Known less for its name and more for the lily ponds that inspired Claude Monet's iconic paintings, Giverny is a provincial gem located just a short train journey from Paris. The tiny village, home to only 500 inhabitants, is an area of outstanding natural beauty, whose landscapes are comprised of ponds smothered in water lilies, weeping willow trees, and quaint painted bridges. Escape from Paris' metropolitan mayhem and spend the day in Giverny, a heaven for fans of Impressionism—you're sure to come back full of inner peace.
The best way to visit Giverny is on a day trip from Paris. All tours cover Monet's home (Maison et Jardins de Claude Monet), a beautifully preserved pastel-pink house flanked by gardens filled with flowers and a famous Japanese bridge, and the Museum of Impressionisms (Musee des Impressionnismes), dedicated to various forms of Impressionist painting.
Perfect for travelers short on time, many tours combine Giverny and the house of Monet with a visit to the Palace of Versailles or Auvers-sur-Oise, the village in which Vincent van Gogh spent his final days. Alternatively, more active travelers can take Monet's garden bike tour and pedal down Rue Claude Monet past an array of water gardens, flower beds, and the cemetery where Monet was laid to rest.
Things to Know Before You Go
- A Giverny tour is ideal for art enthusiasts.
- There are no ATMs or currency exchange bureaus in the village, so be sure to bring cash.
- Although accommodations are available, the village's small size means availability is limited; book in advance if you plan on staying overnight.
How to Get to Giverny
Giverny is about 45 miles (75 kilometers) from Paris by road. To get there by train from the city, catch the SNCF from the Saint-Lazare Paris train station to Vernon on the Paris-Rouen-Le Havre line. From Vernon you can catch a local bus, or opt to hire a taxi or bicycle. The majority of tours include round-trip train or minibus transport from Paris; the journey, along the banks of the Seine River and through the sunflower fields of Normandy, is a feast for the eyes.
When to Get There
Between November and Easter weekend, Monet's house, along the majority of Giverny's restaurants and guesthouses, are closed to the public, rendering a visit to the village far less rewarding than at other times of year. Although very busy in the summer months, large tour groups fail to make the hamlet any less beautiful.