If you’re going to be in Paris more than a few days, take advantage of the great public transportation system and venture out to see some of the glorious sights nearby. I’ll be highlighting 3 of my favorite day trips from Paris in the next few weeks. You can do all 3 of these excursions via organized tour companies…..but if you like scheduling your own day, and saving money, don’t be afraid to venture out on your own. Let’s start with Claude Monet’s glorious home and gardens at Giverny.
Monet’s gardens are one of the most visited attractions, and no wonder why. This famous leader of the Impressionist movement retired to Giverny and made his home here from 1883 until the time of his death in 1926. He spent many years planning and planting his famous gardens. You have seen pictures of them many times…..even if you have never been there. Monet created his beloved water lily paintings here….dredging the pond, building the Japanese footbridge, framed by weeping willows and wisteria, and planting a riot of colorful blooms, designed to flower all through the growing season. Rose arbors, delphiniums, spring bulbs. But Monet was captivated by the water lilies, capturing them in different lights and changing seasons, from many perspectives….close up to far away.
Take an early train from Paris Gare St. Lazare to Vernon. Cost is approx 24 Euro round trip, and direct trains make the trip in about 45 minutes. Here is the English website for France SNCF train schedules: http://www.tgv-europe.com/en/home/?rfrr=Basket_header_Home
Public buses depart Vernon train station about 15 minutes after the train arrives. The short bus ride from Vernon to Giverny is about 2.5 miles, and costs about 3 Euros round trip.
Try to arrive early, before the hoards of tour buses disgorge their day-trippers.
Organized bus or mini-van tours are available from Paris through Paris Visions, ranging from 70-89 Euros. http://en.parisvision.com/15,226-visit-giverny-monet-house-and-gardens.htm
For something delightfully different, try Fat Tire Bike Tours. For 65 Euros, you receive round trip train transportation Paris to Vernon, a guided bike tour from Vernon to Giverny, picnic lunch along the Seine, entrance to Monet’s house and gardens, and a visit to his gravesite. It’s an easy 6.5 mile round trip bike ride. http://fattirebiketours.com/paris/tours/monet-bike
Be sure your camera is fully charged and has plenty of storage memory, as you’ll need the space to capture the beautiful surroundings.