Our first group wide excursion was to Giverny, Normandy, the home of Monet. As you can imagine, it was beautiful. We started off at Monet's house where we were able to explore his gardens and his home. Monet's home 1. Is incredibly colorful and thus, magnificent and 2. Full of his paintings and thus, breathtaking. Walking into Monet's parlor, you are confronted by so many pieces of his art that it seems hard to breath. So many famous, beautiful, pieces of art hanging there, just as he had them when he lived there. I wish pictures were allowed inside his home, but they aren't, so these pictures from the garden will have to suffice.

After the morning in Giverny, we headed to La Rouche-Guyon, one of France's top 100 most beautiful villages (because that's a real competition in France). Let me tell you, it really was beautiful. Located right on the Seine, it has a massive old manor that has a keep nestled into the hillside. This manor also has quite the history since during WWII it was used by Nazis during the occupation of France. Also housed inside the manor are some incredibly scary tunnels that we explored. The tunnels take you to the "time machine" but we're all convinced that said time machine is really a torture device because it was freaky. But boy, oh boy, was the view from atop the keep (after about 500 stairs) beautiful.

I have two favorite parts of the manor: 1. The library, of course. 2. The random assortment of couches in the courtyard that aided in producing my favorite picture, thus far, of the trip. Note that Jared is surround by 6 girls and yet looks completely unentertained. Oh, Jared, how we love you.

Indeed, it was a wonderful day excursion. This coming week, we are headed to the beaches of Normandy and I cannot wait. It should yield many a memory and an abundance of pictures.

Love always,

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