The Ultimate Guide to Visiting Giverny: Monet’s House and Garden

Last updated on October 19, 2022 by Sophie Nadeau

Best visited in spring and summer when the flowers are in bloom and blue skies are almost daily, the small Norman village of Giverny is a must-see in France. here is your ultimate guide to visit Monet’s Givernyas well as travel tips, and how to visit Giverny as a day trip from Paris.

Giverny is one of the most popular day trips from Paris thanks to its impressive fame: Giverny is where Monet chose to spend his final years and where he created the kind of garden that makes people swoon envy even the greenest thumbs.

Claude Monet's house, Giverny

Presentation of Giverny

Just 45 minutes by train from Paris St Lazare is the iconic Monet Foundation garden in Giverny. Made famous by the French impressionist artist who needs no introduction, Monet’s garden at Giverny can be seen as the backdrop for countless of Monet’s works.

Claude Monet made Giverny his home in 1883, when he bought the iconic house (which was formerly abandoned) and remodeled the gardens himself. He created a small pool of water by manipulating the course of the Epte stream.

Monet also planted hundreds of flowers with the intention of having a garden full of color all year round. He called the garden his “greatest masterpiece” and immortalized them in the equally famous paintings that are now on display in the Musée de l’Orangerie in Paris.

The garden has a strong Japanese influence, with the instantly recognizable Japanese-style green bridge crossing the water basin which is the jewel in the crown of the garden. The most famous painting of this bridge is undoubtedly “Japanese Footbridge” which hangs in the National Gallery of Art in Washington.

A living painting

Paintings on the property began to appear publicly in the 1890s, with particular emphasis on water, garden landscaping, and the famous water lilies. (or ‘nympheas’ as they are called in French). Monet continued to paint the gardens for 40 years, until his death in 1926.

One of Monet’s most famous panoramic incarnations of his water lilies can be seen as a permanent exhibit at the Musée de l’Orangerie de Paris in the Tuileries Garden, a stone’s throw from the Louvre Museum.

When is the best time to visit Giverny?

The house itself has a stunning pink and green facade, adorned with Virginia creepers, adding a gorgeous blanket of greenery in the spring and summer and a splash of dark red leaves in the fall.

In spring, the garden is dotted with lilac wisteria and the pink blush of peonies, with vibrant geraniums and roses making their grand entrance in June, and spectacular dahlias creating a crescendo of color in late summer and early of autumn.

As such, it’s really impossible to say when is the best time of year to visit Monet’s Gardens at Giverny. My favorite, however, is probably April-May when the garden starts to come alive with color.

That, or when the water lilies reach their peak in July. Just note that summer is also the most popular time to visit Monet’s Giverny, so you won’t have as much room to yourself as if you were visiting in the fall.

Getting There

As mentioned earlier, Monet’s Garden is very easily accessible from Paris and can certainly be done as part of a day trip if you just want to visit the gardens themselves. That said, the region has a lot to offer and there is plenty to see and do in this lower part of Normandy.

Think medieval market towns, 1000-year-old ruined fortresses and breathtaking pastoral landscapes, to name just a few attractions in the region. Particular highlights near Giverny include La Roche Guyon (presided over by a ruined fort, this town looks like it’s been taken straight out of a storybook) and the Gothic cathedral at Evreux.

If you are actually looking to go to Giverny for the day from Paris, I advise you to take the TER from St Lazare which is a few stops from Vernon-Giverny station. The train journey takes less than an hour.

Tickets range from 9 to 16 euros and can be purchased at the station or online via sites such as Omio or SNCF connect. A big saving for the journey is that if you have a weekly or monthly Navigo pass, you just need to book a ticket for the last leg of the train journey from Mantes-la-Jolie to Vernon-Giverny, which will only cost 4 euros and can be purchased online, in advance.

When you arrive in the town of Vernon, where the Vernon-Giverny train station is located, you can then go to Monet’s Garden by taxi, shuttle or via the rather adorable little tourist train which costs only 10 euros each way -return.

