Yesterday, I hopped on the train at the Gare St. Lazard at an ungodly early hour for the ultimate impressionist pilgrimage: Claude Monet’s house at Giverny.
This is where he painted his famous Nympheas series of the water lilies in his pond, and many other paintings through his life. He moved here because he saw a glimpse of the town through a train window and thought, I have to live here.
His gardens at Giverny are massive, and a wild riot of colors and textures and every flower you could imagine. Geraniums, roses, sunflowers and so much more. From his house, his bedroom is filled with the views of the gardens, and it feels like you’re still in them there.
His house was a feast of colors too. From his all-yellow kitchen to his kitchen in shades of blue to the purple that adorns the guest bedroom, Monet’s love of color can be felt in every corner of Giverny.
I was in heaven. Such beauty blossoming in this quiet corner of Normandy. It’s incredible to be in a place and think hm, this sky reminds me of something. Oh right, it reminds me of Monet because I’ve seen this in a painting that I love.
Art is an essential part of being human. It reminds us that beauty is all around, and that change is part of that beauty too. Like the changing light on the Seine, life never stands still. And we shouldn’t either.
How to visit Giverny from Paris
- Take the train from Gare St. Lazare to Vernon-Giverny (I recommend an early one to beat the crowds).
- When you arrive in Vernon, follow the Giverny footsteps at the station to find the shuttle to Giverny.
- You can also rent bikes across from the station, or walk! I walked, it’s about 3 miles on a special pedestrian/bike path that’s well-marked. It takes you over the Seine and through the lovely village of Giverny.
- If you want to save time and a bit of money, buy the billet jumelé at the Musée Marmottan-Monet that also covers the house at Giverny. It means you don’t have to wait in the always-long ticket line at Giverny, as long as you buy the ticket at the Marmottan-Monet first. The Marmottan-Monet is my favorite museum in Paris, and you can see lots of Monet’s paintings of his beloved Giverny there. The paintings in the house at Giverny are all replicas, and there’s nothing as good as seeing the real thing.