Located north-west of the capital of France, Monet Garden makes it the perfect day trip from Paris at any time of year. Each season sees different flowers coming to the bloom and the famous water lilies come to life in July – August.
Both the house and the garden, located in Giverny, where the famous impressionist lived and died, is worth the visit. The whole place is as fun to explore as it’s inspiring. But you’ve got to plan it well.
To make the most of your trip to Monet’s gardens, follow the below tips. We hope these quick suggestions will help you save your time and money. And, most importantly, help you enjoy one of the most beloved gardens in Normandy and even France.
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Top Tips for Visiting Monet’s Garden
Visiting Monet’s House and Gardens was the highlight of our Normandy trip. But before coming to the second most visited attraction in France (after Mount St. Michael), we were a little worried. We thought the place is going to be rammed with visitors.
And it was, after our visit.
So we’ve put together these top tips for visiting Monet’s Gardens so that you too could enjoy the experience as much as we did.
Avoid Toll Roads in France
One way to get from Paris to Monet’s Garden in Giverny is to rent a car. It will take you just over an hour if you use the toll roads. However, they are extremely expensive in France.
Choosing an alternative route will add a few extra minutes to your journey, but will save you money.
While touring France in our van conversion, we used Google maps navigation to avoid toll roads. Here’s how you can do it on your phone:
Set the route (Paris to Giverny) – click Route Options – check the box “Avoid toll roads.”
Book the Skip the Line Tour with a Local Guide
To beat the queues, get your skip the line ticket in advance. This option will take a lot of hassle out of your day, starting with standing in a long queue to get your ticket to Monet’s Garden.
Plus, you’ll have a knowledgeable local guide to take you around the house and the gardens.
Arrive at Giverny the Night Before
Monet’s Garden and House is the second most visited tourist site in Normandy after the Mont Saint Michel. Therefore, it gets very busy during the day.
Staying in or nearby Giverny the night before your visit to the famous gardens will allow you to explore the pretty town in peace. Compared to the chaos and disruption in the day time, Giverny is an oasis of tranquillity in the late afternoon.
An early evening, when the majority of visitors leave for the day, is the best time to explore and take photos of the town without the crowds.
There are a couple of restaurants open till late if you fancy a glass of good French wine. Otherwise, you can walk around the town and check where to queue so you don’t waste your precious time in the morning.
Check out these fabulous Giverny accommodation options near Monet House and Gardens.
Visit Outside the Season
The peak season at Monet Garden is spring (especially May) – summertime. One way to enjoy the site without the buzzing crowds and queuing is to come here outside the busy time.
We visited the gardens in September and while it was still relatively busy, it was nowhere near as packed as we imagined it might be. The house and the gardens were still full, but we could walk around without too much hassle or elbowing.
Go in the Morning
A combination of staying in or around Giverny + planning a trip to Monet’s gardens outside the peak times + visiting the garden early in the morning is the best tip we can give you.
This way you’ll beat the crowds if you are doing this trip independently and will get to enjoy it before the coach tours arrive. It always pays off to get up early.
Tips for Campervans
If you are touring Normandy in a campervan/van conversion, there’s a large Aire right across the street from the garden. Staying here gives you a great opportunity to explore Giverny later in the afternoon when the garden is closed.
It gets pretty busy during the day, but quiet later in the evening. We had a good night’s sleep before the day out at Monet House and Gardens.
Monet Garden Tickets
Ticket to Monet Garden costs €10,50 per person. You can either pre-book your tickets online via the Giverny.org website or Foundation Claude Monet site. You can also buy them on the day at the entrance into the house and gardens.
If you are on a whirlwind trip to France and don’t want to drive or take the train, you can book yourself onto a Versailles and Monet Garden day trip from Paris.
Claude Monet – One of the Founders of Impressionism
Claude Monet, the initiator of Impressionism, has always been a rebel. Refusing to enrol in the École des Beaux-Arts, instead, he hung around with advanced artists and learnt from them.
