Anyone who has ever gazed at a Monet painting should spend a day walking around his dreamy world in this tiny town in France. There’s a reason his paintings have captured the eyes and hearts of so many, and this place is it.
How to Get There
If you’re coming from Paris, take a train from Gare St-Lazare. It’s the easiest way to get there, and it’s not that expensive. You could also rent a car…but I would just take the train.
Once you land at the station there, walk right across the street to find transportation to the garden. To the right, there will be a long line of people waiting for the next bus. But I would recommend looking to the left to find the small bike rental shop. Either way will get you there, but the day that I went the weather was just too perfect to cram into a bus. It’s a twenty-minute bike ride through the French countryside, but no judgment if you choose to bus it!
Best Time to Go
Monet’s Garden is open every day from March 24 to November 1 from 9:30am to 6:00pm. I went at the beginning of April, which had ideal weather and the garden in full bloom, but I’m sure it’s lovely in other lights as well. Flower varieties bloom one after another so the garden changes gradually with the seasons while keeping its colors and brightness. The peak period is May through June, and the famous Nympheas (water lilies) are there to enjoy all summer long.
The normal ticket costs €10,20 but it’s only €7,20 if you’re a student! It’s nice how people get that we’re broke. Book your tickets in advance online or at the door. Whatever floats your boat.
Things to See
1. Rue Claude Monet
This is the cobbled street you’ll walk down to get to Monet’s Gardens. It’s no wonder that Monet had the rosy view of the world that he did if he walked down this little lane every day. Flowers line each side of the walkway in between little cafés and shops featuring the work of local painters. Make sure you get a glimpse of the iconic blue street sign peeking out from behind the ivy.
2. Monet’s Gardens
Baby, this is what you came for. It’s worth the price of admission and then some. Take your time walking underneath the pink cherry blossom trees on the paths throughout the garden bursting with blooms. Be sure you find the staircase in the back corner that lets you walk into the setting of The Water Lily Pond and walk over the iconic bridge that it immortalized.
3. Monet’s House
Before you leave the gardens, walk through Monet’s house! The best rooms are his studio, which houses a collection of some of his best works on the walls, and the kitchen, which has blue tiles and copper pans and fits right into the fairytale.
4. Hôtel Baudy
Stop for lunch on the shaded terrace of this historic hotel-turned-restaurant. This place was frequented by many artists that came to see Monet, including Cézanne, Renoir, Sisley, Rodin, and Mary Cassatt. The gang was all here.