There are so many great museums to visit in Paris that you might literally be able to spend a week just visiting one museum after another. But if you’re looking to step outside of a museum and experience art in an interactive manner, one of the more popular day trips to take from Paris is to Claude Monet’s house where he painted his famous water lily paintings in Giverny. It’s just over an hour to get there by car or about an hour by train (plus walking / taking a bus to his house).
If you want the easy, stress-free route, and just as cost-effective as taking the train, I suggest you take a tour. I went with Paris City Vision as they had great rates and the tour option that I really needed – transportation and an audio guide (they also offer a profession group guide for a higher fee). With this, I was able to lessen the worry that I’d get lost outside of Paris plus I can wander around at my own pace without having to keep up with a group.
For this tour, I had to meet up with my group in front of the Paris City Vision location right by the Louvre at 7:45am, and we boarded at 8:15am in a very nice coach bus! The seats were cushioned well and covered with high-quality cloth covers and faux-leather accents. There was also a partial sunroof, tray tables, and most importantly, two working USB chargers!
When we got to Monet’s house, us audioguide folks were set free and given a couple of hours to wander around the grounds.
Getting from the parking lot to the entrance was a little confusing but it was such a nice walk surrounded by quaint houses full of greenery and stone walls! Some of the buildings are houses from actual residents and others are little mom and pop shops that sell Monet-related products. If you have some time after touring Monet’s house, they might be worth checking out.
Otherwise, even before getting to the house, I was already in awe of the surrounding!
Immediately upon entering his domaine, we stepped into his lovely garden with beautiful flowers left and right. The pathways are small, though, and with a lot of tourists visiting at one time, it can be hard to walk around his property. If possible, I highly suggest taking a weekday tour if you want to encounter less people.
And yet, even with the crowd, it didn’t take away from the fact that I was walking around his garden and seeing the intimate views of his home that Monet saw time and time again depicted in so many of his paintings. That’s really what struck me.
In the living room, you’ll see some of his paintings up close and personal. Oh, I just love these two portraits of a wind-swept lady in the field.
You will be able to wander through all parts of his house – just not his studio. It’s amazing to see how the house was able to situate him and his second wife plus his two kids and her three kids. You’ll also see how he was a great admirer of Japanese paintings, as many of the rooms were decorated with them.
After exploring his whole house, we were off to the water lily pond!
I can definitely see why Monet would want to spend countless hours staring and studying this water lily pond. It’s just so peaceful.
All in all, I spent about 1.5 hours touring the place (and taking a lot of photos) that there was barely enough time for me to visit the gift shop and meander around the area outside of his home, before having to dash back to the bus. If you are not a photographer, the two hours allotted time is a sufficient amount given by Paris City Vision to do all of the necessary things.
TIP: Be sure to bring water and some snacks and/or lunch! This tour will take up more than 5 hours of your time, and food and drinks are not easy to come by.