One of the best day-trips Paris has to offer is a visit to Giverny, the historical property that was once home to the founder of French Impressionist painting, Claude Monet. The beautiful gardens of Giverny inspired Monet to paint such masterpieces as The Japanese Footbridge (1899) and The Water Lily Pond (1899), and a stroll through the grounds feels as though you have walked right into one of his famous dream-like paintings.
The gardens are composed of the Clos Normand and The Water Garden, and appear now as they did to Monet with their colorful flowerbeds, oriental vegetation, weeping willows, and water lilies. It’s a place to get lost in quiet contemplation, or to take beautiful photographs that capture the day you visited a legendary site of art history. The house has been restored to its former grandeur, and communicates the vibrant style of the painter. The exterior is pink with green shudders—bold colors that Monet chose to blend in with the surrounding gardens. The interior is equally as colorful, with a stunning blue sitting room, violet doors, cement tiles, and brightly painted antique furniture. The walls are adorned with Monet’s personal collection of Japanese prints and many reproductions of his own work. With its beauty and history combined, Giverny is truly a destination that should not be missed.
The trip to Giverny is less than an hour, which is why it makes such an ideal day-trip. It’s best to leave in the morning, enjoy the gardens and the close-by Impressionist Museum, and then have lunch in the nearby village of Vernon before heading back to Paris. Our guests often enquire about the best way to get there, so we’ve included the directions by train, which we believe are the most convenient.
To visit Giverny by train:
The closest train station to Giverny is Vernon, and we recommend leaving early, as the gardens are prettiest in the morning.
First, go to the Saint-Lazare Paris station.
Once inside, follow the signs to the ‘SNCF-Grandes Lignes’ exit and buy a ticket to Vernon. (If you catch the 8:22 a.m. train to Vernon, you will arrive there around 9:00, which is perfect.)
When you exit the station at Vernon, you will see a bus parked straight ahead and to the right. This bus will take you to and from Monet’s house and garden at Giverny. If you’re feeling even more adventurous, rent a bike from the café across the street from the train station—it’s only a 3-mile ride on a flat path.