Giverny is a quiet and picturesque village that is located only about 80 kms outside the city of Paris and can be easily reached either by car or train. With a car, it will only take an hour to reach Giverny [once outside central Paris]. However it is more convenient to take the train, from St Lazare station in Paris and this will take you about 45 minutes to get to Vernon. As soon as you get to Vernon, just follow the crowds and then hop on a bus that will take you to Giverny in about 20 minutes.
About Giverny Gardens
The flowers found at Claude Monet’s garden in Giverny actually resemble his paintings in that, most of them are brightly coloured with balanced but messy patches. He used flowers as his brush strokes and it was during his last 30 and most creative years that he spent cultivating his art and garden at Giverny.
When you visit Giverny, you’ll see that there is much to admire and you’ll see why so many people flock there. If you adore gardening, you will definitely admire the layout and elegant landscapes. Botanists will also find something to talk about in regards to the vast variety of plants found there. Art lovers will absolutely see paintings that they have always admired come to life. To visit, plan for between late March and the end of October, each month has an evolving carpet of flowers so that there is always colour until the 1st frost.
Tips for visiting
Springtime is considered the best time to visit Monet’s garden because at this time, the lily ponds are in bloom. This is also when you will find the Japanese bridge covered with wisteria and sunny days are experienced quite often. Since this is usually a busy time of the year, arriving early is recommended.
Booking online is advised since there are usually long queues at the gate. Note that online tickets are for a specific day, i.e. not valid on other dates.
When you get to St Lazare station – the trains to Vernon [final destination Rouen/Le Havre] leave to the right side of the station near the ticket office where you can buy your return ticket. Don’t forget to get your ticket stamped before you get on the train.
At Vernon the shuttle buses to Giverny coordinate with train arrivals [fare €8 round trip] – Follow the footstep on the pavement
When you return from Gardens: you need to coordinate your departure for your train back to Paris. However, more frequent buses run to the town of Vernon. This will give you a chance to walk through the town.
The first section, called Clos Normand consists of rows of flowers that are in all colours and shapes. You’ll see that negotiating your way through the garden is totally enjoyable and manageable even when crowded. You’ll also hear the birds singing as you enjoy your walk through the garden and the array of colours that are on display is simply stunning!
What you will notice from the start is that everyone automatically becomes a flower enthusiast, expert flower photographer and lover when in the garden. Admiring the beauty of the garden together with exploring and capturing memories is what you can do either digitally or the old-fashioned way.
Across the road, you can walk through trees and weeping willows and see the beautiful Japanese-inspired water garden with the famous water lilies that are immortalized in his paintings.
When you get back to Paris don’t forget to visit the Orangerie museum in the Tuileries garden – there you can immerse yourself in the giant painting of the lily pond [Nymphéas], that encircles two elliptical rooms. How that came to be and survive is a story in itself .
Monet had a cute home, which resembled his paintings and one outstanding thing about it is that it has cheerful and soft pastel colours. The living room is where you will find a number of paintings that have been put on display and see familiar scenes taken from parts of Europe and the garden that characterise the paintings. The Monet bedroom windows have gorgeous views and you can imagine what it was like waking up to that on a bright spring day, simply breathtaking! As for the kitchen – wow! Have you ever seen a stove like this, not to mention the beautiful tile work?
The Giverny and Vernon villages have museums and art galleries that you can indulge in after leaving the Monet house and garden. Every Saturday there is large open-air market in Vernon if you want to start the day early [8h to13h]. The A.G Poulain Museum has 2 original Monets on display; the “Nympheas” 1908 and “Effet de soleil couchant à Pourville” 1896
Spend a whole day touring the gardens and village; you will be glad that you did!