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.

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.

Julia Willard, Julie Willard, Julia Arias, Giverny, Vernon, Normandie, Normandy, Paris day trip, France, Normandy trip, Claude Monet, Monet's Garden

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