Europe / France

Visit Monet’s Most Spectacular Waterlily Garden in Giverny

Japanese water garden in Giverny

Tucked away in an unassuming hamlet, 50 miles west of Paris is Giverny, the location of the house and gardens of the renowned artist Claude Monet, making this the perfect day trip from Paris.

Take the train journey from the capital and pass through the beautiful French countryside on your way to experience the magic that Monet created. Reflect on the beauty of his waterlily garden, captured in over 200 of his paintings and wander through his vibrantly painted house and informal gardens bursting with colour and scent.

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How to Get There

From Paris, Gare Saint Lazare take the hour-long train journey to Vernon. From Vernon to Giverny, travel by shuttle bus, taxi or by foot. The shuttle bus awaits each train’s arrival and departs for the 15-minute journey to Giverny shortly afterwards. Book online for an organised half-day trip with skip-the-line entrance tickets.

 Who was Claude Monet?

Claude Monet was a founder of the French Impressionism movement developed in Paris in the 1860s. He experimented with synthetic pigments to develop a more subtle and lighter way of capturing his subject. The Impressionists embraced natural landscapes that could be brought to life using this style.

Monet moved from Paris to Giverny in 1883 and began a lifetime of painting subjects from his house and gardens. In 1899 he started painting his famous water lilies and continued for the next 20 years. Monet was a realist and would paint the same object several times to capture its beauty and depth in different lights throughout the seasons.

water lilies at Giverny

Monet’s Famous Gardens

There are two parts to Monet’s gardens. A flower garden called Clos Normand and a Japanese-inspired water garden on the other side of the road.

Clos Normand surrounds the house and is a riot of colour; pink, yellow, orange and red flowers fight for the visitor’s attention. Monet did not want an organised or constrained garden and so left it to grow freely. He mixed delicate, simple flowers like daisies and poppies with rare and robust varieties to give a rambling non-uniformed feel.

The garden is dense and beautiful, with roses climbing over iron arches from the front of the house to the back of the garden, allowing the visitor to enjoy colour and scent at every turn.

Clos Normand, as viewed from Monet’s House

Monet's Garden, Giverny

Monet’s Japanese Water Lily Garden

Head across the road leading from Monet’s house via a small tunnel. It is here you will find the Japanese Water Lily Garden – one of the most famous gardens in Europe.

Ten years after arriving in Giverny, Monet discovered a small brook near the house and purchased it. With his love of gardening, he expanded the brook into a pond and then into the Japanese Water Gardens.

Even if you have never visited France, you will surely recognise this garden from the famous water lilies that have been the subject of Monet’s famous paintings. It is far smaller and more unassuming than you may imagine; however, when you stand on the wisteria-covered green Japanese bridge, purposely painted this colour to distinguish it from the traditional red bridges in Japan, you will feel like you are in a living work of art.

Stroll around the pond with its adjoining bamboo grove, weeping willows, maple trees and lilies – a nod to the Japanese theme he loved so much – and imagine Monet waiting for the right atmospheric conditions to paint his beloved flowers. It is a magical place, and visiting it will leave you with a new understanding of the world-famous water-lily paintings and their creator.

A view of the water lilies from the Japanese Bridge

Monet's water lily garden

water lilies at giverny

The House of Claude Monet

After wandering around the sensational gardens Monet’s house awaits your visit. Restored to its former glory and opened to the public in 1980, a ticket allows you entry; however, you cannot take photographs once inside.

The house is large but cosy, with rooms painted in vibrant colours. The bright yellow dining room and sky blue kitchen are a particular assault on the senses. Open windows are dressed in lace, and look out onto the beautiful Clos Normand garden, while the pretty pink and green facade of the house blends in perfectly with its surroundings.

Monet’s pink and green painted house blends perfectly with the roses.

An interesting observation is that none of Monet’s pieces adorns the walls. Instead, his home is overflowing with Japanese prints, furniture and other oriental art that inspired his creativity. Most of Monet’s works are in the Musée Marmottan Monet in Paris; however, in 2019, his painting entitled “Meules”, depicting a scene from his “Haystack series”, sold for $110 million to a German software tycoon!

I am pleased to say that I have seen an original water-lily painting by Monet in The National Gallery in London. It made quite an impression on me after visiting the actual garden that had inspired its creation.

Giverney is a perfect day trip from Paris, but before returning or continuing to Versailles, you may like to visit the grave in the village church cemetery, a 10-15 minute walk from Monet’s home and gardens.

