When I think of France, I think of Paris, wine, baguettes, art. J’apprends le francis parce que j’aime le paris (et Montreal et New Orleans!). But some of our fondest memories of visiting France were made at Monet’s Gardens in Giverny. We had a wild adventure getting there and then soaked in the beauty and peace of this place.
Giverny is a half-day trip away from Paris. We got ourselves up nice and early and headed to the Paris-Saint-Lazare train station. From there, you hop on a train going toward Rouen and Le Havre and get off 45 minutes or so later at Giverny. It’s is hard to believe this place is that close to the hustle and bustle of Paris.
The train station lets you off in the heart of Vernon. I looked up how to get to Giverny/Monet’s house from the train station and thought, cavalierly, 6km? That’s nothin’! We’ll walk. Especially because you’re supposed to be walking along old railroad tracks. Welp, I’m not saying it would have been definitely worth it to pay the 10 euros for the bus up to Monet’s place, but there’s really nothing to see once you leave Vernon until you get up to Giverny. And 3.5 miles sounds a lot longer than 6km. I was deceived by my American failure at conversions! It walks you along a path behind people’s houses (some of which were really nice!). We spent most of the 6km saying “are we going the right way?” and “This better get us to Giverny!” Trust me, it will…
At least when we got to Giverny, we knew we really wanted to be there. We marveled first at how rich the town must be. There were beautiful houses lining the streets. And it was so pretty in the fall!
Monet and his family also are buried in a churchyard not far from his house.
The face of Monet’s house is misleading. It looks like any normal house. When you walk in (after you buy your tickets), you realize it sort of is any normal house.
What makes this house extraordinary, of course, are its gardens. From the house, you can look out onto the backyard. Though incomplete, you start to get a picture of just how serene and beautiful these grounds are.
We took off into the gardens and wandered for hours through rows and rows of gorgeous flowers and around ponds lined with lush bushes and trees. We sat and took in the famous lily pond. Walking over the bridge and waters that inspired his work, there’s a calmness to this place. There is no way you can’t feel the creativity start to flow. You can only wish for Monet’s talents to put to paper what you feel.
Some time later, we felt we’d had taken in all our bodies and minds would permit. We exited the gardens and, if you can believe it, walked back to Vernon. A little less on a mission at this point, we decided to explore Vernon. It’s a cute town with a castle, a church, and some sweet looking houses.
I really loved this house a little over the water:
We enjoyed walking around it until it was time for our train back to Paris. If you ever get a chance to spend some time here, we highly recommend it.
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