Being a garden lover, a visit to Monet’s Garden at Giverny, about an hour from Paris, had long been on my wish list. Visiting Giverny is a popular half-day excursion from Paris but I’d never been able to squeeze another day into my stays in the French capital to allow time for this.
When a drive to Honfleur in Normandy was on the itinerary this year, it made perfect sense to stop en-route and finally visit Monet’s Garden.
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Monet’s house and garden are located in Giverny, a small village just outside Vernon, about an hour’s drive from Paris. Vernon is situated on the Seine and is frequented by river cruise boats so if you can’t spare a full day to visit Giverny, a shorter excursion from your river cruise could be an option.
Our drive to Giverny was uneventful and we arrived around 11am. I had pre-purchased entry tickets via the garden’s own website so, after following the signs to the house from the car park, we were quickly through the entrance and inside the garden.
To learn more about Monet and how he led the Impressionist movement from the village of Giverny, you can join a walking tour of the village which visits Monet’s grave and includes fast-track entry to his house and garden. Click here for more information and to check prices.
If you won’t have a car, or you would prefer to visit Monet’s Garden Giverny on an organised coach tour, the most popular tours include:
- Half-day trip to Giverny from Paris – click here for more details and prices
- Full day in the footsteps of Monet at Giverny (from Paris) – click here for more details and prices
- Monet’s Garden Bike Tour from Paris – click here for more details and prices
- Giverny and Monet’s Garden by Train (from Paris) – click here for more details and prices
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Clos Normand and Monet’s House
There are two parts to the garden. The first garden, which you enter via the ticket office/gift shop, is a cottage-style garden called Clos Normand in front of Monet’s house. The garden was bursting with summer colour when we visited – dahlias, salvias, roses and foxgloves were just some of the beautiful flowers in full bloom.
Monet’s house, a pretty two-storey pink building trimmed with green shutters, is also open to the public. A museum, furnished as it was when the artist lived there, it also contains objects and art works owned by Monet.
The artist’s love of colour is evident as you wander through the house. A yellow dining room, a blue sitting room and a kitchen tiled wall-to-wall with Rouen tiles aren’t to everyone’s taste but they work well here.
The house itself smells a little musty (in my opinion!) but the views of Clos Normand from the upstairs bedroom windows make it worth visiting.
Monet’s famous waterlily pond
The second part of Monet’s garden, and probably the most famous, is the water garden featuring a small Japanese-style bridge over a large pond filled with water lillies. This garden is reached via a pedestrian tunnel under the main road.
The pond, ringed by large shady trees, is beautiful. A path around the pond offers lots of great vantage points to view the famous bridge but trying to get a photo of it without hordes of visitors on it, can be frustrating.
When is the best time to visit Monet’s Garden?
As I mentioned above, I visited in summer and the garden was a riot of colour.
In Spring, you can expect to see tulips, daffodils and forget-me-nots, as well as the first blooms of wisteria, azaleas and rhododendrons.
Autumn (Fall) sees the garden blooming with sage, asters, dahlias and rudbeckias and the cooler weather encourages the leaves of the weeping willows and liquidambar to change to their orangey-red hues.
Other things to do in Giverny
After about an hour visiting the gardens, we enjoyed a lovely al fresco lunch at one of the nearby cafes in Giverny.
The village is home to numerous cafes, art galleries and boutiques and is well worth some browsing time.
Where to stay in Giverny
There are a number of B&Bs in the village if you’re in no hurry to rush off. Two highly-rated Giverny B&Bs are:
- Les Jardins d’Helene – click here to check current prices
- Le Jardin des Plumes – click here to check current prices
For more Giverny accommodation options, click here to check current prices and availability.
Getting to Monet’s Garden at Giverny
Monet’s garden is located at Giverny, about 78 km from Paris. The exit to Vernon and Giverny (and Monet’s garden) is well signposted on the A13 highway.
Trains run between Paris and Vernon and take around 45 minutes. A shuttle bus operates between Vernon station and Giverny from Spring to Autumn (tickets available from the driver).
My tips for visiting Monet’s garden
- Allow at least one hour to visit the gardens and the house.
- Arrive early to avoid the crowds. When we arrived at 11am the crowds were manageable but by the time we left the garden (around 12.15pm), the line at the entrance was at least 100 metres long. If taking a photo of the bridge without the crowds is a high priority for you, I’d suggest arriving as soon as the doors open and heading straight to the water garden.
- Buy your ticket online before you go. Tickets purchased online can be used any day and it means you don’t have to queue up at the entrance to purchase your ticket. Entry is €9.50 per adult/senior and includes access to both gardens and Monet’s house. (2018 prices) Children and students cost €5.50. Children under 7 are free of charge.
Plan your visit to Monet’s Garden at Giverny
The house and garden are open from late March to November 1 each year from 9.30am to 6.00pm (Last entry is at 5.30pm).
- An e-Ticket management fee of €1.45 per order applies.
- Giverny online tickets are only valid for the date you select.
- Online tickets are not sold for the same day.
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