistence I was able to save 20 euros! Yes!
And once I was there, about three and a half hours after leaving Coulommiers, it was totally worth the effort I had taken. Vernon and Giverny are picturesque little towns filled with French and English tourists looking for a respite from the hustle and fuss of Paris even on a subpar day weather-wise. The sky was constantly wavering between gloomy threats and sunny promises. My time at the house and garden of Monet was spent mostly in a warm sun. Under such conditions I could almost feel myself pushed towards impressionistic water lily obsession. I didn’t quite fall (rise?) that far, but I did try my hand at some impressionistic, half-focused floral photos. As soon as I had seen everything and decided to hike back the 5 km to Vernon and the train station, the diluvian threats became a reality. It was the hardest rain I’ve witnessed since being in France. Instead of walking, I decided to spend some precious money on the bus; I didn’t think it would break the bank.
Also, I’ve been busily making French friends until the very end—some very cool people that it would have been nice to meet sooner during my stay here, and even a couple from Coulommiers!
My trip for Central Europe is all booked. I will spend sixteen days visiting Berlin, Prague, Vienna, Bratislava, and Budapest. The end of the story is drawing near and I’m trying to pack it with as many memorable adventures and characters as possible.