One of everyone’s favorite day trips outside of Paris is a visit to Claude Monet’s home and garden, and for good reason. Just 45 minutes outside of Paris, it’s an easily accessed getaway that takes you to the Normandy region and yet feels a world away. Last year, I made a point to go within the first few days of it opening for the season. While I was there for the tulips and cherry blossoms, it was not yet time for the lily pads (nympheas) that are so emblematic of Monet’s paintings (for that I’d need to go at least 6 weeks later). That is the beauty of Monet’s garden, though. It flourishes from Spring to Fall and is a joy to visit well into October (it closes for the winter months). So no matter when you go, you have beautiful plantings and colors to inspire you just like they did Monsieur Monet.
Since I was going specifically to get some shots for myself, I naturally tried to be the first one in the door when it opened. This meant that I needed to take an early train to get to Vernon in time for the first bus to Giverny. I also had to get a seat in the front of the bus, so I could get off quickly and head inside before the others. I successfully did all this, hence my photos having no one in them. Of course, I only had about 5 minutes before the whole garden was overtaken with people, so this feeling of having the place to myself was very short-lived. It was so worth it, though, because once the others come in, especially the big groups, there’s almost no hope of getting a person-free photo in the garden.
A visit to Giverny is so much more than just a visit to Monet’s house and garden. You must also wander the town and take in the inspiring countryside scenes. There are little shops paying homage to the man who put the town on the map, as well as a couple of spots to grab a meal al fresco, and of course charming French village scenes at every turn. For lunch, I personally enjoy Restaurant Baudy. Don’t miss a trip inside if you eat outside, and certainly don’t miss the back garden. And once you’ve enjoyed your lunch among all the other art-lovers in the town, grab an ice cream from the ice cream truck you’ll see on the streets of Giverny.
Monet's Home and Garden Visitor Information
🚄 How to get to Giverny:
While there are plenty of tours available that leave from Paris, I personally prefer to take the train on my own. Leaving from Paris Saint Lazare station, you take the train directly to Vernon-Giverny and you’re there within about 45 minutes. A one-way ticket costs around 10€ and allows you to decide when you’re ready to get there and return to Paris. From the Vernon station, there are shuttle busses to Giverny every 15 minutes that cost just 10€ for a roundtrip ticket. Keep an eye on when the busses leave to return to the Vernon station later in the day. You don’t want to find yourself without a seat on the last bus of the day.
🎟 Tickets for Monet’s Home and Garden:
Normal and senior fare: 9.50 €
Children and students: 5.50 €
Children under 7: Free of charge
There are lots of bike paths near Vernon and Giverny (and that connect them). Be sure to get a proper map of the area and select your destination and place to return to at the beginning of the day. Having this planned out in advance will give you some freedom of mind to enjoy your day (and ride) to the fullest.
Although I personally have only ever gone to Giverny by train and bus, I am eager to take advantage of the region’s great cycle routes. If you want to make more than a day trip from Paris out of your visit to Giverny, I absolutely recommend it. Check the France Vélo Tourisme site to help guide you make plans that suit your needs.