The amazing thing about Europe is how the identity of each country is so unique and special. Each land has its own stories to tell, its own traditions and festivals to savor, its own delicacies to enjoy, and its own landmarks to admire. While the nations of Scandinavia are known for fairy tale landscapes and forests, for example, somewhere like Greece is associated with laid-back coastal villages, Italy is linked with romance and art, England with history and culture, and Spain with warm weather and sunny beaches.
And then there’s France. One of the most-visited European nations of all, France is known worldwide for its amazing cuisine, fascinating past, proud culture, amazing scenery, diverse landscapes, and awesome cities like Paris, Lyon, Marseille, and Nice. There’s a lot to be seen and done all over in France, and people can spend years exploring the country but still barely scratching the surface of what it has to offer.
A lot of trips to France begin and end in the capital city of Paris. The City of Love, as it has become known over the years, Paris is the home of the Eiffel Tower, the Louvre Museum, the Arc de Triomphe, the Champs Elysées, and so much more. It’s a place of liveliness, culture, beauty, and history, and it’s the sort of city where visitors can lose themselves for days, weeks, or months on end.
However, if you’re planning to spend some time in Paris but want to see another side of France and experience what life is like away from the city streets, organizing a day trip to a rural location is an excellent idea. Paris is perfectly situated for all kinds of day trips to areas like Normandy, Brittany, Alsace, the Loire Valley, and more. One of the best and most interesting places to visit on a day trip from Paris is Giverny. Read on to learn more about planning the perfect day trip to Giverny from Paris.
All About Giverny
Giverny is a small village on the Seine river. It's located in Normandy in northern France, and it's best known as the home and workplace of legendary impressionist artist, Claude Monet. Monet lived and painted in Giverny from 1883 all the way up until his death in 1926.
Naturally, having inspired such a famous artist, Giverny is well-known for its beauty. The landscapes and ambience of this small commune are simply unparalleled, and many people are drawn to the area nowadays to visit Monet's former home and gardens, as well as taking a walk around the commune to see exactly why the artist loved it so much.
Getting to Giverny from Paris
Giverny is about 80 km (50 miles) away from Paris, so it's not too far at all and perfectly suitable for a day trip. Since Giverny is quite a small place, this also makes it a good location to visit for just one day. You can set off in the morning, have a full day to explore the commune and visit some of the main attractions like Monet's house, and then head back. When planning your day trip to Giverny, you can choose to travel by car, bus, or train.
Getting to Giverny from Paris by Car
Driving from Paris to Giverny is one of the simplest and best options for this particular day trip. You can get from Central Paris out to Giverny in about an hour and a half on average, although the timing will depend on what time of day you're traveling and how the traffic is in and around Paris itself.
You'll need to follow the A14, which does have some tolls to pay along the way, and then follow the signs for Giverny. Getting there is simple, but drivers will need to feel confident enough to take on the roads around Paris, which can sometimes be quite busy and difficult to navigate.
Getting to Giverny from Paris by Bus
Several tour operators run bus tours direct to Giverny from Paris. These buses typically leave from convenient locations in the center of Paris, so they’re a good option for tourists who just want to climb aboard a bus, relax, and let the professionals take care of everything else.
These buses can get you to Giverny in less than two hours and will take you right to the main attractions, cutting out the inconvenience of having to park or get into the town from the local train station. The only drawback to these bus tours is that the prices can be quite high.
Getting to Giverny from Paris by Train
If you choose to travel to Giverny by train, you'll need to catch the same service as you would for big cities like Rouen and Le Havre. The fastest trains leave from Saint Lazare Paris station and can get you to Giverny in about 45 minutes. You'll need to get off at the Vernon-Giverny station.
From there, if you're visiting in the tourist season from spring to fall, you can get a bus shuttle from the station straight to the center of Giverny, so will need to add on the additional cost of riding this shuttle, or you can walk there, but the walk is a few miles long.
Important Information and Things to Do in Giverny
- Getting Around - As previously stated, there is a shuttle service linking the Vernon-Giverny rail station with central Giverny. This shuttle also serves the main bus station for the area, so if you're getting into Giverny by bus or train, you can hop on the shuttle to get closer to the main attractions. You can also simply walk, as Giverny is quite a small and highly picturesque location, best enjoyed on foot.
- Best Time to Visit - Giverny is always pretty, but one of the big attractions of this area is its gardens and all the greenery around you, so visiting at a time when the flowers are in full bloom is definitely the best idea. The best time to visit Giverny is therefore anywhere from April through to October. Visting in the summer months will ensure you get the best weather, but you'll have to deal with more tourists.
- Things to Do in Giverny - The number one thing to do in Giverny is, of course, the 'Maison et Jardins de Claude Monet' (the home and gardens of Claude Monet). This is where Monet lived for over 40 years,. It's a very pretty house and has been converted into a museum, letting visitors see how the great man worked and even visit his studio, as well as roaming around his delightful gardens. You'll also find the Giverny Museum of Impressionism nearby, as well as the charming St Radegund Church and a couple of good places to eat, but the prices can be quite high.