Probably one of the most significant moments in Monet’s career was meeting Eugene Boudin. The painter introduced young Monet to a very uncommon form of painting – painting in the open air. The practice that the artist adopted throughout his entire career.
Even though he spent a year serving in Algeria and later travelled to Marocco and London, his biggest inspiration came from his home in Giverny.
Monet bought a house and moved to Giverny with his family in 1883. Later, In 1893, he purchased a piece of marshland across the road from his house. The strip of land was carefully landscaped by Monet into what we know today as the famous water-lilies garden.
He fuelled his impressionist vision with this garden for 30 years, from 1915 until his death. The lily pond and the Japanese bridge became the inspiration for his last series of 250 oil paintings – Water Lilies.
During the years of 1886 – 1914, Monet had a big impact on American artists in Giverny. They adopted his spontaneous painting style and, eventually, introduced the impressionism to American art.
Despite his work such as the Rouen Cathedral (1894) being often exhibited, it wasn’t until the 20th century that his works started travelling the world.
The House and the Garden
Visiting Monet’s Garden and his house will be the highlight of your visit. Be sure to charge your camera and clear your memory cards.
Both the garden and the house were badly damaged during WWII. Luckily, even though it took 10 years, both were successfully restored thanks to generous donations mostly from the USA.
Despite being a replica, as you walk up the creaky staircase, the house feels real. If you didn’t know, you’d think it’s the actual Monet’s house that he purchased back in 1883.
You start with the “little blue sitting room” and the studio. It’s a little tight in there with so many people milling around, admiring the paintings and taking photos. A little dim too to preserve the art.
But it also gives you a good perspective of what it was like in the house when the whole family was at home. With eight children, it must have been pretty turbulent.
Upstairs is Monet’s bedroom with a large window overlooking roses in Monet’s garden. It’s a great photo opportunity here. But it’s a busy spot since everyone agrees that this is the best spot in the house.
Copies of paintings by the artist himself as well as Renoir among other painters adorn the walls here.
I loved the yellow – and very modern at the time – dining room and kitchen. Copper pots and pans of all shapes and sizes hang on the walls decked with beautiful blue Rouen tiles. A massive cooker sits in the corner and a large table in the middle looks very inviting.
Through the kitchen door, you come out into the garden. It’s as busy here as is inside the house, but hang on in there. Walk at your own pace and enjoy the colourful surroundings.
Clos Normand and the Water Garden
From Monet’s kitchen, you’ll step right into Clos Normand, the main flower garden in front of the house.
There are so many different flowers in this part of the garden that you could time your visit with particular plant blossoming times. Springtime is probably the best time to visit Monet’s garden because of the volume of blooming flowers.
April is the time for tulips, forget-me-nots and daffodils. May brings clusters of pink rhododendrons to the bloom as well as violet wisteria dangling over the famous bridge.
July is the beginning of waterlilies and August is the last month when you can catch them in full bloom. We were lucky to find the garden full of delicate roses (my favourite flowers) when we visited in late August.
The variety of seasonal flowers in the garden is Monet’s ingenious gardening legacy. There’s always something going on, at any time of year.
Across the road from Clos Normand, which you pass through a tunnel, you’ll find the water garden and the Japanese bridge.
The Japanese bridge is a replica too as the original structure was damaged too badly to survive. The wisteria rustling above it though has been planted by Monet himself.
Along the banks of the pond, shaded with beautiful willow trees and bamboo, you can walk around the pond peppered with legendary nymphéas. Images of which grace many famous museums’ walls across the world today.
Giverny Beyond Monet Garden
There’s more to Giverny than just Monet Garden. There are art galleries, an impressionism museum, cafes and restaurants in and around the village. And it pays off visiting outside of the garden’s opening hours.
What we enjoyed the most in Giverny is visiting the Église Sainte-Radegonde de Giverny church and the small cemetery. Here Claude Monet and his family are buried. The family gravestone is the third from the right, with a white cross positioned above a white tomb.
Among the other older tombstones, there’s also a memorial to seven British airmen. The day after the D-Day, their plane was shot and crashed close to the nearby River Seine killing all the crew.
