Having been to Paris several times and seen quite a bit of the city, I decided to do a half-day trip outside the city on a recent visit.
Being a long time garden and Monet lover, a trip to Monet’s house and gardens at Giverny sounded perfect.
Monet’s house and gardens are located in Giverny, a small village just outside of Vernon, about an hour drive from Paris.
Although you can get there by train and bus (train from Gare Saint Lazare to Vernon), I opted to do a half day tour to help save time. Our tour operator had pre-purchased tickets, so we were able to walk right into the gardens.
There are two gardens you’ll want to visit- the cottage-style garden called Clos Normand in front of the house, and the water garden.
The first garden I decided to spend time in was the water garden. Upon walking into the water garden, you’ll instantly see the famed water lilies. I lingered in this part of the garden for quite a while, letting groups come and go so I had bits of peace.
Inspired by tranquility of Japanese gardens, Monet renovated his garden in the 1890s, adding willows and bamboo, and filling the pond with water lilies.
The other set of gardens were a surprise- I hadn’t expected them to be so gorgeous. Although I visited in early October, we had a warm, sunny day and the gardens were bursting with beautiful flowers in bloom. Monet’s gardens are like his paintings- untamed and bright.
Post-garden wandering, you’re able to tour Monet’s pretty pink home. Now a museum, it’s furnished as when the artist lives there. Monet’s love of color is prominent throughout the home. The yellow dining room is huge, design to fit Monet’s family of ten. And, the blue kitchen plays a great compliment to the dining room- loved the blue tiled walls and shiny copper pots and pans.
On your way out, there is, of course a gift shop to peruse. Flipping through some of the books containing replicas of his work, it’s evident Monet shaped his gardens so he could paint them.
The house and garden are open from April – November from 9:30 am – 6:30 pm. Although I went with a self-guided tour group, my advice would be to go early- we arrived at ~9:30 am, and within 45 minutes, the gardens were packed.
And although I wanted to get back to Paris to do other things, like visit the Picasso Museum, there are cafes and shops in Giverny if you want to stay for a bit and explore the town.