Giverny is known as the home to Monet’s gardens, but it is so much more than that. Giverny is a beautiful part of France that is home to different museums, sights, restaurants, and things to see.
You are guaranteed to have a good trip to Giverny if you keep these 5 things in mind. Some things have to do with Monet’s gardens and the others will help you explore other activities the area has to offer.
1. Don’t Book a Tour from Paris
The biggest mistake you can make when visiting Giverny is to book a guided tour from Paris. A guided tour is expensive, and it often isn’t as convenient as taking the train.
Most guided tours use a bus as the mode of transportation. The freeways in France can get very busy, so if there is a traffic jam, you lose precious time you could have spent in Giverny stuck in traffic.
It is incredibly easy to get to Giverny from central Paris. If you want to learn how easy it is, check out the Giverny section of this post.
Guided tours are also extremely expensive whereas purchasing a train ticket and doing a self-guided tour is not. You won’t miss anything by skipping the guided tour from Paris.
2. Book a Guide in Advance
You decided to opt out of a guided tour from Paris, but you are still interested in learning more about Monet’s gardens than you would be able to doing a self-guided tour.
Well, you’re in luck. You are able to reserve a guide through the Claude Monet Foundation that is licensed to tour you through the gardens and teach you about their history. You will want to book your guide in advance because they can be quite popular- especially during the peak summer season.
Reserving a guide through the Foundation allows you to get the in-deth knowledge a guided tour from Paris would give you, but you have a level of personal freedom you wouldn’t have if you booked a guided tour through a travel agency.
3. Explore Vernon
Vernon is a small town close to Monet’s gardens. Monet actually frequented it while he was alive.
It has a number of great restaurants with patios where you can sip wine and be inspired by the beautiful scenery. You can also take in the sights it has to offer. The Old Mill and Collégiale Notre-Dame church are two points of interest. Monet painted both of them, so you know they must be beautiful.
One of the most beautiful things you can do in Vernon is have a picnic lunch by the Seine. The views are breathtaking, and it is the perfect way to get away from the rest of the tourists.
4. April and May are the Best Months to Visit Giverny
Giverny is a popular tourist destination. Many guide books and online articles state Giverny is one of the most underrated tourist attractions in France, but it is still extremely busy.
People come from all over the world to see Monet’s gardens, and it is especially busy from the beginning of June through the beginning of September. If you can avoid those months, you will have a more pleasant and less crowded experience at Giverny.
April through May are, in my opinion, the best time to visit Giverny. The weather is decent, the flowers are in bloom, and it is during the shoulder season. You will not have as many crowds if you visit during a shoulder season, and this will allow you to enjoy the gardens more.
Monet’s gardens are open from the end of March to the 1st of November. If you can’t visit the gardens in April or May, October would be the next best time. The weather won’t be as nice in October, but the flowers will still be in bloom and the crowds will be minimal.
5. You Can Book a Hot Air Balloon Ride
If you want a more unique experience in Giverny, you can take a hot air balloon ride. This gives you a bird’s eye view of the region and an experience that you won’t soon forget.
There are a number of companies you can book a hot air balloon ride through. You will want to book the ride early to ensure you get a spot because most balloons only have enough space for 3-4 passengers.
Booking a hot air balloon ride while in Giverny is perfect for couples looking for a romantic outing while in France. The only downside to this experience is the price tag. A hot air balloon ride can cost a couple hundred Euros per person, so you will need to evaluate how much you want to do it. But it would sure make a great story!
Giverny is famous for Monet’s gardens, and you should not miss touring them when you visit Giverny. They are stunning, relaxing, inspiring, and humbling. The amount of work the Foundation does to upkeep the plants is astonishing, and they do an amazing job.
However, Giverny deserves to be explored beyond Monet’s gardens. It is a special part of France that is often overlooked when people are creating their French travel itineraries. The best part of Giverny is that it can be explored in just one day from Paris, so there is no excuse not to go see it.