Header Image


Navigation images

Daytrip from Paris: Monet’s Giverny

It shouldn’t be any surprise that the main road of the village of Giverny is named after its most famous (former) resident, the Impressionist painter Claude Monet. Afterall, without his fame, it is unlikely that thousands of visitors would flock daily between April and October to the village. He lived here for over 40 years, drawing inspiration from the kaleidoscopic garden just outside his house and the adjacent water lily pond/garden.

Giverny

Giverny

The star attractions of the village are undoubtedly Monet’s House and Gardens, and the Musée des Impressionnismes Giverny. Apart from these, the Ancien Hôtel Baudy and the Église Sainte-Radegonde de Giverny are getting considerable attention as well from the visitors, particularly the latter, for the burial site of Monet and his family can be found in the grounds of the church.

In addition, the tourism board has done an excellent job in setting out a trail of cultural walking tour of the Giverny Village. Along this route of approximately 4km (give or take an hour walk), 20 points of interest are identified with information panel planted in front of them. We did try to complete the trail but was unable to do so, as the path parallel to the Aqueduc des Moines had been closed off, most likely for safety reason given the high water level of River Seine in recent months.

Maison et Jardins de Claude Monet

This is a good place to start the day, before throngs of visitors arrive by the bus load continuously throughout the day. It opens at 9.30am and the queue would still be reasonable at that time of the day, even for a weekend. Any later, it’s a bit of a mayhem at the site! The ticket can also be bought ahead, online of course. Another alternative is to get the tickets to both Monet’s House and Musée des Impressionnismes at the same time, thus avoiding the need to queue twice although without monetary advantage (i.e. twin tickets don’t come at a discounted price).

Giverny Monet's House

Giverny Monet's House

Giverny Monet's House

Giverny Monet's House

However, on the morning when we arrived in Giverny just shy of 9.30am, the sky was dull and the clouds had been moving in. Within minutes, raindrops were felt and the umbrellas were out. We made a decision to leave the visit to Monet’s house until after our lunch, so we can enjoy the outdoors properly. BIG mistake. By the time we came back, it was chock-a-block everywhere – the house, the garden, the waterlily pond…

Photography is not allowed inside Monet’s House, so I couldn’t show you what it’s like. His spacious studio that’s now filled with reproductions of his works, various rooms used to showcase his extensive collection of Japanese engravings, the rather ghastly dining room in yellow felt like an oddball of a room in the house, and the kitchen – oh, the kitchen – it’s the kind that comes in a dream, adorned with white and blue motif tiles, hanging copper pots and pans, and very old school stove and oven.

Giverny Monet's Garden

Giverny Monet's Garden

Giverny Monet's Garden

Giverny Monet's Garden

Monet took pride in his garden and it is easy to see why. The explosion of colours from a large variety of planted blooms was simply impressive. From pastel to brilliant shades: poppy, iris, hydrangea, peony, rose, rhododendron, delphinium – these are but some of those that I can identify, and I’m telling you that I’m no botanist so who knows what other gems that are there!

And of course there are always the waterlilies, known as nymphéas in French. The water garden has been a wonderful spot for Monet to paint, and one of his most significant bequeath is the Grandes Décorations des Nymphéas at the Musée de L’Orangerie, where eight panoramic panels of the waterlilies are displayed in two rooms resembling the symbol of infinity.

Giverny Monet's waterlilies

Giverny Monet's waterlilies

Giverny Monet's waterlilies

Giverny Monet's waterlilies

Musée des Impressionnismes

A small museum mere minutes walk away from the Monet’s House, it houses a limited number of Impressionist paintings as its permanent collection known as Autour de Claude Monet. Additionally, a couple of temporary exhibitions are also hosted every season. At the moment, approximatey 130 pieces of works by the pointilist Paul Signac are on displayed in a few large rooms where photography is prohibited. Signac paintings really stand out when we step away from it to admire it from afar, and as this was the first place we visited in the morning, we had the place pretty much to ourselves to enable appreciative distance browsing of this collection.

What’s truly fun here is the presence of a short poppy hill behind the museum. Images of Monet’s poppy field (although his famous piece of his wife and son was painted in Argenteuil) immediately come to mind, and yes, like all good tourists, we fooled around to get our own poses at the poppy field. I won’t traumatise you with our goofiness, but if I may just share a handful of my favourite poppy shots ;)

Giverny poppy field

Giverny poppy field

Giverny poppy field

Giverny poppy field

Giverny Village

As mentioned earlier, the main thoroughfare of the village is rue Claude Monet, of which many visitors do walk from end to end, but that’s more or less it. However, little side streets are worth a detour too, for we found many interesting Monet-related landmarks along the way. Street named after Monet’s step-daughter who also became his daughter-in-law, a painter in her own right; different houses bought to accommodate Monet’s growing family; a property with specialised kitchen garden to provide the family with fresh fruits, vegetables and meats!

Giverny

Giverny

Giverny

Giverny

There are other important personnage in the village too, of course! We learned about Madame Baudy who opened the first hotel to accommodate American painters who had made their way to Giverny to “discover” Monet, where she lived and where the old hotel can be found today. We also got to know another enterprising dame, Madame Cénac, which ran the top-notch L’Hostellerie back in the days. There were other houses and villas snapped up by American painters who found themselves enamoured by Giverny. It was all rather fascinating.

Giverny

Giverny

Giverny

Giverny

It is also hard to miss the Église Sainte-Radegonde, which dated back to the 10th century. It is dedicated to Radegund of Thuringia, a former queen of the Francs, who left King Clotaire I and became a deaconess. The graveyard adjacent to the church is the burial site of Monet and many members of his family. A memorial commemorating British aviators who were killed during the wars, together with a grave of six aviators, can also be found.

Giverny church

Giverny

Giverny

Getting to Giverny from Paris and back

In order to make the most of our day-trip, we took a morning train from Gare St Lazare to Vernon which arrived just a little after 9am, and we left on the train just before 6pm from Vernon. The price of the train ticket varies between €20-30 for a return trip, and the travel time of a direct train is 45 minutes. The time that we had in Giverny roughly corresponded to the opening hours of the Monet’s House and the Musée des Impressionnismes.

There are shuttle buses that transport visitors between Vernon and Giverny which are timed to connect with the train arrival/departure; each journey costs €4 per person. Taxi between Vernon and Giverny costs €15 and makes a good alternative for a group of 4 people – it is slightly cheaper and there’s no waiting around for the other passengers of the shuttle bus.

All in all, it is extremely easy to visit Giverny from Paris, and one should experience in person – at least once – the landscape and the colours that captivated Monet (and many other artists) for decades. It is then many of their masterpieces become more alive, more real somehow. The century that stood between the creation of these works and now do quite magically disappear.

Giverny: full photoset on Flickr



Category: 101 Goals, Europe, France, Travel

Tagged: , , , , , , , , , , , ,

5 scribbles & notes

  1. Danielle says:

    Gosh, I really need to make sure I go to Giverny soon! Such beautiful pictures!

    • Lil says:

      Do go – during the week if possible if you want to avoid the crowd, else be there early. Not sure why I waited for this long… ;)

  2. med says:

    Wow….really beautifully colourful flowers…popping up randomly everywhere eh ;)

  3. […] REGION Official tourism: Paris.fr, Que Faire Paris, Paris Info, Centre des Monuments Nationaux Day trip from Paris: Monet’s Giverny – Lilian Lau Monet’s Gardens at Giverny – Gabrielle Blair, Design Mom Day trip from […]

Scribble a note to Danielle × Cancel reply


Notify me!

Enter your email address to subscribe to this blog and receive notifications of new posts by email.

Most read today