Giverny is a picturesque village just 80 kilometres from the French capital, making it an ideal choice for an excursion from Paris. The house and garden where Monet lived are charming and well worth a visit.
The attractions of Paris are countless but, after a few days between the Louvre and climbing the Eiffel Tower, every now and then you want to get away from the bustle of the metropolis to recharge your batteries in the countryside. Here are the guided tours to Giverny.
Excursion to Giverny and Monet's house
Halfway between Paris and Rouen is the town of Giverny. It lies on the banks of the River Seine and is famous for having been the residence of the impressionist painter Claude Monet. The artist came to Giverny in 1883 and stayed here until 1926, the year of his death.
The bus will drop you off in front of his former house which is surrounded by splendid gardens with a pond, picturesque bridges and lush vegetation. The guide will tell you the most interesting anecdotes and show you the places that inspired his paintings.
Monet's house is a little gem. Its most cherished rooms are the small blue living room (where his wife used to spend time with the children), the charming kitchen decorated with Rouen tiles and the dining room with yellow walls and furniture and a collection of Japanese prints.
By the way, if you like Japanese art, I recommend a visit to the Maison de la culture du Japon in Paris.
- Duration: about 4.5 hours
- Price: around 98 €.
Combined visit to Giverny and Versailles
The option that combines two French landmarks. The first part of this tour is similar to the previous one: an air-conditioned bus will take you to Giverny where you will have the opportunity to visit Monet's house. The residence preserves the original furniture and decorations as well as the artist's collection of Japanese engravings.
The guided tour continues through the gardens where dahlias, water lilies, irises, weeping willows and dozens of other species thrive.
At the end of the tour, you will get back on the bus to reach the Palace of Versailles, the jewel of 17th century French art. In 1682, King Louis XIV moved the royal court here and ordered the construction of many of the buildings that can be seen today.
Its most beautiful room is the Hall of Mirrors with its crystal chandeliers and paintings by Le Brun. The route continues through the gardens that hosted the parties of monarchs and aristocrats.
If you visit Paris in April, you can enjoy the spectacle of the musical fountains (every Tuesday, Saturday, Sunday and public holidays between April and October).
If you want to soak up French culture with an expert history guide, you also have the option of taking this small-group tour to Giverny and Versailles from Paris.
- Duration: about 9 hours
- Price: between 250 € and 300 €.
A day in Giverny and Rouen
These excursions usually depart from Paris in the morning. After a short drive on the motorway, the bus arrives in front of Monet's house. The visit includes both the interior of the house and the garden, the French painter's main source of inspiration.
An expert guide will be at your disposal at all times to explain the history and anecdotes of the place. At the end of the visit, the bus will head back to Paris, stopping off in Rouen, the historical and cultural capital of Normandy.
Rouen is known above all for two things: for having been the place where Joan of Arc was executed and for being the city of 100 bell towers.
Indeed the churches are many and the most beautiful and famous is undoubtedly the Cathedral of Notre Dame. Although it was severely damaged by bombing during the Second World War, subsequent work has restored it to its original form.
Other notable monuments include the Church of Saint Maclou (a magnificent example of late Gothic architecture), the Gros-Horloge (a clock with allegorical figures representing the days and phases of the moon) and the Church of Sainte-Jeanne-d'Arc, where the "Maid of Orleans" was martyred.
If you're visiting Paris in June, a trip to Rouen is highly recommended. In the first half of the month, the Armada, a large gathering of sailing ships and military boats, takes place. You can enjoy the spectacle on the banks of the Seine River.
- Duration: about 9 hours
- Price: around 250 €.
Why take a trip to Giverny and Monet's house?
France is much more than Paris. The country hides thousands of beautiful towns and natural sites of great beauty. For these reasons, it is well worth a trip away from the Eiffel Tower to discover some enchanting spots, especially if you are travelling to Paris in spring.
Impressionist art lovers should not miss this tour. The artist moved to Giverny in 1883 and found his inspiration here. The oil cycle "The Water Lilies" and paintings such as "The Artist's Garden at Giverny" and "The Water Lily Pond" were painted here.
What are the advantages of taking a guided tour vs. visiting Giverny and Monet's house on my own?
In my opinion, an organised tour is the best option for four reasons:
- There are no direct connections between the capital and Giverny. There is a train that connects Saint-Lazare station with the town of Vernon-Giverny. Once there, to get to Monet's house you will have to take a shuttle bus or a taxi. If you feel like it, you can also walk about 5 kilometres. An organised tour avoids all this as you will be dropped off in front of every attraction in Giverny.
- The price of a guided tour is very convenient. They usually cost between 70 € and 80 €, but if you had to pay for a train and taxi (round trip) or a rental car (with petrol) in addition to the entrance fees, you'd end up spending more money.
- Motorway tolls are expensive. If you're travelling with a rental car, be aware that the A13 (the fastest option) costs around €30. You can avoid the toll roads but you'll need more time.
- Excursions start from a central location in Paris, such as around the Louvre Museum. The French capital has a transport system and it won't be difficult to get there. For more information, see the post on getting around Paris.
Where to eat in Giverny?
If you don't have much time to spare, you can go to the restaurant Les Nymphéas. It is located just opposite Monet's house and has a courtyard surrounded by plants and flowers (Square Gérald et Florence Van der Kemp).
Les Nymphéas uses fresh ingredients from nearby farms at a reasonable price. Unfortunately, it is closed for some months of the year. It is usually open from April to October, between 9:00 and 18:00. There is also a children's menu.
Is it advisable to visit Giverny and Monet's house with children?
This day tour is usually very popular with children. Indeed, the villa and the garden are reminiscent of fairytale landscapes. Moreover, the excursions are not too long and with a bit of organisation everything will be fine.
In any case, I recommend you read the post that explains what to see and do in Paris with children.
Tips for an excursion to Giverny and Monet's house
First of all, it is important to know that the Foundation opens at the end of March and remains open until the beginning of November. Therefore, if you visit Paris in winter, you will have to opt for another activity. Apart from that, here are a few more tips:
- Most tourists visit Giverny and Monet's house during the summer. However, the best month is May, when spring is at its peak.
- If you have the chance, you can visit nearby Vernon, a charming village on the banks of the river Seine. It is about 6 kilometres from Giverny.
- Another attraction in the surrounding area is the Château Gaillard, a castle built in 1196 at the behest of Richard the Lionheart.