12 Giverny Travel Tips of an Insider

January 15, 2023

My name is Ariane, I work as a local guide in Claude Monet’s gardens at Giverny.

Here are 12 tips to make most of your time if you intend to visit Monet’s place :

Monet’s house and flowers garden on May 1st, photo Ariane Cauderlier
  1. Buy your ticket ahead of time to skip the line
    to be on the safe side, because you don’t want to waste your precious vacation time standing for half an hour (or more) to buy your admission ticket, do you? This will also prevent you from travelling to Giverny when it is closed for the winter. (!) Fondation Monet is open 7/7 from April 1st to November 1st. Here is where to buy your ticket. For 2023, the sale starts in March.
  2. Consider staying overnight in the area
    The best time to tour Monet’s gardens is either early in the morning or late in the afternoon from 4 to 6 pm when groups are gone. Staying overnight in one of the lovely B&Bs will give you a unique chance to enjoy the village in the evening when it is peaceful, as well as the charming countryside.
    Check here the availability of accommodations around Giverny.
A snail on a bench in Monets garden: an example to follow 🙂 – Photo Ariane Cauderlier

3. Give yourself enough time
I know there is a lot to see in Paris or Normandy, but it is a pity to have to rush through Monet’s gardens just because there are too many places to see on your list. Slow down, take your time… Count at least two hours inside of Fondation Monet, + one or two hours to explore the village and the Musee des impressionnismes. You can plan to spend a full day in Giverny and Vernon, you won’t get bored.

4. Dress appropriately
Check the weather forecast the day before to make sure you will have enough layers to feel comfortable for a day outside in the open air. Giverny is generally a bit cooler (or colder) than Paris. You will walk around a pond, it can be windy or rainy. Rain is not an issue as long as you have one umbrella per person.

Giverny Water Garden on May 16 – Photo Ariane Cauderlier

5. Don’t miss the water garden !
The water lily pond where Monet painted his famous Japanese bridge and many, many water lily paintings is located on the other side of the road. Once you’ve entered the gardens, you need to take an underpath to get to the water garden. Make sure you’ve seen the water garden, the flowers garden, and the house before you exit. The way out is by the huge water lily studio, that has been turned into the gift shop.

The medieval church of Vernon boasts a pipe organ of the 17th Century – Photo Ariane Cauderlier

6. Explore Vernon, an hidden gem
Located 3 miles (5 km) away from Giverny, Vernon is a little town that has 25 000 inhabitants. If you travel by train, you will get out of the train at the Vernon train station, that bears the name Vernon-Giverny. Before or after you head to Giverny, take some time to enjoy Vernon. It has old narrow streets next to the beautiful gothic church, quaint half-timbered houses, a medieval tower and a fine arts museum that is definitely worth a visit.

7. Eat local

There are lots of restaurants in Giverny or Vernon that serve delicious food. If you are on a budget or want to save time, an option is to grasp a bite in one of the boulangeries of Vernon or Giverny. At Giverny, the only bakery is located 73 Rue Claude Monet not far from the church.

8. Rent a bike or an e-scooter

Beside the traditional ways to get to Giverny from Vernon’s train station (bus shuttle, tourist train, taxi) you will find bikes (normal or electric) and electric scooters for rent. They will enable you to get a bit more out of the beaten tracks to explore on your own. The bicycle road along the river Seine is absolutely lovely, and also a nice place for a picnic.

9. Go and say hello to Monet on his grave

Did you know that Claude Monet is buried in the cemetery of Giverny? If you are a big fan of him, you may want to take some time to see his grave and medidate. It is located next to the church of Giverny.

10. Consider visiting with a local guide

It’s nice to be on your own, of course, but touring Monet’s gardens with a local guide is a unique experience if you like understanding what you are seeing. Here is the link to check the availability of a local guide.

The Musee des Impressionnismes Giverny (museum of impressionisms) and its garden in October – Photo Ariane Cauderlier

11. Tour a second outstanding garden steps away from Monet’s
200 meters down the Claude Monet street, the musee des impressionnismes Giverny offers fascinating exhibitions and has an incredible garden full of colors.

12. Go and see Hotel Baudy
A bit farther in the same street, Hotel Baudy used to be the meeting place of the artists at the turn of the century. It is now a restaurant and coffee shop. The back yard is accessible to customers. It is a rose garden under tall trees, famous for the old artist studio that Mrs Baudy built to please her guests.