If you are a lover of art and especially Monet, take the time to do a day trip from Paris to Giverny. Walk the lily gardens, stroll through the artist’s house and studio, and immerse yourself in all things Monet-an experience you will never forget. Go on a beautiful day and you will swear you are walking inside a Monet painting. Some of the most beautiful photographs I’ve ever taken (with my phone camera-see below) came from our trip to Giverny. Enjoy the journey!
We visited Giverny in September and it was the perfect day-sunny with the gardens in full bloom. Make sure you dedicate a whole day to this trip, so you have adequate time for the trip from Paris and time to wander the fields dotted with haystacks and walk through the house and gardens. The lily ponds in person look exactly like Monet’s paintings-so surreal. I kept pinching myself that after viewing Monet’s paintings in museums all over the world, I was finally there at the epicenter of his inspiration. I am definitely not a gardener but even I could appreciate the layout and variety of plants and flowers. Well done, Monet!
Giverny sits at the confluence of the river Seine and the river Epte in the region of Normandy. While the big draw in Giverny is Monet’s garden and home, this village has existed since neolithic times and there is a church dating from the Middle Ages to explore as well as a Museum of Impressionism and plenty of cafes and shops.
Seeing Giverny from a train window, Claude Monet rented and eventually bought a house living there from 1883 to his death in 1926. He created an amazing garden, partially diverting the river Epte for these gardens that inspired his many famous paintings of the lily pond, weeping willow trees, and Japanese bridge. His house and studio have been restored and you can wander through to get a feel for how this famous artist lived and worked. Giverny is now managed by a nonprofit Fondation Claude Monet | Giverny (fondation-monet.com).
Monet’s gardens are open every day including public holidays from April 1st through November 1st, 2023. Buy timed entry tickets online at Claude Monet’s house in Giverny. We didn’t spend much time in the house/studio because it was such a beautiful day, so we were outside walking the gardens. They do have a great store there so bring a bag to carry home some souvenirs.
HOW TO GET THERE:
Giverny is 75KM (47 miles) from Paris and 4KM (2.5 miles) from the small town of Vernon where the train will stop coming from the Saint-Lazare Paris station. The fastest trains (don’t book a “local” with many stops) complete the journey in about an hour. Book your train ticket from Paris to Giverny here: Trainline : Search, Compare & Buy Cheap Train Tickets (thetrainline.com). You could also take a bus or drive, but I prefer the train ride to sit back, relax and take in the French countryside.
ONCE YOU ARRIVE IN VERNON:
When Giverny is open, a shuttle bus or tram (so cute-we took this one!) can take you from the train station to Giverny’s parking lot. The round-trip costs 10 euros or less and only takes about 15 minutes. You can buy your ticket on board.
If you really want to walk, it’s about 5KM or 3 miles and mostly flat following the tracks of an ancient railroad. Go down the Albufera street and cross the bridge over the Seine. At the roundabout ignore the signs for Giverny which are meant for cars. Go straight on, cross the first street “Route de Giverny” and take the pathway to your right just before the drugstore. Maybe next time I’ll try walking!