Giverny by way of the New York Botanical Garden

– Posted in: travel

I was born with an insatiable case of wanderlust. As a young, curly-haired Charlotte, I would trace my little fingers across a globe or the many weathered maps my parents kept around the house and I began to imagine life outside of the suburbs of New York. In a way, Europe was omnipresent in my nuclear family. My mother is German and refused to speak English with me or my brother in an effort to preserve her culture and give us the tools we needed to live a bilingual life. My parents spoke only French in the house. They had met and fallen in love in Paris and I’m sure they only spoke French when they didn’t want us to understand certain things.

I was seven when I boarded a Lufthansa flight by myself to see my grandparents in Germany. That first trip without adult supervision was an eye-opening experience for me. I was given an airplane pin by the pilot after a tour of the cockpit and the sweet flight attendant checked on me frequently, bringing me gum and making sure I was okay throughout the duration of the flight.

One day, I won’t need assistance getting on and off the airplane, I remember thinking to myself just as I spotted my oma and opa at the arrival gate in Frankfurt.

My love of travel never wavered. I studied abroad in Heidelberg, Germany (quite possibly the best experience in my life), I stayed in countless hostels, and lived for a time off of gelato and cheese sandwiches. Life was delicious.

But I never made it to Giverny, home of Claude Monet’s well-tended gardens, waterlilies, and Japanese bridge. Why is this so important? Because of this book:

Linnea in Monet's Garden, Troy, United States
This travel blog photo’s source is TravelPod page: All things Monet….

I had this book in German and English and I read it constantly. Something about Monet and his love of his wife Camille and gardening and art… there was just so much romance in that man’s heart that it spilled into everything he touched. So when I found out that the New York Botanical Garden was doing a tribute to the French impressionist, I mentioned it to Bryan who was also eager to see the exhibit. We took many photos of the vibrant flowers, gazed at the waterlilies imported from Monet’s estate, stared longingly at the artist’s palette, and watched a 50-minute documentary on the artist’s life (personally, I would suggest skipping this. It was a bit of a snoozefest, to be honest).

Some parts I wasn’t crazy about. I was expecting the actual exhibit to be a bit bigger and was disappointed that most of the flowers were encased in a greenhouse, instead of giving them the free-spirited feel I always imagined they would have flanking the property. And the Japanese bridge was constantly inundated with tourists who wanted a photo op. Which I suppose is understandable. Hell, I wanted one, too!

All that said, it was the perfect way to spend a Sunday afternoon. We got some sun showers, I was able to take off my Birkenstocks and dig my feet into the grass, and watch squirrels and chipmunks play. And then I watched as a girl flirted with Bryan at one of my favorite vegan spots in the city… but she gave us a large slice of cake to take home so it was all good.

And this is when my camera died. I did take more, but they were not of the actual exhibit. I’m grateful that Bryan had his much nicer camera fully charged to take the remaining pictures my dumb ass couldn’t capture.

Until I’m able to rent a bike and make my through the gardens at Giverny, this is a very nice (and much cheaper/convenient) substitute for anyone in the NYC area.

16 Comments… add one
Alexandra June 6, 2012, 11:16 PM


How do we have SO much in common!!!

THis, THIS book was/is my kids’ favorite, my favorite…what a dream of pictures.

Gia June 7, 2012, 1:17 AM

Kyooot! I’m sure you’ll make it over yonder sometime soon and live out all your childhood dreams! 🙂

Super adorable picture of you and Bryan btw!

Blond Duck June 7, 2012, 2:00 PM

Looks gorgeous! I’ve always loved traveling– I like little day trips or weekend trips. Adventure and stability.

Natalie June 7, 2012, 2:13 PM

Wow that is so cool that you got to travel at such a young age. I went to Europe in high school and loved it. I am hoping to travel a lot more once my kids are older. Thanks for stopping by my blog from SITS 🙂

Kimberly at Rubber Chicken Madness June 7, 2012, 3:48 PM

I owned that book for many years. Never read it. Now I’m thinking I totally missed out.

keishua June 7, 2012, 5:43 PM

time in the garden sounds lovely and i love the pics. you two are so cute.
hmm…the book sounds cool. never read it. i did read the secret garden. i’ll keep an eye out for it at the library. a bike ride now that’s something i haven’t done in ages.

Krysten June 7, 2012, 5:45 PM

SO pretty!!

Bryan June 7, 2012, 8:43 PM

Eventhough I had to beat “them” off with a stick since my Mooi was rocking one heck of a sexxxxy dress, all and all it was a perfect day… And I do agree regarding the movie… One could have missed that one and enjoyed running around the fields with the most beautiful woman there vs. snooze fest 2012…. 🙂 I Love You Mooi!!! Miss U

Nicole June 8, 2012, 2:09 PM

Ok, not gonna lie. Don’t know what I love more… your post or Bryan’s comment!

Silver medal goes to Bryan (sorry Dude lol).

Sounds like a lovely day, and a lovely way to reminisce about your cherished childhood favorites.

Recreate and Decorate June 9, 2012, 12:24 PM

I enjoyed reading your post. I would love to live in Germany, I was able to live in Korea! LOVE living abroad!
recreate and decorate from sits

Rina June 9, 2012, 12:29 PM

So glad I found your site through the SITS girls! I heard about the NY botanical garden project on NPR last week and can’t wait to go!!! Happy to see your pictures.

p.s. I heard there will be different displays of Monet’s plants for three seasons.

Thanks for posting


Alison@Mama Wants This June 9, 2012, 8:09 PM

Sounds like a lot of fun and beauty, yay!

I’m a smidgen jealous you live in NYC (my favorite city ever).

Misty June 9, 2012, 11:15 PM

that is really cool, but yes I would have expected it to be a little different… All the same though- amazing!

Aileen Bordman June 10, 2012, 2:47 PM

Indeed a little Giverny state side. Great article about the Monet’s Garden show. Did you see my film “Monet Palate” with Meryl Streep the Featured film while there? Aileen Bordman

New York Cliche June 17, 2012, 7:42 PM

Adding this to my list of things to do this summer! Thanks for sharing. I LOVED that book as a kid too, even when I knew nothing about Monet and associated museums with boredom. Now his paintings are the one thing I ALWAYS must see when I visit the Met. Found your blog from SITS!

(FL) Girl with a New Life June 18, 2012, 11:47 AM

This looks beautiful. It makes me want to erect a giant garden in the backyard, except I could never keep up with it. Perfect day-date.

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