You May Also Like to Read:

 How to see the Night Fountains Show at Versailles

Or Book:

A Day Trip from Paris to Giverny and Versailles
About Author

Angela Price

Angie is a full-time travel writer with over 30 years of travel experience. She has always had a passion for travel, and after a 3-month world trip with her 18-year-old son, she created her popular travel blog to share her adventures with a wider audience. When Angie is at home in the UK, she enjoys exploring the English countryside, visiting castles and gardens and planning her next big adventure. Her motto is "Live Life Wandering not Wondering".

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Trisha V
2 years ago

It’s a pity you weren’t able to bring your camera inside! I just looked for photos of the inside part and man, it’s super beautiful! I particularly like the yellow walls in the dining area. I like the outside too – lush and green is my kind of space. Thanks for sharing this adventure, Angela!

Reply to  Trisha V
2 years ago

I know! I wish I could have taken some snaps but I guess they have to preserve the interior as much as possible.

Manjulika Pramod
2 years ago

Wow… Monet’s work is amazing indeed! I love nature and gardens too. The first pictures itself got me interested to read more. I would love to visit here some day. While I was in Paris, I missed it.

Reply to  Manjulika Pramod
2 years ago

Yes, Monet is my favourite artist. I hope you get the chance to visit in the future.

Bhushavali N
2 years ago

This…. This I need to visit. I forgot all about this place! When I visited Paris for the first ever time, it was a very cold winter and as much as I loved Monet and his Lilies, I couldn’t go here. When I was in London, I went to the National Gallery to see those Lilies and I stood before them for several minutes….
I need to plan a trip again to Giverny now to walk the gardens where Monet walked. I love how you’ve showcased the very same lilies in your picture, almost in the same angle! Love it…

Reply to  Bhushavali N
2 years ago

I also saw the masterpieces in the National Gallery and so it was great to see the waterlilies actually in France and in Monet’s garden. An incredible place to visit.

2 years ago

I love Monet’s work and visiting his house would be so cool. These gardens look amazing! I always love exploring gardens and the different plant species. I love the colors of the house as well, so pretty and it does go great with the gardens. I hope to visit one day when I’m in Paris.

Reply to  Melissa
2 years ago

Even though it is only small it is alive with colour. I hope that you can get there one day and that my small glimpse of the gardens and house has inspired you to visit.

blair villanueva
blair villanueva
2 years ago

Monet’s works are one of the pieces that stuck in my memory about the early Impressionism. This garden is very impressive, especially the Japanese garden. I would love to visit this place someday. If Monet is still alive, I wonder what will be his next garden painting.

Reply to  blair villanueva
2 years ago

He died over 80 years ago so no chance of any more paintings but he has left such a legacy that we are lucky we can enjoy so many of his works.

Subhashish Roy
Subhashish Roy
2 years ago

We had planned this day trip to the house and garden of Claude Monet when we were in Paris in 2016. However it was our bad luck that the day we were supposed to visit there was severe flooding due to heavy rains. We moved out the next day as planned. We were so lucky because then Paris got completely paralysed from the day after we left. Beautiful experience reading about what we missed then. Would love to go back to do this trip sometime.

Reply to  Subhashish Roy
2 years ago

I hope that you can return one day and experience it for yourself.

sumit walia
2 years ago

I am always interested in a sneak preview into the lives of famous creative personalities and it was interesting to know about Monet. You have researched quite thoroughly as is evident from your posts. Though I would never be able to visit this place it was indeed interesting to read about him.

Jay Artale
2 years ago

Oh this look idyllic – what a wonderful place to wander around and contemplate the beauty of nature. No wonder Monet was inspired here. I remember seeing one of his water lily paintings in a museum and was astounded by the size of it. It was massive. I’d just imagined that his paintings were regular sized. I’d love to visit here, maybe next time we’re in Paris we can take a day trip.

Reply to  Jay Artale
2 years ago

I visited the Royal Academy of Arts recently and one of his giant water lily paintings was on display, like you I was surprised at how large it was. You can combine the gardens with Versailles. A perfect day out.

Jay Artale
Reply to  WhereAngieWanders
2 years ago

We missed the chance to see both. We were heading north from France up to Belgium and was planning a day trip to both, and then the world started to chance, so we had to cancel all of our plans, and just fly straight out of Paris. I was so disappointed. Definitely one for the next trip. We just fell in love with France, and can’t believe we haven’t explored it more in the past.

2 years ago

You would love it ! It’s so cool to see the gardens after seeing the water lilies in Monet’s paintings .

2 years ago

I love to paint and I definitely want to visit Monet’s Gardens! An artist friend of mine went to Paris and did a day trip like you suggest and said it was so beautiful and inspiring! Very nice that you have. We have not been traveling as long as you, but Joe, my husband enjoys all the planning aspects of travel also.

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