Giverny is a village in Normandy that is famous as a place where Claude Monet, the founder of the Impressionist movement, lived and created his Water Lilies masterpieces. Hence, many Impressionist devotees come to Giverny to pay a visit to Monet’s former estate. Still, the picturesque village has much more to offer to travelers in terms of sightseeing, museum hopping, and shopping.
Go on a tour of Vernon on arrival or before leaving
To arrive in Giverny, you need to travel via Vernon. If you take a day trip from Paris, the most efficient option for getting there is by a train that departs from the Saint-Lazare station. Depending on the time of departure and how you book a train ticket (online or at the station), the price of a one-way ticket fluctuates.
Vernon is a small town with a few notable landmarks you should see. You can easily tour the town by walking. With its origins stretching back to pre-Roman times, Vernon is a picturesque settlement with timber houses lining the streets near the Collegiate Church. This Gothic landmark features a large rose window and two octagonal turrets. The reason why you shouldn’t bypass the Collegiate Church of Notre Dame is that it is one of the finest medieval architectural examples in entire France.
Vernon used to be a stronghold while the English dynasty of the Plantagenets and the French Capetians competed against each other from the mid-12th to the mid-13th century. Archives Tower, flanked by half-torn defensive walls, is a reminder of those times. When you cross the River Seine, take a look at the Tourelles Castle, featuring four turrets. While crossing the bridge over the Seine, take a moment and observe an old mill standing on pillars of the destroyed bridge.
Visit the estate in Giverny where Claude Monet lived and painted
Visiting the Foundation Claude Monet is probably the main reason why you visit Giverny. You can take a bus or a tourist train at the Vernon train station to get to Giverny. The price of the return ticket is 8 or 10 EUR (9 or 11 USD) depending on the chosen option. The traveling time from Vernon to Giverny is approximately 15 minutes. From the bus terminus in Giverny, follow signposts that lead you to Monet’s estate in about 10 minutes.
Foundation Claude Monet consists of four main features - the house, workshop, garden and the water-lily pond. Today, the former workshop is a shop in which you can purchase various accessories, replicas of paintings, publications and else. From there, you enter the lush garden abounding with various flowers and plants. Walking paths allow visitors to explore different sections of the large garden.
The large house consists of various premises, and sleeping rooms and Monet’s study are some of them. The kitchen with the original appliances is also a highlight. Still, the water-lily pond, spanned by the Japanese bridge and surrounded by willows and other tall trees, is the top attraction of the property. Take a seat on a bench by the pond to enjoy a bit of daydreaming.
Take a self-guided tour of Giverny
Before you return to Vernon, allocate some time to explore Giverny. You will get the impression that the village lives on Claude Monet’s fame, and it is true for the most part. While getting around, you will come by various art galleries selling Impressionist paintings. More so, Giverny has its own Museum of Impressionism.
As you walk along the streets flanked by elegant mansions with manicured gardens, you will arrive at some point at the Sainte-Radegonde church. Occupying an elevated ground, the church overlooks the village and the surrounding countryside consisting of distant hills, meadows and groves. In the graveyard next to the church, you can find Monet’s grave and pay respects the victims of the 20th-century wars.
How much time do you need for a visit to Vernon and Giverny?
In general, you should plan a day for a meaningful tour of Vernon and Giverny. If you, like most visitors, travel from Paris, take a train departing from Saint-Lazare before mid-morning and catch a return train in the late afternoon or early evening. That should be more than enough for you to make the most of your day trip. In case you need more time, the last train from Vernon to Paris departs around 9 pm.
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