Monet's Gardens at Giverny: An Attraction You Can't Miss on Your Next Trip to Paris
One Day, as Monet Was Passing by Giverny . . .
Claude Monet first saw the village of Giverny, so goes the legend, through a train window as he was passing by. He returned to take a closer look and, liking what he saw, Monet became a resident of Giverny in 1883, at the age of 43.
Almost 100 years later, in 1980, restoration of the home and gardens was completed and the living, breathing Impressionist painting that Monet created and called his home for over 30 years was opened to the public.
Giverny is located about 50 miles (80 km) outside Paris in the province of Normandy. Today, Monet's home receives over 500,000 visitors annually. The population of Giverny is less than 1,000 people.
Take Me to the Bridge
It wasn't until 1899, sixteen years after he moved to the village of Giverny, that Monet began work on his famous water lilly paintings. He couldn't very well begin them much before that, as the Japanese inspired water garden, complete with lily ponds, walking bridges -- including the famous wisteria-covered Japanese bridge -- and weeping willows, did not exist until Monet began creating the garden in the mid 1893.
A Tale of Two Lilies
The first garden Monet created at Giverny was the flower garden, which is rather large, consisting of a number of flower beds and iron archways intertwined with climbing roses. Flowers are in bloom seven months of the year, from April to October, and visitors can return to witness the garden's palette changing from spring to summer to fall.
One can see on the map to the right the size of the flower garden -- essentially the entire area on the house side of the old railway.
On the other side is Monet's water garden, which he began building about ten years after moving to Giverny.
Take Me to Your Impressionist Leader. At Giverny
The easiest way to visit Giverny while in Paris is to take one of the bus tours. Which tour you decide to take will depend on how much time you would like to spend at the gardens. There are also day tours that stop at both Monet's Gardens and the Palace of Versailles, another must see attraction while you are staying in Paris.
Another great option for your visit to the Japanese gardens of Giverny is to stay in one of the many charming hotels or bed & breakfasts close to Monet's home. Here are some top options for this leg of your Paris sightseeing tour.
Just a ten minute ride to Giverny, the Domaine de la Corniche Hotel sits on a bluff overlooking the Seine. With stunning views and a top-rated restaurant on-site, the Panoramique, the Domaine is a n excellent choice if you are looking for that old-world French charm.
This converted manor house, built in 1900 (fairly recent by French standards), is located about ten minutes from Giverny in the small village of Notre-Dame de la Mer. Manoir de Notre Dame has an amazing garden and sweeping views across the Seine Valley.
Le Moulin du Bechet ("moulin" means "mill", as in the Moulin Rouge) is about 15 minutes from Giverny at Croisy-sur-Eure. The old mill is set on truly magnificent grounds and offers many outdoor activities, including tennis, archery, mountain biking and petanque. Stay for a year and you are guaranteed to pen an amazing novel by the time you leave.