Everything You Need to Know
La Maison et Jardins de Claude Monet is one of the most romantic places to visit in France. When walking through the garden it feels like you’re walking through a Monet painting in real life. We don’t think we’ve ever been in such a beautiful garden. As Giverny is only 80 km away from Paris, many people visit Giverny and Monet’s House and Gardens on a day trip from Paris. However, since Giverny is located in the beautiful French region of Normandy in the romantic Seine Valley, adding Giverny to a Seine Valley road trip itinerary is also a very good idea. Nevertheless, Monet’s House and Gardens are a must-see. In this blog post, we’re sharing everything you need to know for a successful visit to Giverny!
The French painter Monet is considered the founder of impressionist painting. Nature is the main subject of his paintings and he always painted it as he perceived it. His paintings are full of color and very dreamy. Monet lived and painted in his house in Giverny for 43 years, from 1883 until his death in 1926. He spent years transforming the gardens into a place that inspired him. If you’ve seen Monet’s paintings, you’ll notice that a lot of his paintings are of his house and gardens.
The gardens are divided in two. There’s the “Clos-Normand” garden in front of the house with thousands of different flowers, and the Water Garden with the waterlily pond and the Japanese bridge. The waterlily pond is located across a regional road, but fortunately it’s accessible through an underground pass.
Some of the rooms in the House are restored and open to the public. The first room you visit is the sitting room. From there you can enter Monet’s first studio which he used until 1899. After that year, the studio was used as a sitting room where Monet displayed some of his paintings. Then onto the first floor, where the bedrooms are located. The first bedroom is Monet’s. The visit continues through the dressing room into Alice’s bedroom, Monet’s second wife. The last bedroom found on the first floor is the bedroom of Blanche Hoschédé-Monet, the step-daughter and daughter-in-law of Monet (Blanche was the daughter of Alice and married Monet’s eldest son Jean). Blanche’s bedroom is the prettiest of them all. The stairs lead you back to the ground floor, where you can walk into the bright yellow dining room and beautiful kitchen with classic blue and white tiles from Rouen. The last three rooms of the house are definitely the highlights of the house.
Opening hours and tickets
Monet’s House and Gardens are open from the beginning of April until the end of October. The opening hours are from 09:30 until 18:00 each day. The ticket fee in 2022 is €11 for adults when buying tickets on-site. You can buy tickets online through three vendors:
Buying tickets online is a bit more expensive than buying tickets on-site. See Tickets sells adult tickets for €12, Ticketmaster and FNAC for €13. On top of that, all online vendors add a small administration fee of €1-3 when buying tickets. If a specific time slot you want to visit is unavailable at one ticket vendor, it might be still available at the other vendors. We bought two adult tickets through Ticketmaster for a total price of €27,45. Check out the website of Fondation Monet for more information.
Best season to visit Monet’s House and Gardens
The gardens are beautiful during every month from spring until autumn. When we visited the gardens in May, the wisteria and tulips were in full bloom, but unfortunately it was too early for the waterlilies. On the website of Fondation Monet, you can find a “Calender of flowering” to check which flowers (in general) bloom in which month. Be aware that it always depends on the weather conditions when the flowers exactly bloom.
How to enjoy the gardens to the fullest
Monet’s House and Gardens are extremely popular tourist attractions, both to French and international tourists. If you want the best experience of these stunning gardens, make sure you get in when the gardens open at 09:30. This is also the best time to take photos. Therefore, we’d recommend buying tickets online in advance and be at the right gate around 09:15. Check your tickets for the right entrance gate and follow the signs. When we were there, the gardens opened slightly earlier at 09:22.
When in, we’d recommend heading to the Clos-Normand garden first. As there should still only be a handful of people in the garden, make sure to enjoy the serenity to the fullest. Take the time to take all the photos you want and enjoy your beautiful surroundings. Don’t head into the house yet. Once you’ve seen enough of the Clos-Normand garden, head over to the underway pass to get to the Water Garden. You’ll notice that it’s getting more crowded by the minute. Compared to the Clos-Normand garden, which is full of flowers not higher than 50 cm, it’s a bit easier to take photos in the Water Garden while waiting for the crowds to pass or blocking out the crowds with the taller plants and trees. The Japanese Bridge is the most popular photo spot in the garden. If you want to take a photo of the bridge you’d probably have to wait a bit until the crowds passed or you’d have to be a bit creative with the angles.
