Giverny, France (Photo creds: me)
You may not have heard of Giverny but you’ve definitely heard of Monet. Monet’s stunning paintings of gorgeous green gardens and calm lakes covered with lily pads are infamous. These paintings are of his gardens which are in the small town of Giverny. So why should Giverny be on your bucket list? In one word – it’s PERFECT.
First things first – getting to Giverny. It’s unnecessary to spend a whole night in Giverny, it’s a small town and does have many things to see, but it won’t need more than a day trip. For me, I had a week in Paris but out of that week I had 3 day trips, one of which was to Giverny. First, you take a train to Vernon (which costs about 30€ or so, if I remember correctly), and from Vernon you take a bus to Giverny. FYI, you do the same thing on the way back.
Once in Giverny, you’ll notice the quaint little homes and lots of greenery and flora. Even before you hit Monet’s house, there’s still so much beautiful nature to see. Like these huge elephant ears that were in front of a small family run cafe we walked past! Like I said, the entire town is tiny, but very, very beautiful. The small homes look more like cottages and the whole place really takes you back and makes you feel like you’re in Snow White’s fairytale land.
Unfortunately, I don’t think you can get your ticket ahead of time to enter the gardens unless you have a French phone number, but we didn’t have any problems with waiting in line and purchasing there. Tickets are not expensive! 10.20€ for normal tickets, but if you have your student ID, the price goes down to 7.50€. In my blog post 15 Tips For Budget Travel, I mention the efficiency of bringing your student ID card during travel, along with many other things that can help bring your spending budget down!
Once inside, you can not only just wander through Monet’s home, but also walk through his gardens (my personal favorite part!) After spending a few minutes admiring the quirky chickens wandering around, we made our way to where all the gorgeous, blooming flowers were… Which was EVERYWHERE. Literally everywhere you look, amazing, beautiful flowers, some that I’d never even imagined before in my head! And all around you can smell so strongly the sweet and delicious scent of all the flowers mixing together. I’ve never in my life smelled anything like that before, and it smelled so GOOD. Think about when you’re given flowers, how you smell them right away. Now imagine that smell, but thousands of different flowers, just permeating the air. It was unreal.
After strolling through these gardens closer to the entrance, we followed the small paths and bridges until we found ourselves at the famous lake with all the many lily pads. Something that you wouldn’t know just from looking at Monet’s paintings is the presence of so many frogs and toads, croaking so loud that in every video I’ve got, you can hear them as if you’re right there! If you look closely in this photo, you can see one on top of the lily pad.
Their sound was filling the silence and it was incredible to hear. Besides that, the lake itself was absolutely stunning. Again, just making me feel like I was in a fairytale story, right out of the pages of a book. Pictures don’t do it justice at all but I’ll still send out a small spam of photos I took from the lake. I’m sure you’ll recognize some of these photos if you’ve ever seen any of Monet’s paintings!
After circling the lake, we made our way back to the main gardens. Another thing that I absolutely loved about Monet’s home is that aside from the lake, there were also tons of small little rivers flowing through the grounds, and they were all so aesthetically pleasing!
Actually, the entire place was so aesthetically pleasing (in case that isn’t obvious from all these photos…) It didn’t take us more than 3 or 4 hours to stroll through the whole area, and after enjoying a bit more time in Giverny itself, we made our way back to the bus stop and headed back to Vernon and then to Paris.
So, if you’re looking to go to a place that will take your breath away with its colorful beauty, and for a place that will make for some seriously wonderful photos to show your friends and family, this is it. It is not an expensive day trip, and really worth it to see the place where Monet got his inspiration.