A Picturesque Tour of Monet's Gardens and Giverny, France Pt. 2

Were you wondering where Monet's lily pads were in my first post?

Guess what?

You found them! :)

So, as it turns out, Monet's backyard is actually broken up into two sections – the area where he painted his famous Water Lillies…

Google image of Monet's paintings
and the area where he didn't…

Garden Path, 1902 by Claude Monet
Aerial view of the gardens found on giverny.org

Last week's blog post covered the first area: the main gardens, Clos Normand, but today's blog post is more about the pond, the lily pads, and the second garden, the Water Gardens…

As you'll notice, you have to go under a roadway to reach the Water Gardens. Down some stairs, through a tunnel, and back up again.

Do it.

It's worth it.

Of course, the crowds are tremendous.

I read, before going that is, that if you want images without tourists in them, to go early (preferably drive in a hired car), have your tickets in hand, get in line early (the earlier the better) and race to the Water Gardens first (the section featured in this post). This equates to an ungodly wake-up time if you are staying in Paris, boarding the 8:22AM train from Gare Saint-Lazare (assuming you don't miss it like we did), fighting for a seat onboard a tiny bus that will take you on a 45 minute ride from Vernon to Giverny (13.90€ each way), and then beating every single person you've traveled thus far with over the head with a stick just so you can be first in line.

Perhaps a better option would be to arrive the night before and explore Vernon and Giverny proper? Stay in a hotel, leisurely wake up (still early), grab a croissant and some coffe, then meander to the gardens… But I wouldn't know anything about that… ;)

You could also pay for a taxi (EXPENSIVE) or take a tourist bus. Of course, with the tourist bus, you certainly won't beat the crowds. However, if you pick the right tourist bus, you may receive a guided tour and learn more about Monet than we did during our time visiting the garden? … Who knows? (There aren't many written plagues in Monet's home or around the garden.)

While my husband and I were a tad bit worried that the most beautiful of the French flowers would have bloomed just before our trip during mid to late summer, we were surprised by all of the color we saw. We came on a day that was suppose to be rainy and overcast but instead we were treated to beautiful blue skies and a harsh sun. (No kidding – I had to get Justin to provide me with "flower shade" when I was shooting some of these images! I hate harsh light!) If you are at all curious or worried, you can check here to see if and when your favorite flowers will be in bloom. The house and gardens are open every day from the beginning of spring to the end of fall; this year those dates fall on March 24 and November 1, 2017. You can check here to confirm dates as well as discover the current price for entrance.

(Also, when they say they are open EVERY DAY during that period, believe them. They were actually open for Bastille Day which surprised me!)

Of course, I think the biggest key to visiting Monet's house and gardens is to be patient. You aren't the only tourist to be thrilled with the beautiful flowers. Wait your turn in lines, be patient when trying to get the "money" shot in front of the lily pads, and just overall be courteous. :)

And most importantly, eat before you come.

I believe food is allowed inside the garden gates, but I'm not entirely sure. If it is, I think Monet's gardens would be a fantastic place to have a picnic. :) As it was, my husband and I had a dessert from Angelina's in our bag that we promptly pulled out while waiting in line while our stomachs were growling. The dessert was suppose to be saved for after dinner, but with no food options inside the gardens, this seemed like the next best thing.

One of the most surprising discoveries we found was the gift shop just before we left. I think our whole tour of the house and gardens was approximately two hours. Just as we were leaving, we decided to see what was in the gift shop. As you might expect, there were postcards and copies of Monet paintings you could purchase; books about Monet, France, and Giverny in both English and French; toys for the kids; and, the gift that thrilled my husband most of all, cider from the Normandy region of France. Of course we had to pick some up to share with our friends that we would be meeting the next day. :)

To be continued…

Up next:
a look inside Monet's house and at his artwork
• a walk through Giverny
• lunch
Musée des Impressionnismes

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