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5 Things to Know to Visit Monet's Gardens at Giverny, France
In 1883, Claude Monet, considered the Father of the Impressionist Movement, "retired" to the still small village of Giverny, near Vernon, in the Upper Normandy region of France, about 80km/50 miles from Paris. He eventually bought a lovely farm style house and designed and planted the gardens he would make famous through his paintings he created until his death in 1926.
From his time until now, artists journey to Giverny to study, paint, visit or even live, inspired by Monet. The property was inherited by his son, who, in turn, bequeathed it to the Academie des Beaux-Artes in 1966. Restored, it was opened to the public in 1980: house, gardens, the famous water lily pond and, literally down the road, the Musee des Impressionnisme, none of which is covered by the Paris Museum Pass.
1. It doesn't matter what you see first, the gardens or his artwork in other museums. If you have seen any of Monet's works, such as the massive room-sized murals at the Musee de l'Orangerie, this will be awesome. If you visit Giverny before you see any of the paintings, you will understand the inspiration. Either order is OK.
2. Plan your trip carefully. Take the SCNF train from Gare Saint-Lazare in Paris to Vernon. Planned train strikes are frequent and, in today's world, there are terrorist threats. Buy your round trip tickets on the day of your visit at the station. Don't forget to check the weather.
Once you arrive in Vernon, immediately double check the timetable for the bus from Giverny to Vernon and the train back to Paris.
3. It may be crowded. In fact, it's almost a guarantee. If you have really planned your trip, you can purchase tickets online. If not, get there very early (greatly advised), stand on the queue and purchase your tickets. After that, you're on your way.
4. If the gardens look familiar, it could be that you are probably looking at the original inspiration for botanical gardens throughout the world. The gardens will vary depending on the season. The famous lily pond may not be in bloom until May or June but it's impressive just the same. Monet planned for the fact that the lilies are not in bloom all the time and has plenty of trees, some benches and other flora for you to admire, including the famous Japanese bridge.
5. You will want to take lots of photos. There are gardens, the house and other museums down the road from the house.
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