12 Giverny Travel Tips of an Insider

by Ariane ~ 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, a 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.

Giverny Off Season

by Ariane ~ November 9, 2022

Photo Ariane Cauderlier

Monet’s gardens at Giverny are now closed until 1st April 2023, but the gardeners are still very busy preparing the flower show of next year. The Grande Allee has already lost its carpet of nasturtiums, its beds of dahlias, asters and sages. It will soon be replanted with spring bulbs, pansies and wallflowers.

Monet’s Bridge in Autumn

by Ariane ~ October 8, 2022

Giverny, 7th October 2022 – Photo Ariane Cauderlier

While the sun sets behind the bamboo grove, the wisteria covered footbridge designed by Claude Monet for his water garden in Giverny almost vanishes under the lush vegetation of October.

Giverny in the Observer

by Ariane ~ September 8, 2022

A guest of mine treated me with a very special gift: an issue of the Observer dated from the 12 October 1980, with the opening of Giverny on the cover. The article is signed Jane and Geoffrey Grigson, the culinary writer goddess and her husband, poet and editor, both keen on arts. Pamla Toler took the beautiful photos.

The text logically starts by locating Giverny ‘on the southernmost edge of Normandy‘ but to my surprise, instead of describing as usual the way from Paris, the journey begins in Le Havre. British visitors crossing the Channel in a ferry would probably land there. After underlining the shortness of the drive, the authors suggest a picnic in the countryside and a visit to Monet’s grave.

Their first impression of the gardens is that ‘it is better to speak of a flower-palette than of a flower composition‘. They note the many colors of the irises, ‘yellow, pink, white, cream, blue‘, and start the tour by the house. Their astonishment and emotion increase as they enter the dining room: ‘Has anyone, any painter, left more of himself behind in a room?‘ After evocating the colors, the Japanese woodblocks, the many visitors in Monet’s times, they enter the kitchen : ‘then comes a second shock, dining-room to kitchen, immediately alongside, yellow to blue, a blue-tiled kitchen as cool as the colour can make it‘.

The tour continues in the house, in the flowers garden and around the water lily pond, inviting, well written and well observed – the least for an article for the Observer.

The Magic of Giverny

by Ariane ~ August 16, 2022

My brand new book on the beauty and atmosphere of Monet’s gardens at Giverny

I am very proud and over happy to show you my new book The Magic of Giverny, a Year in Claude Monet’s Garden.

It is in the spirit of my French blog, Giverny News: a warm and poetic description of the seasons in the beautiful garden created by the impressionist painter. It is illustrated by tons of photos I took early in the morning, or after closing time, or even in the winter when it snowed.

My friend Vero Stark, a draftswoman, drew lovely sketches of the garden, to give the reader the feeling that s.he is sitting on the bank of the water lilies pond or on a bench in the flowers garden.

The book was published last year in French and sold very well, so this year we can enjoy its English translation made by an American translater named… Catherine Monnet!!! Isn’t it amazing?

The boat in Monet’s garden, Vero Stark, 2021

The Magic of Giverny is published by OREP editions. 96 pages, 18 euros. To have a look inside or to order, click here.

Reflections at Giverny

by Ariane ~ July 17, 2022

Photo Ariane Cauderlier, Monet’s water lily pond at Giverny, 7th July 2022

When Claude Monet didn’t paint, he could sit next to his water lily pond and observe it for long minutes. He was fascinated by the changing aspect of the surface. Some corners can be totally green, like this one, others reflecting the sky may be blue or animated by passing clouds. And the breeze blurs the surface in some places, ignoring other ones. Not to speak of the slow motion of the water lilies, opening in the morning and closing in the late afternoon.

Rose Arches

by Ariane ~ June 19, 2022

Photo Ariane Cauderlier, Monet’s Garden in Giverny, 14th June 2022

Claude Monet ornated the main path of his flowers garden at Giverny with very large arbors on which he grew different varieties of roses. The present day gardeners have planted four roses at the feet of each arch : two ramblers for the show in June, and two remontant climbers for a lasting effect in Summer.
They aren’t necessarily the same color, as can be seen on the second arch on the photo.
A wide range of pink poppies (papaver somniferum) in matching colors fill the flower bed below, creating an harmony in green and pink with the house on the back.

Don’t miss the little rose garden

by Ariane ~ May 25, 2022

Photo Ariane Cauderlier, 13th May 2022, Monet’s Garden in Giverny

On the left side of the house, the garden of Claude Monet ends in a cul-de-sac. Protected by a high wall, pink roses thrive there. If you visit Giverny, don’t miss this corner of the flower garden, it is the perfect time of year to see – and smell! – roses.

