On Saturday we went to the Commarque Castle where we explored and walked through the castle ruins. Although it was scorchingly hot in the sun, we were all equipped with some form of sun protection and water. It was also surprisingly cool in the shade of the castle’s stone walls. Near the end of our tour, we approached the tallest tower of the castle. It required 140 steps to reach the top, and we all joyously took on the challenge. The stairs turned into a spiral at one point and we had to be very careful not to slip.
We finally reached the top, and the view was definitely worth the climb. I definitely feel myself getting out of shape day after day of really good food…
The entire time I was marveling at how well-preserved the castle (built in the 16th century!) was. I can’t imagine the skill it takes to carve and put together giant blocks of stone (especially that 140-step tower).
We arrived in Giverny to see Monet’s jardins and maison. Although skies were cloudy, the great volume of flowers was bright and colorful. I loved how Monet arranged the flowers based on how he wanted to paint them, not by how exotic or impressive they were. The water lillies presented a beautiful canvas, but I found that what I saw in real life did not resemble his Nymphéas (Water Lillies). I think Monet painted the shapes he saw, but he was more imaginative with the layering and depth of color.
The next day we drove to Omaha Beach and then Arromanches. We visited the American Cemetery and Omaha Beach, and in person they’re a different experience than what you would see in museums. There are endless fields of white cross grave markers in the cemetery. At Omaha Beach, you stand exactly where the ships landed 71 years ago.
Besides visiting Monet’s gardens and memorials, we’ve gotten a lot of sleep on the bus rides. There’s something about that bus that makes us all drowsy… I’m looking forward to sleeping on the long bus ride tomorrow to Sarlat!