15-07-2006

A Visit to Monet's Home in Giverny

Monet lovers have turned Monet's home in Giverny, the site of the waterlily pond, Japanese bridge, and willow he painted so often, into a museum, preserved much as he left it. The guidebooks tell the visitor to take the bus from Vernon (note1) but one can enjoyably walk from Vernon. We enjoyed looking at the gardens and house restorations along the road.

The national railroad, SNCF, runs trains from Gare St Lazare (appropriate: Monet painted this station a few times) about twenty times a day, the first leaving at 6:39. The last returns at 10:30 in the evening. The train takes about an hour to make the trip. A round-trip ticket costs 142 Francs ($20). If one travels in groups, even groups of two, one gets a 25% discount. SNCF enforces this by giving out only one ticket for the group. Read the schedule carefully: SNCF runs trains on a different schedule for the summer vacation season, roughly August. The schedule lists 130 trains, most of which do not run on any particular day. We took the 8:16. The ticket vendor detected our American-ness and gave us fliers in English listing the first four departures of the day that synchronize with the Vernon-Giverny bus and three afternoon return trips. See schedule below. Get a schedule of the trains to Vernon at the most convenient train station when planning your trip. (note 2)

Take the train to Vernon, a rural town worth a short visit itself. It has markets on Wednesdays and Saturdays in the main square in the middle of town. It has a Monoprix (large discount department and grocery store) and the usual bakeries and other stores one finds in a French town.

From the train station walk rue de la Gare or rue Emile Loubet one block southeast to rue d'Albufera. Take a left on rue d'Albufera and walk northeast to rue Carnot.(note 3) Take a right on rue Carnot and walk one block southeast to the corner with rue St-Sauveur. Here one finds the old church on the northeast corner, the tourism office on the northwest corner, and city hall on the south side of the street. Ask the tourism office person for le plan de ville de Vernon (the map of the city). The Hôtel de ville (city hall) has a toilette on the second floor. Place General de Gaulle hosts the city markets and the Monoprix. Most city businesses center on Place General de Gaulle. We arrived on market day, Wednesday, and walked around the market, seeing a lot of attractive food.

To get to Giverny continue northeast on rue d'Albufera, cross the Seine on Pont Clemenceau (the only bridge for ten kilometers) to Vernonnet. Walk around the right side of the circle on the northeast side of the Seine, pass route de Giverny (a highway not pleasant to walk) to voie Andre Touflet, a bicycle/foot path that parallels route de Giverny. Take a right on voie Andre Touflet and follow it southeast, a ridge rising on the left, old stone homes on the right. In about three kilometers it reaches the northwest end of Giverny, just after passing an amusing sculpture garden and just before a gas station.

Take the road into Giverny to the left. It changes name to rue Claude Monet, the road on which one finds the Musee de Monet and the other museums in Giverny. After a pleasant walk of about a kilometer along this road past old stone homes one arrives at the Monet Museum.

The museum opens Tuesday-Sunday, 10 AM to 6 PM, 1 April to 31 October. One pays 4.5€ (about $5) to enter. One gets to see the gardens, the waterlily pond, the house, and the atelier, but no original Monet paintings or sketches. It has a number of places to sit down and enjoy the pleasant ambience. Although it forbids picnics we snuck in cheese, bread, and fruit, sat down on a bench, and ate discreetly. A guard saw us from a distance, we put it away, and he left us alone. After he left we finished it off.

The American museum, a collection of the works of American artists who went to Giverny in hope that some of the magic it seemed to work on Monet it would work on them, held mostly curiosities, as near as I could judge; I don't appoint myself a judge of art useful to others. It had two Marie Cassats, a few Morses, a lot of artists I did not know. Much looked like attempts to copy the vision of other Impressionists. We found no-one else there when we went to see it though hundreds had gone to the Monet that day. (note 4)

We walked back to Vernon (one could take the bus - the bus stops have schedules posted), arrived too late to shop at the Monoprix (note 5), bought a baguette at the bakery and cheese and the local specialty, cider, either of apples or at the Fromagerie, sat down on a bench in the square, made cheese sandwiches and washed them down with the cider. Then we bought a sweet at a pastry shop before walking back to the train station to catch the 8:42 to Paris.

Train-Bus Schedule

Paris to Vernon to Giverny

Tuesday-Friday

Saturday

Sunday, Holiday

Train

Bus

Train

Bus

Train

Bus

Paris

Vernon

Vernon

Giverny

Paris

Vernon

Vernon

Giverny

Paris

Vernon

Vernon

Giverny

8:16

9:01

9:15

9:30

8:39

9:25

9:30

9:45

8:06

8:50

9:00

9:15

11:03

12:23

12:55

1:15

12:04

12:49

1:05

1:20

9:32

10:50

10:55

11:15

12:04

12:49

1:05

1:20

1:45

2:24

3:15

3:35

10:44

11:22

11:35

11:55

2:23

3:08

3:15

3:35

2:23

3:08

3:15

3:35

1:22

2:50

3:15

3:35

Giverny to Vernon to Paris

Tuesday-Friday

Saturday

Sunday, Holiday

Bus

Train

Bus

Train

Bus

Train

Giverny

Vernon

Vernon

Paris

Giverny

Vernon

Vernon

Paris

Giverny

Vernon

Vernon

Paris

2:10

2:25

2:57

3:44

2:10

2:25

2:57

3:44

2:45

3:05

3:36

4:51

5:15

5:35

6:05

6:48

5:00

5:20

5:32

6:25

4:45

5:05

5:32

6:25

6:55

7:05

7:15

8:10

5:15

5:35

6:00

6:43

5:25

5:45

6:00

6:43

You can find this page at: http://www.alumni.caltech.edu/~rbell/France/Giverny.html

Blogger's NOTES

1- A shuttle bus (called Navette Vernon – Giverny) leaves from the strain station after the arrival of the main trains from Paris The first bus is at  9.15. on the way back, the last bus leaves Giverny at 17.25 in time to catch the  18h00 train – Cost in 2006: 3€ return. Taxis and also bicycle rent outside the station.

2 - Careful: the schedule indicated here are likely to have changed. So has the price of the train ticket or the possibility of a 25% discount.

3 - That is to say walk down Albuféra street to the first traffic lights and there, turn right to go to the Tourist Office and to vist the church (definitely worth a half hour visiit , 150 m further.  By the way, do spare an hour, either in the morning or in the afternnon, to visit Vernon.

4 - I beg to disagree with this visitor’s description of the American Art Museum, the only place in France where American painting is exhibited.  Most people going there ( everyone?) find it very interesting and informative. The exhibition changes every year.

5Monoprix  is now open until 20.30 daily , except Sundays.

© 2001, Russell Bell

Posté par giverny fan à 14:59 - - Commentaires [0] - Permalien [#]


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