04 Sep Visit the enchanting Monet’s Garden in Giverny
Claude Monet, the famous French impressionist painter, used to live in a beautiful house surrounded by a gorgeous garden in Giverny (Normandy) at the end of the 19th century – beginning of the 20th century. Nowadays this property is classified as a “monument historique” ran and preserved by the Claude Monet Foundation, a non-profit organization. It’s the second most popular touristic site of Normandy after Mont-Saint-Michel! In this guide I am giving you all the information and tips you need to visit Monet’s garden in Giverny!
Monet’s garden is so enchanting that it won’t be difficult to find several reasons why you should visit it!
First of all, you should visit Monet’s garden in Giverny because of the story behind it. Claude Monet lived in Giverny from 1883 with his family (his second wife and their 8 children). He rented and eventually purchased the house. During the 1890’s he built more buildings close to the house for his work and began a vast landscaping project in the gardens around it. He hired up to 7 gardeners to work on it and take care of it, but he remained the sole architect. What he created here in Giverny is a natural piece of art and this amazing property has been a great source of inspiration for him! You will recognize his work while you wander in the garden!
Second of all, you should visit Monet’s garden in Giverny because this garden is magical! You will love to discover it! As I was walking here, I saw so many exceptional flowers, plants and trees that I was in awe! I could have stayed there for hours!
Thirdly, you should visit Monet’s garden in Giverny because it’s close to Paris. In only one hour by car you can get there (more info about that below) and enjoy a wonderful getaway from Paris!
The best time of the year to visit Monet’s garden in Giverny
The Monet’s garden opens yearly from the end of March until the 1st of November. If the garden is only accessible for 7 months, a team of 11 gardeners is taking care of it all year long. They are here to make sure that every corner of the place looks like it was at the time Monet was painting here!
Every time of the year will bring you something different and the gardeners are here to make sure you get the best out if it! Because many different varieties of flowers are planted in the garden you get the opportunity to see beautiful blooms and colors no matter when you visit. It starts with tulips, biennial flowers, then irises, roses, and after water lilies, dahlias…
May and June are the busiest months for the visit of Monet’s garden, then the summer. April and October will be the quieter months to visit.
I visited the garden at the end of July, and I was in awe!
The Flowering Calendar of Claude Monet’s Gardens at Giverny
- April: Tulips, pansies, forget-me-nots, narcissi, aubrietas, cherry and crab-apple blossom, fritillaries, and daffodils.
- May: Irises, peonies, rhododendrons, geraniums, wisterias, azaleas, wallflowers, daisies, laburnum and delphiniums.
- June: Roses, poppies, clematis, and tamarisk.
- July: Roses, nasturtiums, ageratums, zinnias, nicotianas, busy-lizzies, verbenas, dahlias, rudbeckias, salvias, gladioli, cleomes, cosmos, sunflowers, helianthus, hollyhocks. The waterlilies begin in July.
- August: Dahlias, cosmos, hibiscus, plus all of the July blooms.
- September: Nasturtiums carpet the Grande Allée, asters, dahlias, cosmos, rudbeckias.
- October: Dahlias, plus all of the annual flowers until frost.
How to get to Monet’s garden in Giverny
You have 4 different ways to access Monet’s garden in Giverny: by car, by bus, by train and by boat.
If you have a car, you will find it easy to come to Monet’s garden. It’s located at only 80 km from Paris and it will take you around 1h to drive to Giverny. The car will allow you to be fully independent to visit the area and see more of what this region has to offer. This is the option I chose because I spent a few days sightseeing in the River Seine Valley. There are 3 car parks free of charge in Giverny.
Secondly you can take a day trip to visit Monet’s garden in Giverny by bus from Paris. There are many bus and minibus tours operating from Paris to Giverny. You can choose a half-day tour for a price starting at 59 €, or a full- day tour including also a visit to Versailles for a price starting at 95 €.
Then you can also come to Giverny by train easily from Paris, Rouen or Le Havre. Stop in Vernon-Giverny train station and then take the shuttle bus to bring you to Giverny and get to Monet’s garden.
Lastly you can take a cruise on the river Seine and come here by boat. Some cruise companies are even organizing a cruise totally dedicated to the River Seine and the impressionist painters like Monet, Renoir or Boudin including stops in Paris, Giverny, Vernon, Rouen, Duclair and Honfleur.
Where to buy your tickets to visit Monet’s garden in Giverny
You have to buy your tickets to visit to Monet’s garden in Giverny online. Since the Covid 19 pandemic tickets are not for sale on site.
There are 3 different websites to book your admission tickets:
- Ticketmaster for 11.50 € – website available in English and French
- Digitick for 10.50 € – website available in French only
- Fnac for 11.50 € – website available in French only
Each platform has a quota of 20 tickets per 20mn time slot from 9:30 am to 6 pm.
I bought mine online on the Fnac website because my time slot was not available anymore on the other ones and I already created an account there. I had an extra transaction fee of 1.35 € for 4 tickets so I paid a total of 47.35 €.
When you buy your tickets, you have to select a date and time slot. Your tickets will be valid only for this specific date and time slot. Tickets are sold in very limited quantities and you cannot buy more than 5 tickets together.
