For my 12th birthday, my parents gave me the book, Linnea in Monet’s Garden. I immediately fell in love with the tale of this young heroine exploring the seemingly magical flora of the famous French impressionist. For years, I dreamed of
going to Monet’s Garden, just like Linnea, and my passion for the arts continued to blossom. When I (finally) got to Paris at the age of 19, one of my top priorities was paying a visit to this glorious place.
Giverny and the nearby town of Vernon are only 50 miles outside of Paris. They are a perfect location for a Paris day-trip. Each year, more than 500,000 international visitors flock to Monet’s garden during the seven months (April to October) that it is open. Monet’s property has been open to the public since 1980, after a massive restoration of both the home (exterior and original furniture) and the grounds, made possible by generous donors (mostly Americans).
Two of my favorite locations on the grounds are the Water Garden and the Japanese Bridge, subjects of some of Monet’s most famous paintings. Both of these elements were designed after the Japanese gardens in the prints Monet collected. Monet had the pond for the Water Garden dug in 1893, ten years after his arrival at Giverny. The Japanese bridge, made of beech wood, was originally built by a local craftsman and later reconstructed by a firm in Vernon (shortly before the grounds were opened to the public).
Useful information for your visit:
The gardens are open April-October, Sunday 9:30- 6:00pm (last entry at 5:30pm); closed Mondays and November- March. Consult the Fondation Monet website for more information.
Its easy to take a Paris day trip to Giverny.
By car: From Paris’s Périphérique (the highway that rings the city), follow the A-13 toward Rouen, get off at Vernon, follow Centre Ville signs, then follow the signs to Giverny.
By train: Take the Rouen-bound train from Paris’ Gare St. Lazare station to Vernon (6/day, more on Sat, about 25€ round-trip, 45 minutes one-way, 4 miles from Giverny).
From the Vernon train station to Monet’s garden (4 miles one-way), you can go by bus, taxi, bike, or on foot. The Vernon–Giverny bus meets every train for the 15-minute run to Giverny and takes you back in time to meet every return train to Paris.
If you miss the bus, you can always take a taxi (12€ for up to 3 people, 13€ for 4 one-way). It’s easy to find a taxi in front of the train station.
You can also rent bikes at L’Arrivée de Giverny, across from the train station (12€). Follow a paved bike path that runs from Vernon along an abandoned railroad (it takes roughly 30 min to get to Giverny). Of course, you can also walk to Giverny following the same path.
Don’t miss this exciting Paris day trip to Monet’s Garden in Giverny.
Written by Jen Westmoreland Bouchard for EuropeUpClose.com