Giverny is a small French village 80 km to the west of the capital city Paris, within the valley of the river Seine and the northern region of Upper Normandy. The village is best known as the rural retreat of the Impressionist painter Claude Monet. Most attractions are closed for winter (November-March).
Monet moved to Giverny in 1883 with his family, including his second wife and 8 children, living and painting here until his death in 1926. The village surroundings and the gardens of his house formed a great part of the inspiration and subject matter for his paintings. It was after the move to Giverny that Monet began his famous Séries of paintings, repeatedly rendering haystacks, cathedrals and waterlilies from his garden pond in his own unique Impressionist style.
Take the A13 from Paris to Bonnières, where you turn onto the D201 which takes you across the river Seine, through Bennecourt and about 4 km of countryside until you reach Giverny. Look for signs.
Take the train from Paris Gare St-Lazare to Vernon (45 min; see SNCF): then take a taxi, bus, or bicycle (€6.50 return ticket) to the village. The bus service is timed to link with the train and a combined ticket can be obtained at Gare St-Lazare. When traveling alone, the combined train and bus tickets are the easiest choice.
The bicycle can be rented from a cafe right outside the train station and is indicated by a sign. The rental fee is around €12 and the bike ride is about 4 mi (6.4 km) with a map provided by the cafe.
Bus and minibus trips run from Paris to Giverny as a half-day tour and to Giverny and Versailles as a full-day tour every day except Monday.
It is always best to arrive early in Giverny in order to avoid the throngs of bus-driven tourists who arrive later in the morning and keep coming all day.
- 1 Monet's House (Fondation Claude Monet), 84 rue Claude Monet, ☏ . April-October: daily 09:30-18:00. The house is quietly eccentric and highly interesting in an Orient-influenced style, and includes Monet's collection of Japanese prints. There are no original Monet paintings on the site - the real drawcard, is the gardens around the house - the water garden with the Japanese bridge, weeping willows and waterlilies is now somewhat iconic. Monet's house has the obligatory gift-store attached, designed to help you part with your money in exchange for all manner of things Impressionist. e-tickets can now be purchased online to avoid queuing. wheelchair access available €9 adults, $5 students, €4 disabled, under-7s free.
- 2 Natural Mechanical Museum, 2 rue Blanche Hoschedé-Monet, ☏ . Founded by the Guillemard brothers: Jean-Pierre, René and Gérard run restorations and exhibitions with the help of an enthusiasts team who devoted their time and known-how to the Patrimony preservation. The museum origin is a private collection of steam internal combustion engines; founded in 1955 by the Guillemard family. Former threshing entrepreneur and blacksmith Adolphe Guillemard has transmitted to his children his know-how and passion for the vintage mechanies. Along years, purchasing, donations of engines pile-up awaiting for the needed parts or just a time to restore. Since 1982 the number of collected items increased due to closing of workshops, factories or mills. The preservation of these engines was a rescue task, numbers of testimonials items already gone. In 1990 the collection found a home in the current location where the engines are in permanent display. Installation of the Carels 1908 diesel engine weighting 28 tons keep the team busy for months on overhauling and restoration; in 2003 it became the world's biggest old running diesel engine.
It is recommended that you take a guided tour to make the most of your visit to Claude Monet's house and garden at Giverny.
If you are coming from Paris, you might wish to take a bus or minibus tour which provides a tour-guide.
If you are coming on your own, you can book a guided tour in English, French or German, offered every day, by appointment only.
If you are feeling energetic, try hiking one of the nature trails that wind through the hills above Giverny. The panoramic views of the village, the Seine valley, and the neighboring town of Vernon are quite stunning to see unfold beneath you. Two of the area's trails start at a signboard behind the city hall, found just up Rue Blanche Hoschedé-Monet. Make sure you're wearing sturdy shoes or boots and are in relatively good shape, as some sections of the trails on the forested hillsides can be very challenging. Carrying water and insect repellent might also be a good idea, depending on the weather. Information on other scenic hiking trails can be found at the Tourist Bureau in neighboring Vernon. There is also a Tourist Office in Giverny, close to Monet's House.
The nearby Forêt de Bizy is also a lovely place for a picnic or nature walk, and is a good way to get away from the crowds which sometime descend on Giverny.
There is a small restaurant attached to Monet's House (beware tourist trap prices and overcrowding) and a few reasonable options in the village. A wider choice can be found in the surroundings. On a fine day, bringing a picnic lunch with you might be a better option - walk up out of the village along some of the small lanes for a change from the crowds. "La Musardière" is the only restaurant open in the village even during winter (2012-2013).
There are a number of bed & breakfasts and hotels in the village and surrounding area. There is probably not enough in Giverny, however, to warrant a night over. This village - or many others along the Seine valley nearby - could provide an ideal base for further exploration in Upper Normandy.
- 1 The Robins (Les Rouges Gorges), 6 rue aux Juifs (27620 Giverny). The rustic style of the renovation - stones and exposed beams - and the vintage countryside decoration give these several-hundred-year-old cute little houses a Bohemian charm. In the summer you will have breakfast in the garden under the canopy of the bread oven. Dogs admitted. Open all year round. €60-70.
- 2 Le Clos Fleuri, 5 rue de la Dîme (27620 Giverny), ☏ . Situated near the church and just a few minutes walking distance from Monet's gardens and the Museum of Impressionisms, you will find Danielle and Claude's home, surrounded by a large magnificent garden, where you will find a haven of peace and tranquillity. Danielle speaks fluent English having spent many years in Australia.
- The Roger's Theater, 29 route de Falaise (27620 Giverny). Eric and Christelle Carriere are well known for their artistic activities: Eric founded the Festival de Giverny and has managed it for 10 years, Christelle is an actress and theater teacher. Their headquarter at Giverny is called the Roger's Theater. On the basement a small romantic theater is used for rehearsal and shows for a few people. On the second floor Eric and Christelle have organised 3 guests rooms and 2 bathrooms to accommodate their artists friends and anyone looking for a simple bed and breakfast in Giverny.
In Giverny area there are also 4-, 3- and 2-star hotels].
In order to complete the Monet experience, travellers might like to visit the neighbouring town of Vernon, (castle, medieval streets, museum with paintings by Giverny artists, including Claude Monet, 17th-19th c. mansion) or journey on / back to Paris, or to Rouen and the Seine Valley, where they can see further examples of his work at various venues.