Giverny is like a religious experience. Visiting the home of Claude Monet and his famous water lily gardens is like stepping into a painting. Monet settled in Giverny in 1883 and created a huge garden. Ten years later he acquired more land and built a small pond near a brook. He filled the pond with water lilies and two green bridges. The pond, bridges, and garden surrounding it are inspired by Japanese gardens.  He would spend a lot of time painting here in Giverny until his death in 1926.

To get to Giverny you take the train from Paris to Vernon. It’s a 45 minute train ride. From the Vernon train station you have options: there is a bus, you can walk or ride a bike, or you can take the petit train. The first time i traveled to Giverny was with my parents and we took a bus from the train station. The second time I was with one of my best friends, Lindsay. When we exited the train station we discovered a petit train waiting to go to Giverny, so of course we hopped on! We got an unexpected small guided tour of Vernon before heading out to Giverny.

The town of Giverny itself has one main street, Rue Claude Monet,  and is very small. There are a few places to eat, shop and an impressionist museum as well as Monet’s house and gardens. You can also visit Monet’s grave a little farther down the road.

After lunch, Lindsay and I bought hats and headed to Monet’s house, The Monet Foundation. After purchasing a ticket we took our time walking through the house. A lot of the rooms seem to be focused around one color, like a blue kitchen, and a yellow dining room.

After the house we headed out into the gardens. Next to the house is the main garden with a huge mix of flower variety. There are daisies and poppies mixed with climbing roses and hollyhocks. 

The water lilies were next on our agenda and we had to use a tunnel to cross under what used to be a railroad. When you come out of the tunnel the brook is in front of you and you take a few steps to the first and wisteria covered bridge.

This feels like you’re stepping into a painting.  There are water lilies and weeping willows. It’s overwhelming. One of my favorite things is the small dark green rowboat docked on the side of the pond. We walked the path along the pond smelling flowers with the brook on one side and the pond on the other until we came to the other bridge. 

We were taking pictures when someone tapped me and asked if he could take a picture of Lindsay looking over the water with her hat for a local paper. We exchanged information and the article was sent to us a month or two later.

We could never have enough of these gardens but we wanted to see Monet’s grave and get a snack so we headed out and walked to the other end of town to a small church. We stopped in a quaint shop or two before heading back to the petit train. On the way back it took us directly to the train station. Monet’s Garden is a place that I could visit over and over and I look forward to being able to travel back to Giverny.

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I am a Special FX Make Up Artist who loves to travel through history.

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