Top 10 Things to do in Giverny, Normandy
Giverny is a beautiful village in the region of Normandy in northern France. It is where the impressionist painter Claude Monet called home and worked from 1883 to 1926 when he died.
His former home and landscaped garden have been turned into a museum with beautiful water lilies. This museum documents the works and journey of impressionist art and the artist.
Giverny is about 70 kilometres northwest of Paris and is frequented by art lovers and those curious about impressionism.
The art is not the only attraction in this village, there is more than Giverny offers to its visitors that leave a lasting impression. From sightseeing, museum hopping, to shopping.
Here are the top 10 things to do in Giverny.
1. Musée des Impressionnismes
We start with the museum of impressionism. This museum serves to promote the international nature of the art. The works displayed in this museum showcase Giverny’s past and the artists from Seine valley.
You will learn the history of impressionism and post-impressionism which are highlighted throughout the 20th-century movements.
Claude Monet’s masterpieces of water lilies can be viewed in the museum.
The museum was inaugurated in 2009 when it replaced the American Art Museum that operated between 1992 and 2008.
The Giverny museum of impressionism is under the establishment of cultural cooperation that gives space to impressionist artists from all over the world.
Two temporary exhibitions are held between March and November as well as permanent exhibitions displaying the works of Claude Monet and other notable artists.
2. Tour the estate where Claude Monet lived and painted
To clearly and fully appreciate Claude Monet’s work, the best place to go is his former home. You will not only see the well-manicured garden but also walk through his house that has been well maintained.
Looking at the paintings by Monet of his garden, there is no doubt that he was a talented artist. Some of his last works, the water lily cycle, is in this museum.
To have a better experience in this garden, you need to go in early before the crowds start to form.
A walk through the garden that is facing the house and studio, there is a beautiful Japanese bridge surrounded by weeping willows, water lilies, wisteria and azaleas.
The house is well preserved with the kitchen still having its original appliances as well as his studio and all the other rooms.
3. Pass by Vernon
Before getting to Giverny, there is a lovely pre-historic town that most visitors pass by. Vernon is situated along the banks of the River Seine and has beautiful old mills and fine art museums.
Visit the Museum of Vernon that displays the best pieced of impressionist arts done by Claude Monet that are lesser-known.
There are several beautiful landmarks, timber houses and gothic churches. The collegiate church posses a beautiful rose window and octagonal turrets. It is an excellent display of the finest medieval architecture in France.
This church featured in Claude Monet’s famous pieces and can be found in the museums here. Enjoy a picnic by the serene banks of River Seine, before proceeding to Giverny.
4. Church of Sainte Radegonde de Giverny
Another church worth your time while in Giverny is St. Radegonde. This church was built between the 11th and 12th century as a dedication to Saint Radegonde. It is believed that he cured scabies.
They expanded the building in the 15th century and had it renovated in 2008 and 2010. The church was constructed with a mix of Romanesque and Gothic style.
This church houses the tomb of Claude Monet and his family that is on the Eastside. He religiously attended mass in this church together with his family.
A short distance from the church is a huge monument that is St. Radegonde’s grave.
5. Vernon old mill -The Vieux Moulin
While still in Vernon, one landmark had to miss are the mills. One that stands out is Vieux Moulin which also featured in Claude Monet’s paintings.
This former watermill has become synonymous with Vernon. It is found on the edge of river Seine, close to Chateau des Tourelles and is considered as a monument of cultural heritage.
The mill was built in the 16th century and acted as a bridge connecting those crossing the Seine to the island of Vernonnet back in the 17th century.
Between 1925 and 1930, Jean Nougues had a dance hall set on a barge adjacent to the mill. The city renovated the mill after it got destroyed during WWII.
6. Coteaux de la Seine
To enjoy some quiet time and be one with nature, head over to this nature reserve that sits above river Seine. From the reserve, you will see magnificent Cliffs and beautiful villages below.
It offers fantastic viewpoints over the meandering river Seine. It is a perfect spot for children to play, hike or bike rides.
The slopes of the granite cliffs form a beautiful landscape of cliffs. This nature reserve protects 268 hectares of remarkable environment, animal and plant species.
There are more than 500 plant species that have been listed, 59 of which are very rare in all of France.
13 of the species are protected at the regional level, this includes the Lily-flowered Phalanger, ciliated Melica and the Whitish Helianthemum.
The reserve has 6 species of reptiles, including the Green Lizard, the Smooth Coronella and the Peliade Viper and more than sixty species of birds.
7. Natural Mechanical Museum
You can never go wrong with visiting museums, the natural mechanical museum in Giverny has exhibitions that showcase some of the oldest vehicles and machinery in the world.
Some of the antiques in this museum were donated to build on the historical collection of machines used over time.
The museum has one of the oldest Diesel motors that was operational in 1908. It is one of the most impressive diesel engines in the museum.
This museum was started by the Guillemard de Giverny Family in 1955, they preserved their threshing contractor and other agricultural mechanics.
You will find a collection of hydraulic machines that have been brought from all over the world.
8. Hotel Baudy
This hotel gave inspiration to many artists, including Cézanne and Rodin, who frequented it. The Hotel Baudy is now a restaurant with a garden hosting a countless variety of old roses.
The hotel is from the 19th century and was a family-run guest house. It is at the heart of Giverny with a view of the Museum of Impressionism.
It is also a short walking distance from Claude Monet’s house and garden. They have a terrace where one can relax while enjoying a meal.
9. Experience the Air show
The air show gives you a pleasant experience to fly over the Giverny and spot the areas that inspired Impressionist painters.
As you float through the beautiful landscape, you will see the meandering River Seine, the picturesque villages, the misty valley of epte.
It is also a pleasant moment to enjoy the quiet that comes with being in the air. Remember to wear proper shoes because as the wind blows, you never know where you will land. Upon landing, you will be served with a glass of champagne.
10. Château de Bizy
Last on the list of things to do in Giverny is taking a tour of Chateau de Bizy. It was owned by notable kings like King Louis Phillipe and Baron de Schickler.
The rooms in the palace have Régence woodwork and Gobelins tapestries that trace the previous occupants. Pieces like the furniture were owned by the first and second empires while the park, fountain and water features were installed in the 18th century.
This castle is made up of different buildings that were built during different times by its successive owner. Today, the Château is home to the daughter of the 5th Duke of Albufeira.