When we were done enjoying the Water Garden and headed back into the Clos-Normand garden at 10:00, there were a lot of crowds already. There was a constant line of people walking through the gardens and with so many people chatting, it didn’t feel very peaceful anymore. We headed into Monet’s House which was filled with people in every room. Nevertheless, the house was beautiful with its colorful rooms, gorgeous vases and other accessories, and the Japanese prints that inspired Monet.
Our experience of Monet’s House and Gardens was absolutely amazing, but we can imagine that the experience feels completely different when you’re visiting later in the day among the crowds. Therefore, we emphasize that visiting Monet’s House and Gardens as early as possible is the best way to enjoy all the beauty to the fullest.
The village of Giverny
Giverny is a tiny village surrounded by nature. After visiting Monet’s House and Gardens it’s not a bad idea to take a stroll through the village and enjoy the pretty houses. Close to Monet’s House and Gardens is the Museum of Impressionism, showcasing work from impressionist artists around the world. Check their website if there’s an exhibition you’re interested in. We didn’t check out the museum so we can’t share our experiences. We read online that if you’re specifically interested in Monet’s work, you’re better off visiting Musée d’Orsay, Musée de l’Orangerie or Musée Marmottan Monet in Paris.
As we visited Monet’s House and Garden in the morning, we decided to stay in Giverny for lunch. There are multiple restaurants open for lunch in the village and most of them have beautiful outdoor seating areas surrounded with plants. While walking along Rue Claude Monet, we discovered a large field of grass endlessly covered by daisies which looked very inviting for a picnic. Close to the grass fields we found a shop selling sandwiches called Gourmandises de Giverny, where we bought two sandwiches and drinks. With our lunch, we headed back to the grass field, laid down our plaid and had a lovely picnic in the spring sun. It was a perfect lunch. The grass field is surrounded by a fence, so it might not always be open.
How to get to Giverny
By public transport
Many people visit Giverny on a day trip from Paris. While it’s not the most convenient way, it’s possible to reach Giverny by train from Paris. From station Paris Saint-Lazare, you can take the TER train in the direction of Rouen Rive Droite and get off at station Vernon-Giverny. The train ride takes around 50 minutes. From spring to autumn, there are shuttle buses that take you from the train station Vernon-Giverny to the parking lot nearby Maison de Claude Monet in 20 minutes. From the parking lot it’s a 5-minute walk to Monet’s house. Check out this website for the shuttle bus time table. If you don’t want to take the shuttle bus, you can also opt for a taxi.
The train station of Vernon-Giverny is also well-connected to the city of Rouen, the capital of Normandy. Rouen is a beautiful city filled with pretty half-timbered houses and the second tallest cathedral in the world, the Rouen Cathedral. Fun fact: Monet’s painting of Rouen Cathedral is actually one of his most famous paintings. We can absolutely recommend visiting Rouen. The TER train from Gare de Rouen to the station of Vernon-Giverny takes around 40 minutes.
The most convenient way to travel to Giverny is by car. The parking lots near Monet’s House are free of charge. We parked our car at this parking lot, which was completely empty in the morning. If you’re visiting in the afternoon, it might be a bit harder to find a spot. From the city center of Paris, it’s a 1-1,5-hour drive to Monet’s House and Gardens, depending on traffic. From the city center of Rouen, it’s a 1-hour drive.
How long to stay in Giverny
As mentioned before, Giverny is a very small village. Besides Monet’s House and Gardens, the Museum of Impressionism and taking a stroll through the village, there is not much to do. If you’re visiting Giverny by car, you’re able to get to Giverny early in the morning and you have plenty of time to see the entire village in half a day. However, if you’re visiting Giverny by public transport, you might consider staying the night. The first shuttle bus from Vernon-Giverny station arrives at 09:35 on weekends and at 09:45 on weekdays at the parking lot in Giverny. This means that you miss the first time slot of 09:30 and the most peaceful time of the day in the gardens. If you travel to Giverny in the late afternoon and stay the night in a hotel or bed & breakfast, you’re able to get to Monet’s House and Gardens before the first time slot. When staying the night in Giverny, you can also enjoy the serenity of the village without all the crowds in the evening and early morning. We bet that’s a very nice experience. While we wandered through Giverny, we spotted some very pretty bed & breakfasts that looked very inviting.
We hope we’ve inspired you to visit these beautiful gardens in France. Are Giverny and Monet’s House and Gardens on your travel bucket list? Let us know in the comments below!
Be sure to check out: