Giverny, France is the home of the French impressionist Claude Monet’s famous home and surrounding gardens. It’s an easy 45-minute train ride from Paris, and a great place to bring the kids for a day.
How to prepare for a visit to Monet’s gardens:
Kids get a lot more out of travel if they know something about the place they are going before they get there. Talk to your kids about French Impressionism in general and Claude Monet in particular. Fortunately, you don’t have to have a degree in art history to do this; there are plenty of wonderful, child-friendly resources at your disposal. Some of my favorites are:
– Linnea in Monet’s Garden by Christina Bjork (there is also a video by the same name)
– Art Smart 4 Kids Impressionism (link)
– Monet and Impressionism: Art History for Kids (link)
How to get there by train (from Paris):
The village of Giverny is located 4km from the town of Vernon, which is about 50 miles from Paris. The Vernon station is on the main SNCF line Paris / Rouen / Le Havre. Board the train at Saint-Lazare Paris station (you can purchase your ticket there as well). The trip takes just over 45-minutes each way. I would suggest packing a snack so that the kids are happy and have plenty of energy when you arrive.
Visiting Monet’s home and gardens:
Tickets to tour Monet’s former home and the surrounding gardens (which he painted frequently throughout his career) can be purchased when you arrive at the gardens, or in advance through the website. The website also gives an excellent overview of Monet’s life and art (you can add it to your list of resources above).
If your budding art connoisseurs are still interested in seeing more after touring the gardens and Monet’s home, I recommend a visit to Musée des Impressionismes (link), also located in Giverny (adjacent to Monet’s home). This lovely gallery hosts temporary exhibits of Impressionist art.
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Photo: ell brown