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

Last updated on October 19, 2022 by Sophie Nadeau

Best visited in the spring and summer season, when the flowers are in bloom and blue skies are almost daily occurrences, the small Normandy village of Giverny is a must-see when in France. Here is yours ultimate guide to visiting 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 celebrity: Giverny is where Monet spent his final years and where he created the kind of garden that would make even the greenest thumb green with envy.

Claude Monet's house, Giverny

An introduction to Giverny

Just a short 45 minute train ride from Paris St Lazare is the famous Monet Foundation Garden at Giverny. Made famous by the French Impressionist, who needs no further introduction, the Monet Garden in Giverny can be seen as the backdrop to countless works by Monet.

Claude Monet made Giverny his home in 1883 when he bought the iconic house (which was once abandoned) and remodeled the gardens themselves. 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 that would be full of color all year round. He called the garden his “greatest masterpiece” and immortalized it in the equally famous paintings that now hang in the Orangerie Museum in Paris.

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

A living painting

Paintings of the estate began to appear publicly in the 1890s, with a strong focus on water, the garden’s landscaping and the famous water lilies (or ‘Nympheas’ as they are called in French). Monet painted the gardens for 40 years until his death in 1926.

One of Monet’s most famous panoramic incarnations of his water lilies is on permanent display at Paris’ Orangery Museum in the Jardin des Tuileries, a stone’s throw from the Louvre.

When is the best time to visit Giverny?

The house itself features a stunning pink and green facade adorned with Virginia creeper vines, adding a beautiful blanket of green in the spring and summer months and a hint of deep red foliage in the fall.

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

As such, it’s really impossible to say when is the best time of year to visit the Monet Gardens in Giverny. However, my personal favorite is probably April to May when the garden first comes alive with colour.

That, or when the water lilies peak in July. Just note that summer is also the most popular time to visit Monet’s Giverny, so you won’t get as much of the place as you would if you visited in autumn.

get there

As mentioned, the Monet Gardens are very easy to get to from Paris and can certainly be done as part of a day trip if you just want to visit the gardens themselves. However, the region has much to offer and there is an abundance of things to see and do in this lower part of Normandy.

Think medieval market towns, 1000 year old fortress ruins and stunning rural landscapes to name just a few of the region’s attractions. Notable highlights near Giverny include La Roche Guyon (this town, dominated by a crumbling fortress, looks straight out of a picture book) and the Gothic Évreux Cathedral.

If you actually want to travel from Paris to Giverny for a day, I recommend taking the TER from St Lazare, which is a few stops from Vernon-Giverny train station. The train journey takes less than an hour.

Tickets cost between 9 and 16 euros and can be bought either at the station or online via websites such as Omio or SNCF connect. If you have a Navigo weekly or monthly pass, you save a lot of money on the trip. You just need to book a ticket for the last leg of the train journey from Mantes-la-Jolie to Vernon-Giverny, which only costs 4 euros and can be bought online in advance.

Upon arrival in the town of Vernon, where Vernon-Giverny train station is located, you can get to the Monet Garden either by taxi, shuttle bus or the lovely tourist train, which costs just 10 euros round trip.

When staying in the Giverny area you are spoiled for choice, from hotels to holiday homes and hotels of all kinds. Personally, I stayed in an Airbnb in the neighboring village of Limetz-Villez, just a 5-minute drive from the Monet Garden.

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However, for those looking for a more luxurious stay, Hotel Domaine de la Corniche comes highly recommended. Built in 1908, it is very charming and exudes Belle Epoque glamour. Check prices and availability here.

Book your ticket

It is recommended to purchase your entrance tickets to the Monet Gardens in advance. They cost a very reasonable 11 euros 50 cents and can easily be purchased through the Monet Foundation official website.

The only downside to this is the fact that you have to select a specific arrival time, which can add some inflexibility to your schedule. To be honest, I recommend being there when it opens at 9:30am for the best chance of avoiding the inevitable crowds this landmark draws.

Those who want to delve even deeper into the history of Giverny Garden can book a guided tour of the garden. This tour lasts about an hour and a half and includes a skip-the-line entrance ticket in the price of the tour. Check all the details here.

Take a guided tour of Giverny

Of course, if you’d rather take care of all the transport details, there’s a wide range of tours from Paris to Giverny, with even more choice taking place during the summer months:

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

Day tour Versailles-Giverny with lunch at Moulin de Fourges: If you want to see two of Paris’ greatest side trips as part of a single excursion, then this is the tour for you. Highlights include a 3-course lunch with wine at the 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 discover two different artist houses in one day, you can book this day trip that includes a visit to both Auvers-sur-Oise and Giverny. Check prices and availability here.

Where to eat in Giverny

at Giverny’s Ginguette You will find a very pleasant terrace bordering the same Epte creek that feeds the pool in Monet’s garden. With very decent French brasserie food and reasonably priced drinks to be enjoyed in the sunshine, it is a popular spot for those visiting Giverny even in spring and summer. I liked it so much I’ve been twice!

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Au Coin du Pain’tre is a delightful and family-style bakery come-and-go restaurant serving coffee and tea, good quality baguette sandwiches and seasonal baked goods. I enjoyed their pear and pistachio tart and would return to Giverny just for another slice.

What Giverny and its region have to offer

Coming by train from Paris will take you straight to the town of Vernon, which is definitely worth a stroll. Perhaps a good place to grab a bite to eat before or after visiting the gardens, the town borders the River Seine and has many attractions not to be missed.

These include the Vieux Moulin de Vernon with its neighboring Chateau de Tourelles, which looks like it belongs in the pages of a picture book, the Tour des Archives, the Chateau de Bizy and the stunning Collegiale Notre Dame de Vernon.

Museum of the Impressionists

For a deeper look into the world of Impressionism, I recommend a visit to the nearby Giverny Impressionists’ Museum, where you can learn more about the history and importance of this movement and how this symbiotic relationship between Giverny and artists came to be and continues to this day .

The Impressionist Museum is open daily from 10:00 a.m. to 6:00 p.m. in the high season (May-September), in the low season with reduced opening hours, admission costs 10 euros.

Monet met fellow art legends Cezanne, Renoir, Rodin and others at the local Hotel Brady. You could even call it “Cafe de Flore” of Impressionism (the Parisian café became famous as a meeting place for literary masters such as Ernest Hemingway).

In fact, it was the limelight that Monet’s arrival at Giverny threw up that prompted the original hotel owner, Madame Baudy, to open what is now a historic address. It was the beginning of a new era and enabled the birth of this new Impressionist colony.

The street on which Monet’s house and gardens are located was later renamed Rue Claude Monet in his honor, a testament to the influence he had not only on Impressionism but also on the quiet rural village of Giverny.

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