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Claude Monet, the famous Impressionist artist, lived in Giverny France from 1883 until his death in 1926. His water lily ponds and gardens were the source of inspiration for many of his masterpieces.
The perfect trip to Giverny France, involves water lilies, stunning gardens, Monet’s home and the little town, Giverny, in Normandy to explore.
I visited in the summer of 2020. Due to the Coronavirus, the number of visitors was limited and there was a defined route through the gardens that had to be followed.
When things return to “normal” be sure to arrive early as this is a very popular destination for tourists and artists.
1. Where Is Giverny France?
Giverny is in Normandy, France. It is 75 km (47miles) from Paris, making it the perfect distance for a day trip.
Read More: 19 Wonderful Things To Do in Normandy France
2. How To Get To Giverny France
By Train To Giverny France:
From Paris, take the train from Gare Saint Lazare to Gare de Vernon, which is 6.5km (4 miles) from Giverny. It is a 55-minute train journey on a direct trip. Check schedules here.
Fun fact: All trains heading to Normandy leave from Gare Saint Lazare.
Shuttle From Gare De Vernon To Giverny
The shuttle leaves the train station, Gare de Vernon, 15 minutes after the train’s arrival. Buy your ticket onboard. Here is the schedule. Click on “Navette Giverny” for a look at the times. If you are going to Giverny in the afternoon, note the shuttle’s final return time from Giverny back to the train station. Cost: 10€ return
Cycle To Giverny France
Directly across from the train station are bicycle rental shops. You are in the gorgeous countryside of Normandy and the 6.5 km ride might be just what you are looking for.
3. The Water Lilies In The Giverny Gardens
“It took me time to understand my water lilies. I had planted them for the pleasure of it; I grew them without ever thinking of painting them.”Claude Monet
Claude Monet loved to garden and was also fascinated by Japanese culture and art. He created his Asian-inspired garden to include water lily ponds, bamboo, ginkgo trees and Japanese peonies. In 1899, he added a Japanese-style footbridge, which appears in 17 of his paintings. His 250 oil canvases of Les Nymphéas (Water Lilies) portray the natural beauty and serenity found in his garden.
As a gift to France at the end of WWI, Claude Monet offered a “monument to Peace” in the form of enormous water lily paintings. These gigantic Les Nymphéas hang in two oval rooms in the Musée de l’Orangerie in Paris.
Monet’s Water Lilies canvasses were created in the last thirty years of his life. They hang in museums all over the world, emanating a sense of calm and immersing the observer in nature through his magical use of light and portrayal of water and reflection.
Read More: Another artist completely inspired by the landscapes of France was Vincent Van Gogh in Auvers-sur-Oise. It is another perfect day trip from Paris.
4. The Colour Coordinated Flower Gardens
The “Clos Normand” is made of rectangular garden beds where flowers of singular colour bloom in unison. It is remarkable to glance across the expansive garden at the shades of colour.
Oriental poppies, peonies and roses bloom amongst cherry trees and Japanese apricot trees. Claude Monet created a veritable artist’s palette in his cherished garden.
5. Monet’s Home In Giverny France
Claude Monet lived at Giverny for over 40 years with his companion, Alice Hoschede.
Canvasses line the walls of the salon and the kitchen is magnificent, lined in blue tiles from Rouen.
The yellow dining room holds gorgeous blue and white earthenware and a collection of Japanese prints. Can you just imagine Monet and his friends gathered around the table in this cheerful room?
Read More: Visiting Mont Saint-Michel in Normandy
6. Haystacks & Apple Trees In Giverny France
Tucked amidst apple trees weighed down by their bounty, are golden mound of haystacks.
The haystacks themselves are eyecatching. Whoever sees hay bales like this anymore? Stepping into this field is like stepping into a portal. Straight back to 1890-1891 when Claude Monet painted 30 paintings of haystacks entitled, The Stacks at Giverny or the original French name, Les Meules à Giverny.
In his series of haystack paintings, Monet was compelled to capture the nuances of light at different times of the day and throughout the seasons. The results, of course, are magnificent.
The largest collections of Monet’s Les Meules à Giverny can be found in the Musée d’Orsay and the Musée Marmottan-Monet.
Read More: The Magnificent Soaring Cliffs of Etretat
7. The Museum Of Impressionism In Giverny France
The Musée Giverny Impressionnismes , dedicated to Impressionism, is well worth a visit.
There are two kinds of exhibitions at the museum, temporary ones and the permanent collection entitled “On Claude Monet.” The permanent exhibition examines Monet’s influence on his contemporaries and future generations of artists both in France and abroad.
Japanese artist Reiji Hiramatsu visited Giverny France in 1994 and became inspired by Claude Monet. A selection of his stunning reinterpretations of Claude Monet’s Water Lilies are displayed at the museum.
8. Restaurants And Galleries In Giverny France
The village of Giverny is a delight to wander through. Full of galleries, gift shops and restaurants it is the perfect place to flâner. Stop for a drink or meal at Restaurant Baudy where artists like Cézanne and Renoir used to gather. Le Jardin des Plumes offers a chance to eat at a Michelin starred restaurant on this perfect day trip! Or simply stop and enjoy a galette in the garden at La Capucine-Bistrot and Cantine.
Read More: How To Eat Oysters Like The French
9. The Church Saint-Radegonde
The village Church of Saint-Radegonde is at the end of the main road through Giverny France. This is Claude Monet’s beautiful final resting place.
More Travel Info…
Claude Monet’s House and Gardens are open from April 1 – November 1 from 9:30 a.m – 6:00 p.m. The Claude Monet Foundation’s website has a lot of helpful information, including a link to make your mandatory online booking.
Please note that the site is closed during the winter months
When Is The Best Time To Visit Giverny France?
I visited in August and of course, the gardens were a spectacle of blooms and colour. The Foundation’s website, under “Practical Information,” lists the flowers that are in bloom during each month.
The care and love that is put into maintaining Giverny results in every season being a feast for the senses and a veritable artist’s palette as Monet would have planned it.
Giverny France is an extremely popular destination, so if you can plan a visit in the spring or fall you may find there are less visitors.
Where Can I See Monet’s Artwork?
Should I Take A Tour To Giverny France?
I would highly recommend going to Giverny France independently so that you have the time to wander and enjoy the day at your own pace. If this doesn’t suit you, there are many organized tours from Paris, some visiting another location such as Versailles or Auver-sur-Oise on the same day.
I hope you love Giverny, France as much as I did!
Until next time,