Visit Vernon on the Way to Giverny
On your way to Giverny, whether via train or car, you’ll pass the town of Vernon. Why not stop here for a couple of hours to explore one of Monet’s favourite places.
The small town is home to many beautiful sites including the restored medieval Old Mill that sits above the water of the river Seine. The original was badly damaged during WWII.
Now restored by the people of Vernon, the mill was an object of interest among many painters including Monet. He completed his painting in 1883 and named it “Houses on the Old Bridge at Vernon.”
Stop at Chateau Gaillard in Les Andelys
Another lovely place that’s close to Giverny is Les Andelys, a village that’s famed for the impressive hilltop Chateau Gaillard. It’s the perfect pitstop for some exercise and fantastic views of the French countryside and Petit-Andleley.
Constructed in 1196 by Richard the Lionheart, Duke of Normandy and King of England, the ruined castle surrounded by a moat is an impressive fortress to explore today.
How Do You Get to Monet’s Garden From Paris?
To reach Monet’s gardens from Paris you can either drive, take a train or book a tour.
By Road – Driving to Giverny takes just over an hour making Monet’s Garden a perfect day trip from Paris. Also, if you leave early enough, you can visit Vernon and the beautiful ruins of Chateau Gaillard as well.
Taking the direct route via the A13 the toll is around €19. A slower journey from Paris to Giverny can easily avoid toll roads if you are on a tight budget.
By Train – Getting to Monet’s Gardens from Paris by train is pretty easy. Trains for Le Havre (via Rouen) leave from Saint-Lazare Paris station and take just 46 minutes to arrive at Vernon. Ticket cost from €9 each way (single).
From Vernon, you can either catch a shuttle bus for Giverny, grab a cab or walk. Walking, depending on your fitness level, can take up to an hour.
Taxis are available at the train station at €20 per journey. You could try Uber – it’s much cheaper. Shuttle buses cost €10 for a round trip ticket.
Book a Tour – If you don’t want to drive or have any hassle dealing with the trains, you can book a tour that will take care of transportation as well as garden tickets.
How Long do You Need at Monet’s Gardens?
Depending on your admiration for the painter, you could spend a whole day exploring in detail the house and the garden and relaxing by the pond.
Otherwise, plan at least 2 hours outside the season and more during the busy time.
Monet Garden FAQs
Monet's House and Gardens are located in a small village called Giverny, just north-west of Paris. It takes just under one hour to get to Vernon-Giverny from Paris. From Vernon, you can catch either a taxi or a shuttle bus to Giverny. Or walk, which takes around an hour. Monet's Garden is open from 22 March - 1 November, from 9 am - 6 pm. Last admission is at 5.30 pm. You can visit Giverny at any time of year. Spring - Summertime is the busiest time at the Monet's Garden. Early spring and early autumn is a good time to visit as the place is less crowded. It costs €10.50 per adult to visit Monet Garden. Children under 7 years old can visit the house and the gardens free of charge. A ticket for over 7-year-olds + students costs €7.50 to enter.
Where are Monet House and Gardens?
How far is Giverny from Paris by train?
What time does Monet Garden open?
What is the best time to visit Giverny?
How much does Monet Garden cost?
Monet's House and Gardens are located in a small village called Giverny, just north-west of Paris.
It takes just under one hour to get to Vernon-Giverny from Paris. From Vernon, you can catch either a taxi or a shuttle bus to Giverny. Or walk, which takes around an hour.
Monet's Garden is open from 22 March - 1 November, from 9 am - 6 pm. Last admission is at 5.30 pm.
You can visit Giverny at any time of year. Spring - Summertime is the busiest time at the Monet's Garden. Early spring and early autumn is a good time to visit as the place is less crowded.
It costs €10.50 per adult to visit Monet Garden. Children under 7 years old can visit the house and the gardens free of charge. A ticket for over 7-year-olds + students costs €7.50 to enter.
Have you been to Monet’s Garden? What part did you enjoy the most? Let us know in the comments below…
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