Having fallen in love with Paris during our previous visits we decided it was time to venture outside the city on a recent summer jaunt and take a day trip from Paris to Giverny to visit Monet’s Garden. Monet’s Gardens are home to the artist’s house, the stunning flower gardens and the infamous water lily pond which Monet painted so often.
Monet’s Gardens at Giverny
Monet fell in love with Giverny when he caught a glimpse as his train passed by in 1883 and eventually lived there for 43 years. We could understand why as we left a little piece of our hearts in the breathtakingly beautiful gardens during our magical visit!
How to get to Monet’s Gardens at Giverny
There are a number of ways to get to Monet’s Gardens
We drove from central Paris to Giverny and the journey took around 1 hour. Parking was available close to the entrance of Monet’s Gardens. We usually rent a car in France as it’s such a great country to explore via car – check rental car prices now!
Tour: If you don’t fancy driving there are lots of half and full day tours available from Paris to Giverny depending on what you want to see and how much time you have. This is one of the most popular ones – check prices here!
Take the train from Gare Saint-Lazare to Vernon and, from there, a bus leaves for Monet’s Garden in Giverny. The train takes approximately 45 minutes and the bus a further 15. It is also possible to get a taxi from the train station. Train schedules are available on the SNCF website.
Monet’s Garden day trip tip: We purchased advance tickets to Monet’s Garden and this allowed us to skip the queue at the entrance. Advance tickets are valid for the whole season from March to November and are definitely worth it to skip the queue.
History of Monet and Giverny
Monet lived in Giverny for 43 years until his death in 1926. He moved there with his wife Alice and their children and transformed the surrounding land. He planted an orchard, diverted a river to create the water gardens and built the Japanese bridge surrounded by willows and bamboo. The brightly coloured chaotic gardens are easily identifiable with Monet’s work and over 500,000 visitors make the trip to the gardens every year.
Best time to visit Monet’s Garden
Our first stop was the stunning flower garden in front of Monet’s House. According to the garden’s experts, the best time to visit is from April to October and our July visit was well-timed to see the gardens at their best. We were in awe of the explosion of coloured flowers and greenery and the garden was amazing in full bloom. Small paths line the flower beds allowing us to meander through the garden and get up close to the amazing colours and smells. Bliss!
Monet preferred for the flowers and colours to merge freely rather than have a very organised garden and, for us, this added to the beauty:
The scent of lavender was fab throughout the gardens:
Monet’s Garden Day Trip tip: Visit first thing in the morning or later in the day. We visited the Gardens late in the afternoon and, although it was crowded when we arrived, the crowds thinned out as closing time approached. As a result we didn’t have to queue to enter Monet’s house and even managed to capture some pictures without the crowds. Result!
The Water Lilies at Monet’s Garden
As stunning as the gardens are it was the water lilies and the Japanese bridge that had drawn us to Giverny. During our New York days we’d spend hours in the Met and MoMA where some of Monet’s most famous water lily prints are housed. Our Paris travels had taken us to Musee d’Orsay and Musee de l’Orangie which together hold an incredible collection of Monet’s water lily works. It was amazing to see the paintings brought to life as we stood in front of the water garden which had inspired them.
Excited! This way to the Water Lily pond!July and August are water lily season in Giverny and our July visit saw the water lilies approaching full bloom:So pretty!The pond is surrounded by a river meandering throughout the water gardens:
The Japanese Bridge at Monet’s Garden
Monet was a huge collector of Japanese prints and their influence is immediately obvious in the water gardens, none more so than at the famous Japanese bridge. The green bridge, surrounded by weeping willows and bright flowers, is one of the most beautiful places in the gardens and it’s easy to imagine Monet spending his days there.
Monet lived in his Giverny house until his death in 1926 and the furniture is exactly the same as it was then although the paintings are reproductions. The house consists of his bedroom, that of his wife Alice, a sitting room, a pantry, Monet’s first studio, his kitchen and a dining room. Monet chose all the colours in the house and the bright mix of yellows and blues are a fantastic reflection of his colourful tastes.
We’d arrived at the gardens late in the afternoon and it was almost closing time when we were ready to visit Monet’s House. The crowds had lessened considerably and there was no longer a queue for the house which was good news for us!
The pink and green house:Monet’s bedroom. His wife, Alice, had her own bedroom next door as was standard in those times:The incredible view of the gardens from the house:My dream! Monet’s fantastic yellow dining room:The awesome copper pots in the kitchen:
Monet’s Garden is one of the most beautiful places we’ve visited and really brought Monet’s paintings to life. We had an amazing afternoon exploring the gardens, the house and the water lily pond and were blown away with the breathtaking beauty of our surroundings. For us, it was totally worth the trip from Paris and we made our way back to the city with amazing memories of the house and gardens which provided Monet with such incredible inspiration.