Y’all know I LOVE Paris and could spend every waking moment there and not get bored. But there are tons of wonderful little towns nearby and it’s absolutely worth taking a day to explore one! Today, I’m sharing my day trip to Giverny!
Best known for being home to Claude Monet, this little village is FULL of impressionist era charm. Despite being very popular with tourists, there is an instant sense of peacefulness that you get while walking around. It’s as if the village is whispering to you to sit down and enjoy the sights, sounds, and smells.
Getting to Giverny from Paris is quite simple and quite quick. If you like driving, feel free to rent a car and do a little road trip. It’s only about 80 minutes from Paris and there’s tons of free parking in Giverny. If you want to just sit back and enjoy the ride, snag a 22ish euro train ticket. You’ll leave from Gare St. Lazare in Paris and you’ll arrive less than an hour later in Giverny’s neighboring town of Vernon. I typically purchase my tickets straight from SNCF. When you enter your search, the destination station you’ll want to select is Vernon-Giverny. However you decide to get there, my one recommendation would be to go early to try to beat some of the tour groups.
Once you arrive in Vernon, there are several options for getting to Giverny. If you enjoy walking, aren’t on a tight timeline, and are blessed with nice weather, walking between the two towns is really lovely. But HEADS UP: It is almost an hour walk. So make sure you are up for that. Here’s what you’ll do:
Walk out of the front door of the train station. Directly in front of you, you will see a couple little restaurants. On either side of that building there will be two little streets leading away from the train station. Pick one and walk til you dead-end into Rue d’Albufera. Turn left and keep walking straight. Stay straight at the roundabout. You should eventually see a big bridge. Cross that bridge and enjoy the views! As you get to the other side of the bridge you can either turn immediately and walk down the grassy hill towards the paved path by the Seine. Or you can follow the sidewalk and veer right. Keep on the sidewalk til you pass a fenced-in building on your right, next which you’ll see a path. Turn right down that path and you’ll end up on that pedestrian pathway along the river. However you get to the walkway, once you’re there, turn your back to the bridge and start walking. And keep walking 🙂
You’ll reach a point where the path turns up and spits you out at the main road (D5). When that happens, you’re going to cross the main road and go up a little hill. You’ll then see an entrance to another pedestrian/bike path to your right. Turn there and continue on. That little path will spit you out at another intersection between D5 and Rue Claude Monet. Stay off the main road, and instead turn left onto Rue Claude Monet. This is the main strip of Giverny and will eventually lead you to lots of shops, boutiques, artists studios, restaurants, gardens and museums.
NOTE: Even if you decide to drive, you need to walk to the end of Rue Claude Monet and back. This street is a MUST SEE. Cuteness from beginning to end.
If you would prefer not to walk, the Giverny Shuttle leaves from the train station. You can purchase tickets on board for about 10 euro (round trip). Be sure to check the updated season schedule BEFORE you get your train ticket so you can time your arrival and departure times accordingly. Here’s 2018’s timetable to give you an idea of options. If you want a ride but want to be a little more touristy, there is also a little open air “train” (I suppose it’s more of a trolley) you can hop on for 8 euro round trip. Not sure if it’s necessarily better than the bus, but it’s certainly aesthetically more adorable and slightly cheaper.
If you like the idea of being able to soak in the scenery but don’t want to spend an hour of your day walking, you can also rent bikes. To do that, go directly across the street from the train station to the little restaurant on the right. There’s a giant sign that says “Here Rent Bicycles” so I don’t think you’ll miss it 😉 Don’t expect anything fancy here. They’re just ordinary bikes with some baskets. But they get the job done! I’d plan on having cash on hand for them. When I looked, it was about 12 euro for the day. And bring your drivers license as they will ask for something to hold and you don’t want to leave your passport. Once you’ve got your bike, follow my directions from above to get to Giverny!
I’m not going to say much here, because I did this as a day trip (in before noon, out around 6). But if you wanted to spend a couple days in town, there’s lots of little B&B’s. I only saw the outsides but seriously all of them were ADORABLE. Go do a Google search and take your pick!
Rue Claude Monet is sprinkled with lots of restaurants. Most of them have lovely little outdoor garden spaces to dine in so from an ambiance perspective, I don’t think you can go wrong with anything.
I personally chose Restaurant Baudy. The reviews looked good when I searched and the outdoor dining space looked so peaceful when I walked by! Food was tasty. Servers were nice. Atmosphere was perfection.
If you want to do some finer dining, check out Le Jardin des Plumes, a Michelin star restaurant with some prix fixe menu options.
But, again, there’s lots of options and they’re all relatively close to each other, so just walk past a few, take a peek and pick!
I mean, you’re in Monet’s village. You can’t not visit his house. I’d recommend making that your first stop, again to try to beat some of the tour groups. Though you can walk down all pathways and back fairly quickly, you could easily spend hours in the gardens just getting lost in the breathtaking beauty of it all. Don’t be afraid to find a bench and just sit for a while. For more info, hop over to the Fondation Claude Monet. If you’ll be in town for a while and want to check out another museum, you can purchase a slightly discounted combined ticket for Monet’s House as well as the Musée des Impressionnismes.
For me, outside of those big spots, half the fun in Giverny was just strolling the main street. There’s all kinds of artists studios and galleries and little boutiques you can pop in and out of. Everything is incredibly quaint and charming and you can just mosey along at your own pace.
Bon voyage mes amis!
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