Paris is so full of activities that sometimes it can be difficult to think about leaving. But there are a number of places just outside the city that are worth your time – if only for a few hours. Particularly if Paris is your only stop in France, taking a short day trip outside of the city will help you get a completely different perspective on the country.
Giverny is one of those destinations worthy of almost anyone’s time. Located about 45 minutes by train from Paris in France’s Normandy region, it’s where you’ll find the home and garden of Claude Monet, along with a charming town overflowing with impressionist beauty. Without even seeing any of the famous locations like Monet’s water garden, just being here gives one the sense that they’ve accidentally entered another world and walked directly into the middle of a painting.
While there’s almost nothing to dislike about the entire experience, Monet’s house and gardens are especially sublime. I could get lost for hours in my own thoughts sitting next to the pond, watching the shadows slowly shift across the water as the sun moves in the sky overhead. For lovers of impressionism in general and Monet in particular, it’s hard to think of a better place to come see firsthand the beauty that inspired so many works of art. After you’ve visited the house and gardens, take a walk through town and stop into the Restaurant Baudy for a look at their garden out back. The town’s Impressionist Museum is also located near Restaurant Baudy for those who are interested.
Monet’s house and garden are open seasonally. In 2016, they're open to visitors from the 25th of March to the 1st of November from 9.30 a.m. until 6 p.m., with the last admission at 5.30 p.m. Costs and other practical information can be found here.
Take the train from Gare Saint-Lazare in Paris to Vernon. Direct trains take around 45 minutes to an hour and cost just under €30 per person round trip. Once you’ve reached the station at Vernon, walk outside and you’ll find shuttle buses on your right that will take you directly to Giverny. This will cost you €8 per person round trip, and you can pay the driver directly. Once you’ve reached Giverny, it’s a short walk to Monet’s house and the rest of the town. It’s just under 4.5 miles (7 km) from Vernon to Giverny, so you can also walk or rent a bike in front of the station.