Entries Categorized as 'Vernon'

Sunset on the Seine

July 7, 2011

vernon-sunsetDo you like sunsets? These amazing shows graciously offered by Nature tempt many photographers.
You may seize them by chance, just because you are outdoors when they happen, or hurry for them on special spots like a lover running to a date.
As beautiful as it might be, it is not so easy to obtain a satisfactory result by making a shot of the sheer sky. You need a foreground that will be silhouetted against the sunset. A recognizable monument is more interesting than a tree, but a tree is much better than an electricity pole!
Reflection on the water will top it all, as I recently realized. Monet was right, by focusing on the mirror of his pond!
As it is not easy to find all these elements, I am pleased to announce to all sunset lovers that they can be found in Vernon on the Seine side. A recently opened pathway along the meadows offers stunning views on the river. A very enjoyable place, not only at sunset.

Monet, Bonnard and many more

March 28, 2009

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A beautiful exhibition has just opened at Vernon’s museum. A must see if you come to Giverny!

It is entitled ”From Corot to Bonnard, masterpieces from the museums of Douai and Vernon” and features an impressive list of reknown artists such as Monet, Pissarro, Vuillard, Corot, Courbet, Bonnard and many more.

The visit leads you from the early stage of pre-impressionism to impressionism in its glory, followed by néo-impressionist works.  a feast for the eyes!

The exhibition is to be seen at Vernon’s museum for three months until June 28.

Bird’s View of Vernon

March 26, 2009

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It was a years’ long dream, yet a frightening one. Finally I took a deep breath, asked the mayor and the priest for permission. To my own surprise I was given the keys.

I felt like Alice in Wonderland. The keys didn’t look odd nor old. They were absolutely normal. But they opened a very special realm.

In Vernon’s church, a narrow door opens onto a spiral staircase that leads to the pipe organ. I knew that if you go on climbing you will reach the turrets and have an amazing view over the town.

I shut the medieval door behind me and started walking up the stairs. There was hardly enough space for one person, but there wasn’t any chance I would meet somebody else coming down.

It was a very strange feeling to be there alone. These backstage parts of the big church seldom have visitors. They look like their makers have just left them. You can almost feel the presence of the stone carvers and masons of the 15th century in the perfectly arranged steps and wall stones. Was I welcome with my cameras?

My heart was beating, but no time to hesitate. I had reached a narrow door. One of the keys opened it, and I was on the northern terrace in front of the House of Good Old Times, the tourist office.

The church and the half-timbered house were so close that they seemed to be speaking. I was afraid to slip on the smooth stones. I carefully closed the door and went on, higher and higher.

Finally I reached the top of the turret and had access to a small balcony. It is like being at the top of the big Wheel. You know you are safe, but you don’t feel you are. The view over Vernon was stunning. Town hall, houses, hills on the background, and over this a very norman sky full of lovely clouds. The pigeons looked at me with astonishment.

The strangest up there is to notice that so many stones are carved, adornated, although nobody can see them. The stone carvers of the Middle ages worked for the sight of God.

It was easier though slightly giddy to go down the spinning staircase. I felt relieved to reach the ground floor, but also sad to close the narrow door of the pipe-organ behind me, and even sader to have to turn back the magic keys.

Snow Again

February 4, 2009

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After a few milder days it snowed again on Giverny and Vernon.

Unlike Paris where snow melts soon and turns into an unpleasant mud, here it remains white and crispy under the soles for a longer time. It powders the roofs but those with southern exposure won’t stay icy for a long time. Birds know it when they come and sunbath on the Old Mill of Vernon along the Seine.

In the sunshine, the landscape is enhanced by its luminous coating. As Monet would have done, it is an opportunity to experience the different colors of the snow: purple-blue in the shade, yellow and pink in  the sunlight.

Tamed Horses

August 22, 2008

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This group feturing a man taming horses can be seen in Vernon’s A. G. Poulain Museum, in the center of the town neighbouring Giverny.

The sculpture is due to Frederick MacMonnies, an American artist who lived and taught for several years in Giverny at the turn of the 20th century.

The man is on a smaller scale than the horses to make them look wilder, and to show the superiority of the spirit over the animal.

Roofs of Vernon

August 3, 2008

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A view of the town of Vernon, three miles from Giverny, seen from the top of the Archives Tower.

On the right the church is Vernon’s collegiate church dedicated to our Lady. It hides the houses of Giverny on the other bank of the Seine river.

Although Vernon was severely damaged by bombings during the last world war, this part of the town remains untouched.  Slated or tiled roofs top small town houses piled up along narrow streets. Some of them still exhibit their half timbered walls typical of Normandy.

The houses in the foreground are as old as the keep of the castle on which I was standing, they date back to the 13th century.

The Archives tower at Vernon

June 18, 2008

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Only three miles from Giverny, the town of Vernon is worth a visit.

This tower is the keep of the castle built in the 12th century by the French king Philip Augustus.

At this time Vernon was on the border with the kingdom of England. Strongholds were built on each side of the border materialised by a stream called the Epte.

The keep of Vernon was used during the 19th Century to store the town archives.

Now it is just a landmark of the town. It dominates a charming public garden called ‘jardin des Arts’, garden of the arts.

Strange House

June 4, 2008

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This bizarre house overhanging the Seine river in Vernon, 5 km from Giverny, surprises and puzzles many visitors.

It seems so strange that somebody had the idea of building it this way!

 No wonder when you know that it once was a mill. The wheel doesn’t exist anymore. In the Middle Ages mills were currently built on bridges.

Monet was inspired by this old house. He painted it from his studio boat.  The painting is now in the museum of Fine Arts in New Orleans.