Giverny, Sunrise

by Ariane ~ May 20, 2022

Photo Ariane Cauderlier, Monet’s Garden in Giverny, 13th May 2022

Many visitors report that they feel inspired by Monet’s gardens at Giverny. “I haven’t painted for decades,” they tell me, “but now I feel tempted to take the brushes again.”

Claude Monet’s water lily pond is inspiring, for sure. The master of impressionism painted it year after year, relentlessly. It is not only breathtakingly beautiful, it is also very picturesque: worth being painted.

Giverny, a Garden of Colors

by Ariane ~ April 28, 2022

Photo Ariane Cauderlier, Monet’s Garden in Giverny, 27th April 2022

April is a very colorful month at Giverny, thank to thousands and thousands of tulips, underplanted with pansies, wallflowers and forget-me-not.
Monet combined short flower beds and very long ones, inspired by the colorful stripes of the tulipfields that he had seen in Holland.

Back to Giverny !

by Ariane ~ March 26, 2022

Monet’s garden awaits the first visitors of 2022

The sun has been shining on Giverny lately, awakening flowers and buds. Spring is back, and for the first time in three years the Monet gardens are due to open on their usual opening day: April 1st.

We all are super excited ! There is joy and relief in the air, after two long seasons impacted by the pandemic. As I am writing this post, no mask nor vaccination pass are required any more. You can either buy your ticket online or on site, though it is recommended to use e-tickets to avoid waiting in line.

The gardens will be as lovely and stunning as usual, and the Musee des Impressionnismes Giverny treats us with a Monet/Rothko exhibition that will please the many fans of both artists, I hope. The museum opened last week.

Coffee-shops and little restaurants are preparing their open air terrasses, and birds have started their spring concert. Guides, like me, read their notes once again to remember every single detail. In Monet’s gardens, the gardeners hurry to take advantage of the empty garden to finish their winter tasks. Everything will look pristine next Friday ! 🙂

The Musee des Impressionnismes Giverny

by Ariane ~ January 22, 2022

Giverny, white garden of the Musee des Impressionnismes

While at Giverny, you shouldn’t miss the beautiful ‘Musee des Impressionnismes’, a few steps away only from Monet’s place. Because it has great exhibitions organized with the help of Musee d’Orsay in Paris, the very specialist of this art movement in France. And because of its stunning garden. This is a corner of the white garden at the tulips time, mid or late April, with the backdrop of blossoming cherry trees.

This year the season will start on March 18, 2022 with an exhibition I am already eager to see: Monet / Rothko. It should be an uplifting feast of colors. (up to July 3, 2022). It will be followed on July 14 by The Collection’s Summer, up to October 2, 2022.

Ariane Cauderlier

Monet’s Garden by Blanche Monet

by Ariane ~ November 22, 2021

Blanche Hoschedé-Monet, The pond at Giverny, musee A.-G. Poulain, Vernon, France

In the vicinity of Giverny, the little town of Vernon has a museum that is well worth a visit, at least for its impressionist rooms that include two beautiful Monets. The museum Alphonse-Georges-Poulain also owns 8 works by Blanche Hoschedé-Monet (1865 – 1947). At the same time step daughter and daughter in law of the master, Blanche was his only pupil. She often painted next to him, until she stopped when Monet lost his wife – her mother – to take care of him.
Blanche resumed painting after Monet died. Then only she dared choosing his garden as a motiv. The Pond at Giverny is not dated but we can guess it was painted between 1927 and 1947.
The corner Blanche picked up doesn’t appear on Monet’s works. The angle encompasses the dock on the far left, a cherry blossom, two tall trees that could be the ashes at the entrance to the water garden, the still young copper beech and probably the start of the Japanese bridge on the far right. The edges of the pond are still like in Monet’s times, with clumps of irises, peonies and rosebushes on lawns, a contrast with the present day lush flower beds all around the pond.

Visiting Giverny in 2021

by Ariane ~ August 8, 2021

If you intend to visit Giverny in the next weeks, here is what awaits you at the entrance: you will be asked for your ‘pass sanitaire’ (Covid health pass) or vaccination card (more info on the French government website here), you will need to show your admission ticket (if you don’t have it yet, you can buy it on site) then you will have to open your bag for a visual check, and you will get some gel on your hands. That’s it! 🙂

When inside, you can walk as you like on the grounds, provided that you wear your mask all time. The good side of these measures is that fewer people visit Giverny. Monet’s little paradise almost for yourself? It is worth the effort, ins’t it ?

Painted Gardens

by Ariane ~ July 11, 2021

The 2021 exhibition at Musee des Impressionnismes Giverny displays paintings and photographs of gardens, from Monet to Bonnard. Impressionists and Nabis steal the show with gorgeous works full of colors, like this master piece by Monet featuring the garden of his aunt Lecadre.