During your stay in the Giverny region, you will be spoiled for choice, from hotels to “gîte” holiday homes and hotels of all sizes. Personally, I stayed in an Airbnb in the nearby village of Limetz-Villez, just a 5 minute drive from Monet’s Garden.

However, for those looking for a more luxurious stay, the hotel Corniche area is highly recommended. Built in 1908, it is very charming and exudes Belle Epoque glamour. Check prices and availability here.

Booking your ticket

It is recommended to purchase your entrance tickets for Monet’s Garden in advance. They are priced at a very reasonable 11 euros 50 cents and can be purchased easily through the official Monet Foundation website.

The only drawback is the fact that you have to choose a specific arrival time, which can lead to some rigidity in your schedule. That said, truth be told, I recommend being there for the 9:30 am opening time to have the best chance of avoiding the inevitable crowds that this monument attracts.

Those wishing to delve deeper into the history of the garden at Giverny might consider booking a guided garden tour. This tour lasts approximately 1.5 hours and includes a skip-the-line entrance ticket in the tour price. Check all the details here.

Take a guided tour of Giverny

Of course, if you prefer to have all the transport details taken care of for you, there is a wide range of tours from Paris to Giverny, with even greater choice during the summer months:

Half-day visit of Monet’s garden from Paris: This half-day tour is well narrated and includes 3 hours to explore Monet’s Water Garden, Monet’s House and Claude Monet’s Tomb. Check prices and availability here.

Versailles-Giverny day trip with lunch at the Moulin de Fourges: If you’re looking to see two of Paris’ greatest parallel journeys in a single excursion, then this is the tour for you. Highlights include a 3-course lunch with wine at Moulin de Fourges and a guided tour of Versailles. Check prices and availability here.

Small-Group Giverny and Van Gogh’s Room in Auvers from Paris: If you want to see two different artists’ houses in one day, you can book this day trip which includes a visit to both Auvers-sur-Oise and Giverny. Check prices and availability here.

Where to eat in Giverny

To The Ginguette of Giverny you can find a very pleasant terrace which borders the same stream of the Epte which feeds the swimming pool of the Jardin de Monet. With very decent French brasserie food and reasonably priced drinks that can be enjoyed in the sun, it’s a popular spot for those also visiting Giverny in the spring and summer. I liked it so much that I went there twice!

At the corner of Pain’tre is a lovely, family-run bakery and restaurant, where you can get coffee and tea, good quality baguette sandwiches and seasonal pastries. I enjoyed their pear and pistachio tart and would go back to Giverny just to have another slice.

What Giverny and its region have to offer

If you come by train from Paris, you will arrive directly in the town of Vernon, which is definitely worth a visit. Perhaps a good place to stop for a bite to eat before or after going to the gardens, the town borders the Seine and is full of must-see sights.

These include the Vieux Moulin de Vernon with its neighbor the Château de Tourelles which looks like it belongs in the pages of a storybook, the Tour des Archives, the Château de Bizy and the magnificent Collégiale Notre Dame de Vernon.

Impressionist Museum

For a deeper dive into the world of Impressionism, I would recommend a visit to the nearby Giverny Museum of Impressionists, which will allow you to learn more about the history and significance of this movement, and how this symbiotic relationship with Giverny and the artists was born. be and continues to evolve to this day.

The Museum of the Impressionists is open daily in high season (May-September) between 10 a.m. and 6 p.m., with reduced hours off season, and admission costs 10 euros.

Monet would meet fellow art legends Cézanne, Renoir, Rodin and others at the local Hotel Brady. You could even call it the ‘Café de Flore’ Impressionism (the Parisian café made famous as a meeting place for literary masters like Ernest Hemingway).

In fact, it was the light that Monet’s arrival shed on Giverny that led the owner of the original hotel, Madame Baudy, to open this now historic address. It is the beginning of a new era which allows this new colony of impressionists to be born.

The road where Monet’s house and garden are located was later renamed Rue Claude Monet in his honor, testifying to the impact he had, not only on Impressionism but also on the peaceful rural village of Giverny.

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