I have always loved Monet probably because I am an avid gardener and I love to paint with watercolor (nothing near as good as him of course). So, when I met my husband in a blind date, I told him about my love for Claude Monet’s work. Being a very thoughtful man, he brought me to view Monet’s painting at the Museum of Fine Arts in Boston on our first official date. When he came with me to visit my family in the Philippines on March 2001, I was not aware that he asked my father for my hand in marriage. On August 2001, we went on a Seine river cruise from Normandy to Paris on board m.s. Douce France. Our first stop was the beautiful Honfleur, which I fell in love with and will go back in a heartbeat! Often referred to as the birthplace of Impressionism, this scenic market town is best known for it’s unusual 16th century wooden church built like the shape of a ship.
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From Honfleur, we went for a side trip by coach to the Normandy’s scenic Cote Fleuri, and toured the seaside resorts of Deuville and Trouville. Then we proceeded to visit the Chateau du Breuil to learn the art of distilling and ageing wine. After that we boarded our river boat to start our Seine River cruise stopping at Caudevec en Caux (known for it’s 15th century church; then to
Jumieges were we visited the magnificent ruins of the St. Peter church and the Abbey.
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After lunch, we departed for Rouen where we followed Joan of Arc’s footsteps– a walking tour of the city. Rouen is one of the cities of France considered as a capital of stained glass of all periods (from 1200 to the present).
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Then our boat departed to Les Andelys during lunch time. We boarded the coach and visited the ruins of Chateau Gaillardia built in the 12th century by Richard the Lionheart, Duke of Normandy.
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On the fifth day of our cruise, August 29, 2001, we arrived at Vernon and from there we proceeded to have an excursion at Giverney’s Claude Monet’s gardens and museum. I was having my glorious time telling my ‘now cruise friends’ who are all lovely ladies about the plants we encountered and their Latin names, sort of being their tour guide, when my then boyfriend, pulled me aside, put a ring on my finger and proceeded to tell me that if I love him I should marry him. It happened so fast that all I could remember are all the faces staring at me while I was bawling my eyes out and him asking me to look at the ring. I, of course, said yes!
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Upon returning, the whole boat that night celebrated with us; we were even invited to dine at the Captain’s table!
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We then proceeded to Versailles, which up to this day stands as a reminder of the grandeur of the classical French architecture. The extravagant decorations and layout of the place reflects the will of King Louis XIV known also as the Sun King.
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Then our boat proceeded to Paris! We were treated to a cruise under the bridges of Paris at night! Magnifique (as they described it)! So you know by now why I love anything Frenchie! What a way to end this magnificent, wonderful trip!
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We got married September 7, 2002, tables in our wedding were named after the places we’ve been in France and guess where we honeymooned… yes, another French river cruise, this time on the Rhone and the Saone Rivers, from Nice to Paris! We even planned to name our baby Amelie if it’s a girl… well, we have a boy and my mother-in-law is every bit Irish, so we named him after the town her ancestors came from in Ireland. Now, if I had my wish, I would have named him Claude, just kidding mom!) We go back to France every chance we have because Paris is indeed always a good idea!
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