How to Visit Monet’s Gardens in Giverny, France
For over 20 years, Monet used his Giverny garden as a subject to capture the changes in atmosphere and light in his Impressionist landscapes. Much like his paintings, the artist preferred a garden style that felt free and unrestrained: spiked snapdragons, dizzying dahlias, and spindly poppies were just a few enchanting flowers I encountered during a summer visit. Though his garden may seem wild, years of planning went into shaping his subjects before he could paint them. He thoughtfully grouped plants according to size and color and researched their peak growth so he’d have perpetual blooms from spring through autumn.
WATCH OUR QUICK TOUR OF MONET’S GIVERNY
There are many companies that offer half-day group tours to Monet’s estate from Paris, the downside is that they often arrive en masse and visitors often find themselves shoulder-to-shoulder with other tourists during the visit. Luckily, Giverny is a pretty easy and affordable side trip to make from France’s capital armed with the knowledge below:
Best Time to Go
April through early October is the best period to experience the garden in peak form. Allow at least half of a day to tour Giverny.
Giverny is a popular destination so it’s best to get there as the estate opens at 9:30 am. As the day progresses, it becomes increasingly crowded and you’ll have less opportunity to wander freely or tour his home without feeling claustrophobic. Visit Fondation Monet’s page for a list of seasonal blooms.
From March 25 to November 1st
9:30 am to 06:00 pm
Last admission: 05:30 pm
For up-to-date information on hours and admission prices, visit Monet Fondation’s website.
“My garden is my most beautiful masterpiece” –Claude Monet
Transportation from Paris
From Paris’ Gare Saint Lazare, purchase a ticket to Vernon. If it’s too early to buy from an agent, tickets can be bought at the electronic kiosks on the top floor. The train departs from the right side of the tracks in “SNCF – Grandes Lignes” section of the station.Vernon is on the train line that heads in the direction of Rouen/Le Havre. The trip takes about 45 minutes.
Once you arrive at Gare de Vernon, walk outside the station to the bus stop to grab the shuttle to Giverny; they are timed to leave 15 minutes after the arrival of the Paris train and cost around 4 euro each way. Monet’s estate is about 7 km from the station and an alternative – and more scenic way – to get there is by renting a bicycle across the street from the station.
- Monet’s House: The artist’s residence is worth a visit to see how Monet surrounded himself with inspiration both inside and outside his home. The decor consists of vibrant colors, playful patterns, and rooms filled with beautiful Japanese prints and paintings by Impressionist contemporaries. Tour it before it gets too crowded, the tight quarters makes it difficult to navigate with lots of people.
- Clos Normand: The hectare-large garden next to the house displays a wild array of flowers that Monet organized into groups according to color, volume, and height.
- The Japanese Bridge at the Water Garden: This tranquil site is the subject of Monet’s famous “Nymphéas” water lily series. After returning to Paris, visit the Orangerie museum to experience the pinnacle of his studies: giant, mural landscapes of the Water Garden scenes.Clos Normand garden
There are many tourist cafés and snack shops around the village. The Musée des Impressionnismes is a short stroll away from Monet’s home and a discounted combination ticket can be purchased with the entrance to Monet’s home – allow an hour to visit the museum. There are some pretty gardens around the museum and town that are free to roam. Nature-lovers with extra time on their hands will also find trails that wind through the hills above Giverny.
Which gardens have inspired you on your travels? Share your experience with other travelers in the comments section below.
Lara was instilled with the travel bug at an early age and has visited over 25 countries. Her mother’s job as a flight attendant enabled a childhood of discovering the world. She recently relocated to Seoul, South Korea, where she hopes to explore some of Asia for the few couple of years. In addition to being the founding editor of En Route Traveler, Lara also works as a freelance graphic designer. In her spare time, she contributes as a Local Expert to AFAR, is an ambassador for FIG Clothing, enjoys vegetarian cuisine, instructs Zumba, practices yoga, dabbles in photography and, of course, travels as much as possible.