The 2020 rates for tickets are a maximum of 11.50 € for normal fare and seniors, 7.50 € for children and students, 6 € for disabled and it’s free for children under 7. You can pay a little extra fee if you want a cancellation insurance.
If you want you can print your ticket before coming to Giverny, but the electronic version of them on your smartphone or tablet is perfectly fine.
You can book a private guide for the visit. It will cost you 190 € for a group between 1 and 9 people.
Visit Monet’s garden in Giverny since the Covid 19 pandemic
Due to the Covid 19 pandemic, there are new rules and regulations in Monet’s garden. As I explained before, there are no more tickets for sale on site and you have to buy them online. If you show up without a ticket you won’t be able to enter. There won’t be any group bookings for 2020: no more than 10 people together.
Once you are on the site, you must wear a face mask and maintain social distancing measures. You have to bring your own mask and they are not provided. There is some hydroalcoholic gel at every entrance inside the property: before entering the property, before entering Monet’s house and before entering the souvenir shop. The staff is making sure everyone is using the gel and wearing the mask on the site, so I felt very safe during the visit.
Only one entrance is open to access the property: the gate N°1 (at the bottom of sente Leroy – the little street that goes up on the left side of the garden from the road départementale 5 named Chemin du Roy).
To finish with the new rules, you can only do the visit one way starting in: you cannot go backwards.
Usually 500 000 visitors discover Monet’s gardens each year during the seven months that it is open, between 4 et 5000 visitors per day. Today to prevent any risk, there are only around 900 people a day: a big difference!
Tour of Monet’s garden in Giverny: the gardens
Monet’s garden is composed of two parts: the “Clos Normand”, the flower garden in front of the house, and the Water Garden, aka the “Japanese Garden”, on the other side of the road.
The “Clos Normand” in Monet’s Garden
The “Clos Normand” is about 1 hectare. I used to be an apple orchard, hence its name in French. But Monet decided to replace the apple trees by cherry and Japanese apricot trees.
The main alley “la Grande Allée” leading to Monet’s house is covered by metallic arches and lined with nasturtiums and roses. During the season climbing roses grow along them creating an enchanting path to the house! And in fall the nasturtiums make a magical carpet in the middle of it!
No one can walk on that path, which allows visitors to have an obstructed view of Monet’s house.
The left and right side of the Clos Normand are divided in flowerbeds where rare varieties are creatively married with simple ones. The flowers have different heights and the colors are carefully selected to create the most beautiful environment, like Monet’s color palette! You can walk easily in the middle of them as the gardeners have built walkways. I was really amazed to see all the flowers growing there, many of them I had just never seen before! When I visited at the end of July the colors where mostly pink and purple: very beautiful!
The Water Garden – aka the Japanese Garden – in Monet’s Garden
10 years after its arrival in Giverny, Monet bought the piece of land across the road from the Clos-Normand. He managed to create there a water garden, as he was very fond of inverted reflections. Monet has always been fascinated by Japanese gardens and was totally inspired by them to design his water garden. He planted willow trees, poplar, azaleas, climbing roses, peonies, and bamboo. He also built a Japanese bridge, covered with wisterias, and other smaller bridges. In summer the pond is covered by the famous blooming “nympheas” (waterlilies): a dreamy scenery! You can walk all around the pond and on the bridges to admire it!
Tour of Monet’s garden in Giverny: the house
Claude Monet lived in this house in Giverny for 43 years from 1883 until his death in 1926. He enlarged it along the year, creating a very long house, to match the needs of his work and family. This beautiful house is 40 meters long per 5 meter deep. Monet chose to paint the walls of the house in pink color with green shutters. He added a gallery in front of it and a pergola covered with climbing roses. Last by not least he grew a Virginia creeper on the façade as he wanted the house to blend with the garden.
Monet’s house: authentic and colorful
Let me take you on a tour of the house with me! It’s quite warm, welcoming and colorful inside, so I found the visit very pleasant! All the furniture and the objects that you will see inside are still exactly the same, what gives a great authenticity. There are also many Japanese woodblock prints hanged all around the house. In fact, Monet collected them passionately for 50 years (he owned 231 of them from the 18th and 19th centuries) and they were a great source of inspiration for him. I was surprised to see that most of the rooms of the house are painted and decorated with the same vivid colors (the blue sitting room, the pink room, the yellow dining room, the blue kitchen…). Monet loved colors and he personally chose all of them!
Visit Monet’s appartement in the house
When you enter the house, you will start your visit with Monet’s first studio on the left side. On the walls of this studio you can see many reproductions of Monet’s works to recreate how it was at the time.
Close to the studio you will find the blue sitting room (for his wife and his kids) and a pantry.
Above this studio, he had his own apartment, a large bedroom and a bathroom. From his bedroom, he had amazing views on the garden out of three windows.
Visit the rest of the house
On the other side of the house, there is a dining room and a kitchen on the ground floor, and the rooms of the children and his wife.
Alice’s room was connected to Claude’ room via the bathroom. Monet’s four stepdaughters had their bedrooms over the kitchen, and his two sons and his two stepsons slept in the attic.
