The Château had been built in the 19th century as a folly to accommodate one of Belgium’s second king’s (Leopold II) mistresses. Moreover, it was located at only a stone’s throw from the house and gardens of Giverny, where the French impressionist painter Claude Monet used to live. It was also at Giverny that he painted his famous water lilies. As I’ve always been a great admirer of Monet’s paintings, I was curious to see the place where this exceptional artist had lived and worked.
Monet's house at Giverny
Photo: A. Cauderlier on http://www.giverny.org
One beautiful and warm September weekend we set out for Rolleboise. It’s a very long time ago and we didn’t take any photos during our stay. I therefore remember very little of our visit to Giverny. What I do remember though is our stay at the hotel. On our arrival we were slightly disappointed by the general look of the it.
Although everything was clean, the place looked slightly run down. The wall-paper at reception and in the bedrooms was clearly 1970-ties, with either large flowers or geometrical shapes, ranging from bright orange to burgundy red and dark brown. The furniture was old and somewhat worn, except for the tables and chairs in the dining room which were definitely new … but completely out of tune with the rest of the décor. The white plastic chairs with a large central base and the rectangular black tables were typical of the modern furniture that was in vogue at the time.
We had booked one of the larger rooms with direct access to the 1st floor terrace overlooking the Seine River. The overall colour scheme of the room was red and brown! The bed was very comfortable though and the view from the terrace simply spectacular.
We had dinner in the panoramic dining room overlooking the river. I think we both had lobster, but I can’t remember whether it was good or not. The above mentioned chairs being most uncomfortable, we didn’t linger around after dinner. Instead, we went up to our room and had a bottle of champagne send up. It was a warm night and we sat out on the terrace, comfortably dressed in our pyjamas, sipping the champagne.
While we were watching the merchant ships glide by through the night, on their way to the Seine estuary and the port of Le Havre, we were completely oblivious of what was happening behind us, until … Suddenly we heard a door opening. We turned around in unison and found ourselves facing a couple that was standing (scantly wrapped in bathtowels) in the doorway of the room next to ours. We felt slightly embarrassed being in our pyjamas and all, but the man laughed in good humour, mumbled something like ‘Sorry’ and closed the door before we even had a chance to say ‘bonsoir’.
Little did we know that we had to share the terrace with the people in the next room. And by the look of things, neither did they! After this somewhat akward incident, we quickly picked up our glasses and empty bottle of champagne and hurried back to the privacy of our room. It was past midnight anyway and time to go to bed.
P.S. The 'Château de la Corniche' is now called 'Domaine de la Corniche' and the rooms have been redecorted in a very contemporary style. The rates, however, are not what they used to be!