In 1883, the Impressionist painter Claude Monet sought tranquility and nature in Giverny, a sleepy village in Normandy. Over the next 43 years until his death, Monet's artistic development flourished alongside the gardens he cultivated with immense care. In this four-hour Giverny tour, a day trip from Paris, we'll join an art historian for a unique opportunity to discover the connection between the artist's work and his magnificent home and gardens, learning more about the life of the iconic painter in the process.
Note: The Monet Foundation is open April-October.
Monet's career was intimately entwined with the course of the Seine River. Growing up in Le Havre where the river meets the English Channel, Monet then settled at various locations upstream, including Argenteuil and Paris, before finally settling in Giverny. By this time he was beginning to make a name for himself after many years of arduous struggle. Soon the peaceful village was overrun with young artists hoping to meet Monet, or at least to be inspired by the same captivating landscape. It is this history that we will discuss on the short train ride from Paris to Giverny. Once we've arrived, we will open our walk with a visit to Monet's house and gardens, which have been lovingly restored.
Inside, we will wander through Monet's blue-tiled kitchen, bright yellow dining room, and see his vast collection of Japonisme prints throughout. Looking at the artist's personal effects, we will gain a sense of the atmosphere and rhythm of his daily life. Exiting to his extensive gardens, we will explore this important source of inspiration. A careful gardener, Monet tended to his flowers daily. Paying special attention to his lush water garden—complete with an artfully landscaped combination of bamboo, weeping willows, Gingko trees, waterlilies, and a Japanese-style arched bridge—we will see the continuation of his appreciation for the Japonisme aesthetic. Fans of Monet's paintings and garden-lovers alike will be inspired by the changing dominant colors of Monet's gardens from month to month: blue and rose in April, lilac and white in May, rose and mauve in June, rose and red at the beginning of July. Taking in the melange of colors and the air of Monet's carefully constructed creative sphere, we will draw connections between Giverny and his work.
"My first time at Giverny, and what an experience! With all those incredible flowers, our docent's dynamic lecture, and Monet's pond, I couldn't ask for more. This one of the best tours we've had in our travels."
A visit to Giverny offers an insight into this fruitful period of Monet's life when he was able to fully realize his aesthetic ambitions. Splitting his days between painting and caring for his elaborate gardens, Monet's artistic oeuvres and his home at Giverny are intricately intertwined. Although there are no actual canvases in on-site, it can be said that the construction, layout and nurture of his gardens was as much a part of the artist's work as his paintings.
Following the visit, you will have the option either stay on in Giverny independently to visit the Musée des Impressionismes and enjoy lunch in town, or return directly to Paris with your docent. Visitors with an strong interest in Monet might also be interested in our Monet in Paris Tour
and our Musée d'Orsay Tour
Where does it start? Where does it end? You will meet your docent in Paris and travel with him or her by train to Giverny. Your confirmation email will have the exact meeting point. The tour ends in Giverny. The docent usually takes the train back to Paris after the tour. Your train ticket is an open ticket, and you're welcome to stay in Giverny and return to Paris at your leisure.
Is the start time flexible? For group tours, no. For private tours, the time can be slightly adjusted. The train to Giverny is at 8:20 or 10:20. Private tours can also opt for car service instead of the train; contact us for a quote.
Is this seminar walking intensive, and/or wheelchair accessible? This excursion is walking-intensive, includes public transport, and the Monet Foundation is only partially accessible to wheelchair users. Please contact us with any questions; we will be happy to advise if this seminar will be appropriate for you, and can also design a private, customized tour for visitors with mobility concerns.
Are there tickets? We will purchase train and entry tickets for you and your docent will have them on hand. There is also a short bus from the Giverny train station to Monet's Gardens. Clients are responsible for the bus fee (approx. 10 euros), which must be paid in cash.