The dining room is absolutely stunning with its bright yellow color! The kitchen next door is decorated in blue which creates a very interesting contrast. This kitchen features some beautiful blue tiles of Rouen, an extended collection of coppers and a big coal and wood stove.
The studio next to the home is now the Foundation’s gift shop. Monet painted his large Water Lilies paintings and murals here.
The best places to take photos in Monet’s garden
As a photographer, one of the first questions I had before my visit to Monet’s garden in Giverny was: where are the best places to take photos?! Let me help you with this!
First of all, you need to keep in mind that Monet’s garden is very touristy. Therefore, you might have to be very patient to take your photos in the places I will recommend. There are some spots I wanted to capture with me in it, but I had to give up as the areas were too crowded at the time I was there. Just remember to be respectful and do not block the views or the access for too long. Also it’s better to start your visit early before the bus tours arrive!
Second of all, the whole garden is so pretty that you will want to capture every corner! I personally took a gazillion of photos and I wanted to take more!
Thirdly, without further ado, here are the best photos spots and most instagrammable places in Monet’s garden in Giverny:
The best places to take photos in the Water Garden:
- On the Japanese bridge, it’s even better when the wisteria is blooming in May).
- On the dock with the rowboat.
- And on the bridge on the other side of the pond (opposite side from the Japanese bridge.
The best places to take photos in the Clos Normand:
- At the entrance of the main alley (“la Grande Allée”) leading to Monet’s house, it’s even better when the climbing roses covering the metallic arches are in bloom.
- In front of the house.
Where to eat when you visit Monet’s garden
Here are some recommendations if you want to know where to eat when you visit Monet’s garden in Giverny. On your way out of Monet’s garden in the direction of the car parks, there are a few restaurants ready to serve you. The prices vary from budget to more expensive.
Otherwise you can eat in the restaurants of other villages around the area.
I advise you to go to Vernon, the neighboring town. Here are some restaurants you can try there:
- Le Bistrot des Fleurs: a lovely traditional French bistro with great food and service. Address: 73 Rue Sadi Carnot in Vernon.
- Crêperie Fleur de Seine: to enjoy French crepes and the terrace with a view on the Seine. Address: 35 Quai Anatole Camere in Vernon.
- L’Estampille: a chic traditional French bistro with great food and service. Address: 6 Place de Paris in Vernon.
- Auberge du Petit Val: a quaint restaurant serving a French gourmet cuisine. Address : 25 avenue Ile de France in Vernon.
If you visit in summer, you might prefer to do a picnic. You can sit on the grass along the river Epte. If you need there is a bakery next to the church in Giverny.
Where to stay when you visit Monet’s garden
To visit Monet’s garden in Giverny you have the choice to take a daytrip from Paris or to spend the night in the area before and/or after. I would recommend you stay close to Giverny to start you visit in Monet’s garden in the first time slots in the morning, before it gets too crowded. You can also use this opportunity to visit more places in the area (see my paragraph about what to do close to Monet’s garden).
There are plenty of hotels from 2* to 4* in that area, some Bed and Breakfast, some Airbnb and more.
I stayed in the city of Vernon the night before I visited Monet’s garden in Giverny. It was a great idea because Vernon is only 10 min by car from Giverny. So, it was really easy to access Monet’s garden in the morning. I also loved it because Vernon is a beautiful town and I enjoyed doing some sightseeing here (see my paragraph about what else to visit in the area)!
What else to visit close to Monet’s garden in Giverny
There are many things to do before or after your visit to Monet’s Garden in Giverny!
What to see and do in Giverny:
Giverny is the village where you will find Monet’s garden and house. Here are some things you can do in Giverny:
- Stroll in the village of Giverny: the village is small but very charming! Take a look at the church (where Claude Monet was married), at the cemetery (where Claude Monet is buried) and at the numerous art galleries.
- Visit the Museum of Impressionisms, dedicated to all the different forms of Impressionism. The exhibitions in the museum are changing regularly. There is also a beautiful garden to see here!
What to see and do in Vernon:
Vernon, the lovely neighboring city of Giverny, has an ideal location on the banks of the River Seine. Here are a few landmarks of Vernon you should admire while you are here:
- The Old Mill: this 16th century flour mill constructed on top of an ancient bridge that once spanned the Seine River looks like it is straight out of a fairy tale!
- The Castle “Chateau des tourelles” (turrets in English): this stunning castle was built in 1196 to defend the town, as it was located on the border of the crown lands and the Duchy of Normandy. This is another fairy tale place in Vernon!
- The Collegiate Church Notre-Dame: beautiful with its gothic style. Its construction started in the 11th century and finished in the 17th century.
- The Town Hall, facing the Collegiate Church (from the end of the 19th century).
- The Archives Tower: a remain of the ancient castle of Vernon dating from the 12th. It was used to keep the city archives in the 19th century.
- All the half-timbered houses in town.
Monet’s garden in Giverny was so enchanting that my visit was memorable! Claude Monet once declared “My garden is my most beautiful masterpiece”. And you will definitely understand why!
If you are taking a trip to Giverny from Paris, take a look here at all my articles about Paris!