This Spring we had the opportunity to visit Claude Monet’s home and garden in Giverny, France. Giverny is a lovely village that looks like it was plucked right out of a fairy tale or Disney movie. It is overwhelmingly beautiful, and so amazing to see a slice of Claude Monet’s life as he lived in Giverny from 1883 – 1926. Here’s your ultimate guide to exploring Giverny and Claude Monet’s Home and Gardens.

Treat yourself to an adventure in Giverny, and I promise you won’t regret it. The most popular seasons to visit are the Fall and Spring, but the gardens are still gorgeous year round, thanks to the care of the foundation.

What to Know Before You Go

giverny monet flowers

Transportation From Paris

We visited Giverny by car, which was quick and convenient, but pretty pricey. I would recommend taking a car only if you’re in a large group, and can split the fee.

Knowing what we know now, a train would have been the cheaper option. If you decide to take a train, you want to go to the Gare Saint Lazare and choose Gare de Vernon as your destination.

Once in Vernon you can take a quick shuttle over to Giverny, or rent a bicycle at Givernon Rental Station and enjoy a half-hour cycle along the beautiful French countryside to The Claude Monet Foundation.

Monet's pink and green home surrounded by trees

Arriving in Giverny

Once you make it through the charming town of Giverny, keep an eye out for Monet’s pink and green house and you know you arrived. We recommend getting out there as early as possible, we left our hotel in Paris at 8 am and arrived at around 9:30 am in Giverny.

I got a little car sick being in the back of the cab, so we proceeded to the Les Nymphéas vente a emporter (aka take-out window), and got the weirdest hotdog ever (from an American perspective).

It’s important not to be tempted by the gift shop that’s connected to The Claude Monet Foundation, as this is how you exit the tour. Since we arrived early, the line was totally manageable, the weather was beautiful, and the wait time wasn’t bad at all.

When we finished the tour around 1:30 pm, the line was four times longer than when we arrived, and the weather was heating up.

Monet’s Gardens

As an art history minor, my heart couldn’t handle how magnificent the gardens are. It was truly like time traveling and walking through the canvas right into the world of Les Nymphéas. It’s important to take your time, soak everything in, and literally stop and smell the flowers. It should be enjoyed just as Monet’s masterpieces are, with solemn reverence and appreciation for the beauty around you.

Monet spent years landscaping the gardens, painting them, and living in this space. You can see the inspiration for his art all around you, so make sure to take lots of pictures!

When he first settled in the area, as an already older and established artist, there was only a small garden and apple orchard. By 1890, he began developing nearly 2 acres into the treasured jardin we see today, complete with massive flower and water gardens.

the leaves and branches of a japenese maple tree in the sky

large pond with trees

In order to have the pond, Monet had to defy the city and channel part of the Ept River to provide the water he needed. The painter became obsessed with the filtered light and the way it fell on the water lilies in his last 30 years of life. Now those 200+ paintings are featured in the most prominent art museums in the world and have sold for over $40 million dollars.

Once things started to get a bit crowded, we headed through the underpass into the Clos Normand Garden. Monet created each flowerbed with singular colors of blooms, to represent an artist color palette. It looks just like one of his paintings, full of life, color, and beautiful light. The Normand Garden is marked by the metal archways with ascending blooms, and all the colors you could imagine.

After taking some time to fully explore the Normand garden, and stopping to say hi to the chickens hidden away in the cutest coops you’ve ever seen. They’re friendly and like to come up and say hi, and show you their beautiful plumage.

rows of flowers in french garden in the countryside

La Maison

Finally, it’s time to explore the Maison. Inside you’ll find his painting studio, the bedrooms of Monet and his family, and possibly as much color on the inside as there is out. The colors are so bright and beautiful, that I’d imagine it would be impossible to feel anything other than happiness and joy while living in that space.

There’s also his personal art collection which includes numerous historic Japanese prints by Hokusai, Hirohige, and Utamaro. His collection also included works from his friends and contemporaries Rodin, Boudin, Manet, and Cézanne. The museum was painstakingly recreated to represent Monet’s time there. Looking out the windows of the top floor is awe-inspiringly beautiful, seeing the massive expanse of colors and blooms.

personal art collection of claude monet

Inside there’s a stunning array of colors, patterned wallpaper, tiles, and textiles. The tiles in the kitchen transcend time and are still prominently featured in designs we see today. They were handmade by a master tile craftsman in France, and are an off-shoot of the Chinese blue and white porcelain that was imported to Amsterdam via the Dutch East India Trading Company in the 17th century.

Once you’re finished with the tour, you can exit through the gift shop, which is actually where Monet painted the water lilies. The gift shop is expertly curated and filled with way too many things that I needed, considering the space in my luggage.

Monet's water lillies painting hangs over a photo of the artist painting it

Let’s Talk Food

After a few hours of touring the space, you’re bound to build up an appetite. We recommend making reservations ahead of time for the Les Nympéas restaurant right across the street from The Foundation. It’s an old farm that was built around the same time as Monet’s house, and was transformed into a charming restaurant that is as beautiful as it is delicious.

Another restaurant that we recommend would be the lovely Restaurant Baudy, set in a historic hotel that once hosted artists such as Cézanne, Renoir, and Rodin.