Are you looking for ideas for a great day trip from Paris? You should definitely consider visiting Claude Monet’s garden in Giverny. Located just 70 kilometres northwest of Paris, you don’t even need to be an art lover to enjoy the gardens that inspired impressionist artist Claude Monet.
The garden of Claude Monet is divided into two sections. There’s the Norman Enclosure (Clos Normand), a flower garden in front of Monet’s restored house and a Japanese inspired water garden located just around the corner.
The Norman Enclosure (Clos Normand)
Claude Monet and his family moved to Giverny in 1883.
When the Monet family first moved into their pink home, there was an apple orchard in front of the house, and pine trees bordered the central pathway. Much to the horror of Monet’s wife Alice, he had these pine trees chopped down and replaced by iron arches which are still there today.
But now, that central pathway is lined with nasturtiums and fragrant roses. Japanese apricot trees and cherry trees have replaced the apple trees. And the ground is now a haven for thousands of flowers: daffodils, iris, narcissus, oriental poppies, peonies, tulips, to name but a few.
It really was lovely just strolling along the paths around the garden, admiring the colourful flowers, enjoying the floral aromas, and watching the insects buzzing from one flower to the next.
Before heading to the water garden, don’t forget to have a wander around his house where Monet and his family lived for 43 years. Although, it does get a bit busy inside, and you end up shuffling along from one room to another.
The Japanese Inspired Water Garden
Claude Monet loved to collect prints of Japanese gardens. You will have noticed that if you visit the house. He never actually travelled to Japan, but he owned more than 200 Japanese prints. Most of which are in the Giverny house.
So, in 1893, ten years after moving to Giverny, Monet bought the piece of land next door to his property that was crossed by a small brook, the Ru.
And now that piece of land is a delightful Japanese inspired water garden, and that small brook is now a large pond filled with water lilies. There are Japanese style bridges covered with wisterias, the famous nympheas and fabulous weeping willows. It’s really rather lovely.
Don’t Forget To Allow Some Time To Explore The Village Of Giverny
Don’t go all the way to Giverny and not at least take a little stroll through the village. It’s full of cute tea rooms, cafes and galleries. Some of the restaurants are a little pricey by my standards, but I had a lovely light lunch at the Au Coin Du Pain Tre. Or if you’re more organised than I am, bring a picnic along with you.
Also, while exploring Giverny, you can pop by and visit Monet’s tomb at the church at the end of the street. If you enjoy exploring cemeteries on your travels, be sure to visit the Pere Lachaise Cemetery in Paris, but I digress.
Best Time To Visit Monet’s Garden And Giverny
Giverny is an extremely popular destination that attracts many tourists, especially during the summer months. The best time to visit would be during the shoulder season in April or October.
Having said that, I visited in July, but numbers are restricted at the moment, so it’s not a bad idea to reserve a slot online to guarantee entry. Check here for securing slot times and current prices on tickets. It is a couple of euros more booking online, but it would be so annoying to get all the way there, and you couldn’t get in, wouldn’t it?
Don’t Book A Tour Out Of Paris
Now, I know at this stage, I should be saying click here to book a tour and actually earn myself a few pennies to help keep my dog in the life she has come accustomed to. And for a minute, even I was tempted to book myself on a tour for an easy life, but then I read the reviews. Many people who booked tours complained of being stuck in the Parisian traffic, so their time was cut short at Monet’s Garden.
And you know what? It’s not difficult to visit Monet’s Garden independently. Take the train, and then you get to spend as long as you want there. Take time also to explore Giverny, and with the money you save by not joining a tour, you can enjoy lunch at one of the many eateries. You could even overnight in one of the guesthouses. I, however, had to head back to Paris as I was on a housesit, and Mishky, the cat I was looking after, would be wanting his dinner.
How To Get To Monet’s Garden In Giverny From Paris
The easiest way to get to Giverny from Paris is to take the train to Gare de Vernon-Giverny from Paris Gare St Lazare. Trains depart several times a day, and the journey time takes around 50 minutes. Trains, as of August 2021, cost 16€ each way.
To save time at Paris Gare St Lazare, you can book your ticket in advance online. I like to use the Omio app, it’s idiot-proof for the technologically challenged like myself, and it’s free to use.
At Paris Gare St Lazare, follow the signs to Lignes Normandie’s section J to catch the train.
From Gare de Vernon-Giverney station, there are shuttle buses to Giverny that cost 10€ roundtrip. For up to date information on schedules and ticket prices, click here.
When I arrived at the station, there was no sign of a shuttle bus; however, there was one of those tourist trains waiting in front of the station for only €8 return. And you know I love a bargain, even if it is only €2. It’s very cheesy, but you do get an audio tour thrown in, in both French and English, pointing out points of interest along the way.
The return trip takes a slightly different route through Vernon yet gets you back to the train station with plenty of time to catch the train back to Paris.
Or you could even walk from the station; it’s only five kilometres along a pleasant track.
If coming by car, there’s a large free car park. From the bus stop and car park, it’s about ten minutes to get to the village and Monet’s Garden. The route is clearly marked, and on the way, you will pass by the tourist office and clean public toilets.
Bust of Claude Monet
On your way from the car park to the village, you can take a slight diversion to see the Bust of Claude Monet. The location of the bust seems, at first, a bit random and hidden away, but apparently, it’s not. The statue is actually situated at the very spot where Claude Monet did a lot of his paintings. The artist, Daniel Goupil, wanted his sculpture to face the landscape that Monet loved.
Would I Recommend A Day Trip From Paris To Monet’s Garden?
Totally. It was a lovely day out and very straightforward to do independently. I imagine in more normal times, it would be a lot busier than when I visited. It actually would probably be a charming place to stay over and have the chance to enjoy the village and gardens before the day-trippers arrive.
Can’t Get Enough Of Monet?
The Musée Marmottan Monet in Paris, aka the Monet Museum Paris. It is an interesting art museum and a perfect rainy day activity. It houses the most extensive collection of Monet’s paintings in the world.
The museum is located in a fancy 19th-century mansion in the wealthy 16th arrondissement of Paris.
Nearest metro stop to the Musée Marmottan Monet : La Muette on line 9.
And there’s also the Musée de l’Orangerie located in the Jardin des Tuileries. But I didn’t get here as I’m a only visit art galleries on rainy days kind of girl and not nearly as cultured as I’d like to be or pretend to be.
Nearest metro to the Musée de l’Orangerie: Concorde on lines 1, 8 and 12.
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