Here is an opportunity to experience what it is like to be IN a Monet painting, not to just look at one. A visit to the famous Impressionist painter’s home and gardens provides a deeper understanding of the artist and his work.
Monet’s home and gardens is operated by the Claude Monet Foundation: https://fondation-monet.com/giverny/la-maison-de-monet/ . The home and gardens are open from April 1 to November 1. The hours are 09:30 to 6:00 pm.
Tickets: To avoid long lines, it is advised to purchase tickets in advance on the Monet Foundation website. Entrance fees are 11 euros for adults with discounts for students, groups, and disabled persons.
Getting there involves a 45-minute train ride from Gare Saint-Lazare to Vernon, the closest train station to the house and gardens. Purchase tickets online at www.trainline.com is the easy way to go. Buying at Gare Saint-Lazare or an SNCF boutique is really not recommended. Experience has shown me sometimes there is an hour or more wait at the station. The automated kiosks may not accept non-European credit cards.
Before boarding the train, validate the train ticket by having it stamped by one of the yellow machines.
Trains leave about 2 pm and 5 pm back to Paris from Vernon. Your train ticket will most likely be a “flexible” ticket that allows travel on either train. Tickets are about €23 R/T.
I recommend getting to Giverny early in the morning, preferably before the armada of tour buses arrive. I take the train that arrives in Vernon about 9:05 a.m. since the gardens and home open at 9:30. Once arriving in Vernon, walk through the underpass then through the train ticket office. This is where a decision needs to be made on how to get to house and gardens at Giverny:
Bus: Municipal buses wait along the street parallel to the train tracks about 75 yards from the ticket office. Tickets are €5 each way, purchased on board. After the bus is loaded up, the 6km journey drops passengers off at an area that is another 10-minute walk to the house/gardens ticket office. When it is all said and done, if arriving at Vernon at 9:05 a.m., expect to finally enter just before 10 a.m., just as every other Monet pilgrim arrives. The bus schedule coordinates with the train schedule to get back to the train station for the trip back to Paris. Here is more information on the bus: https://www.giverny.fr/wp-content/uploads/GIVERNY-Flyer-Mars2021-V1_GB-web.pdf. Fair warning: during peak times there may be overwhelming crowds visiting Giverny and there have been times where this is not enough space on the bus to accommodate all travelers. If traveling during peak times, it might be best to make sure you get off the train quickly and get to the bus stop ASAP. Otherwise, consider getting a taxi.
Taxi: There are a limited number of cabs in Vernon, so scurry over to the taxi stand in front of the train station. €25 or so gets you deposited steps away from the Giverny ticket office, probably in time for the 9:30 a.m. opening. Make arrangements with the driver to get back to the train station. Google “taxi companies Vernon France” and make a reservation for a cab to/from Giverny if you wish.
Bike: At a small restaurant across the street from the buses to Giverny, bike rentals are available.
Walk: It’s a long 6km hike, partly along a paved pathway. It is probably an hour walk.
Once getting in, walk directly back through an underpass to the water gardens to the famous Japanese bridge and water lilies and start filling up the camera’s memory card. Stroll back to the flower gardens for more snapshots before heading into the house.