About 46 miles (75 km) to the west of Paris lies the quintessential French provincial town, Giverny. Not the easiest to access, but definitely worth the day trip while you are visiting Paris. After buying your ticket for the Vernon station, it’s a quick 45-minute train ride out of Paris’ Saint-Lazare station. Once in Vernon, you can take a taxi, a bus (my recommendation), or walk to Claude Monet’s house. The walk takes about an hour as the house is a little over 4 miles (7km) from the station. We opted for the bus (8€ per person), due to rain that just would not hold off until we got off the bus.
Once you enter the gates, you are in Monet’s personal sanctuary. There are two parts to Monet’s little slice of heaven: the Clos Normand, which are the gardens in front and to the side of the house, and across the street is the famous Water Garden.
We opted to start with Monet’s house. A spacious two-story home, the ground floor contains Monet’s studio with some of his original sketches and a huge kitchen that made me very jealous. As you head upstairs you’ll see Monet’s room, and the other family quarters. The view from his bedroom is amazing! I snuck this picture, despite the no picture rule in the house. Call me a rebel!
After the house, we wandered the Clos Normand. The garden is divided into different flowerbeds, with different height flowers and color palates making up each bed. It is said that “in the midst of chaos lies creativity”, and that is definitely the case with the Clos Normand. There is a planned chaos and no constraint on the flowers allowing them to show off all their splendor. The gardens are filled with all different sorts of flowers, some I recognized and some I didn’t, but that was Monet’s design mixing the familiar with the rare.
Passing through the under-road tunnel, you’ll come to the Water Garden portion of Monet’s domain. As I wandered the path through the bamboo, I felt transported to a different place, eventually coming upon the famous Japanese bridge, one of the most notable subjects of Monet’s work.
The bridge overlooks the pond filled with water lilies. It’s breathtaking to see in person, and my nerdy-self was geeking out over being in the actual place that inspired some of my favorite pieces of artwork.
After sitting a while in the gardens, just soaking in the beauty, we headed into town and grabbed lunch at an adorable restaurant, Les Nymphéas. We enjoyed the food and atmosphere, but there are a handful of different restaurants around the area you can try. After our delicious lunch, we wandered around the different lanes until we headed back to the bus stop and back to Paris.