27204 Vernon, France
A little more than an hour outside of Paris (about 75 km), Giverny is a cobblestoned town nestled among green hills where Claude Monet, his wife, and eight children made their home in 1883, soon followed by other famous painters including Mary Cassatt and John Singer Sargent. Your whole family will be awed by a visit to the carefully preserved house and gardens that gave Monet such inspiration. In the Orientalist Water Gardens children can stand on the Japanese bridge and admire the waterlillies, smell the roses and honeysuckle blooming in springtime, and play hide-and-seek ("cache cache" in French) among the hedges. The nearby Musée d'Art Américain has a unique collection of American expat art and an outdoor labryinth.
Toddlers & Pre-K: Young kids might not have the attention span for a long tour of the house but will love the pathways, hedges, and kid-height blooms that abound in the gardens outside.
School-Age Kids: Children will appreciate the house and gardens the most if you spend some time learning about Monet before you go. Watch or read "Linnea in Monet's Garden," where the young protagonist visits Giverny.
Pre-Teens & Teens: Older kids will also be enchanted by the exotic hats, strange waterfalls, and lovely birds in the 32 Japanese woodblocks that are part of the exhibit in Monet's house.
- Take the train. You can rent a car and drive to Giverny or take a train to Vernon (which takes about 45 minutes) that leaves from the Saint-Lazare Paris station. From there, take a taxi or bus to Giverny, or rent a bicycle from one of three vendors in town and cycle into Giverny on a beautiful flat bicycle path.
- If you stay the night. Giverny is a perfectly managable day trip from Paris. If you decide to spend the night, there are plenty of family friendly hotels and B&Bs to choose from.
- Claude Monet's House and Gardens are maintained by the Fondation Claude Monet. Maison de Claude Monet et Le Jardin d'Eau, Fondation Claude Monet, 27620 Giverny, France; Tel: 011-33-2-32-51-28-21.
- Other things to do. There's plenty besides Monet's house to keep children engaged in this gorgeous region of France.
Just the Facts
Hours: The town is accessible 24/7. Monet's house is open daily from 9:30 a.m.- 6 p.m from April 1 - November 1. For up-to-date information about the hours, check the Web.
Recommended Time: Full day