Giverny: A Gorgeous Getaway (and one dream down)

Yesterday I did something I’ve been wanting to do for as long as I can remember.

I went to visit the house and gardens of Claude Monet in Giverny. It’s not so much the iconic impressionist painter’s works that have had me dreaming of Giverny – though they are of course quite impressive.

No, it’s that images of the actual place that inspired him grafted themselves onto my mind at a young age; I mean, how flippin’ beautiful can you get?

Lily pond - wow!

Why then has it taken me so many years to go? It’s under an hour’s journey from Paris, a simple train (then short bus) ride to arrive.

Isn’t this often the case with dreams, though, even (especially?) those that we can readily achieve? What do you think holds us back?

I’ve been battling a bit of the blues lately, but I also know how to kick myself in the butt, too. Just do it, Sion. See the gorgeous world and its gifts.

Some dreams are huge; they seem like mountains must be moved. But some…oh some have a clear shape, a concrete form, and are quite easy to make happen. The smallest joys can bring the biggest rewards.

This is what it looks like when one of those dreams comes true.

Lost in the gardens of GIverny

Me in glasses, Giverny

This is Claude Monet’s house and garden.

New life goal: somehow figure out how to have a house and garden like this.

Claude Monet's house

Garden path, Monet's house

I’ll be requiring my own private pond, too, please.

Lily pond sign

Yes, it’s *that* famous lily pond.

Lily pond at Giverny

All this beauty – it’s too much! I must dance!

Take it off, girl!

Take it off, girl!

Do your own thing. Don't worry that the people around you will think you're strange.

Do your own thing. Don’t worry that the people around you will think you’re strange.

But seriously…

Reflective woman on a bridge pose.

Reflective woman on a bridge pose.

…it was a good reminder that I always feel better when I get out there and do things. And that my soul is warmed by simple delights.

* * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * *

Practical notes:

* All photos taken by my main squeeze, who still wishes to remain anonymous. All photos are copyrighted.

* To get to Giverny from Paris follow 3 simple steps:
1) Trains leave from the Gare Saint Lazare. Buy a ticket for “Vernon.” (Attention! Buy it from the machines for “Grandes Lignes,” not for machines selling tickets for “Ile-de-France.”) The fastest trains take 44 minutes.
2) When you hop off at Vernon, walk through the small station and find a bus waiting to take you to Giverny on the right.
3) Follow the tourist hordes to find the main attractions. (We went and ate first instead which was a good idea; we were able to miss being part of the wave. Buying a combined ticket at the museum lets you skip the queue at the house.)

The only person playing hide and seek in the bushes.

The only person playing hide and seek in the bushes.

What are you doing to stop and smell the roses? Is there some experience – small and golden – you can make happen very soon?

Stopping to smell the roses.

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21 Responses to “Giverny: A Gorgeous Getaway (and one dream down)”


  1. 1 Mary Lonergan September 28, 2013 at 9:46 pm

    Sion, these photos are truly gorgeous! Thanks for sharing them. I haven’t been there yet, but it’s on my list!

    • 2 paris (im)perfect September 28, 2013 at 10:01 pm

      Thanks, Mary! All credit goes to my main squeeze who has quite the eye.

      Yesterday was what I think might be one of the last warm, sunny days that we’ll have ’round these parts for awhile. The *perfect* time to visit Giverny. Definitely one for the list – it’s beautiful!

  2. 5 Terry Cagle September 28, 2013 at 11:49 pm

    Sion, Thanks for sharing. I also love Giverny but haven’t been in a couple of years. I must go back. There is also a good little museum there, and the town of Vernon has a lovely church. Have you been to Senlis? It is also an easy train/bus trip from Paris and so rewarding.

    • 6 paris (im)perfect September 28, 2013 at 11:55 pm

      Hi Terry. Thanks so much. Yes, we went to the Museum of Impressionism, too, but on a perfect sunny day, the gardens and pond were my highlight. I’ll have to check out Senlis, too. I know there are many great daytrips to be had!

  3. 7 Karin B September 29, 2013 at 12:50 am

    I had really hoped to get there sooner or later, too — guess it is gonna be later! I had good intentions of going to the Musée Marmottan as well (to see Monet’s works) but never did that, either. Alas. Only Forward!!

    BUT, what this makes me think I really need to do is get over to the Denver Botanic Gardens very soon and check things out there! It’s too late for the summer lushness, but it is still a great set of gardens, and it’s been a few years. It’s very close to where I work, too.

    Also, I was feeling particularly blessed today as not only were my two boys reunited for the first time in over a year, but on the way to N Colo to visit my youngest with my eldest, the high mountains of the Colorado Rockies were dusted with white snow, making them “pop” in shadow and light, and they were GORGEOUS. I totally could think of worse places to be, and felt deep gratitude that it is Colorado where I am. Progress. :-)

    Love ya, chick, and so glad you have a “main” to squeeze. ;-)
    K

  4. 11 Claire 'Word by Word' September 29, 2013 at 10:56 am

    Having the big house isn’t so important, when you can come and visit this one and feel free of the stress and responsibility that maintaining a large home brings. I don’t have a big home, but I help many of those who do, to destress and so I appreciate being in the wonderful gardens and grounds of those properties that we can enjoy and then be so carefree to walk away from as well. I say, enjoy these gardens as often as possible! :)

    • 12 paris (im)perfect September 29, 2013 at 7:02 pm

      Agreed, Claire. The first thing we said when we saw the house was, wow, that’s a really big house for just one person!

      Personally I don’t need a big house. I’d be happy with just a small (heated) writing shed. But those gardens. Oh, I would still kill for those gardens and pond ;)

      • 13 Claire 'Word by Word' September 29, 2013 at 7:17 pm

        You’ve certainly tempted me, I’ve heard so much about those gardens and have been living in France 7 years without much more than passing through Paris. But this year I’m bringing my 2 children to Paris for Christmas, a substitute for not having family here and I’m wondering if they are worth visiting in December?

  5. 14 A Woman Reading September 29, 2013 at 3:11 pm

    the very first pic in your post is gorgeous. i guess he was only painting what he saw.

    • 15 paris (im)perfect September 29, 2013 at 7:03 pm

      Yes, it is stunningly beautiful. You kind of can’t believe it – this is exactly what he painted! One can see why. (See above comment – why I want to live somewhere near such beauty. Oh, the inspiration!)

  6. 16 Jackie September 29, 2013 at 10:10 pm

    Oh, these pictures are so very beautiful. And you look so happy in them too ! I will be in Paris in February and would love to take a side trip to Giverny but I don’t think there will be any gardens to look at that time of year…

    • 17 paris (im)perfect September 30, 2013 at 12:42 am

      Hi Jackie,

      Yes, I was not disappointed. I thought perhaps after years of seeing it in photographs it might not live up to my image. Oh, but it so, so did. Absolutely beautiful. Well worth it. Unfortunately, they won’t be open in February when you visit…

  7. 18 Lee I September 29, 2013 at 11:03 pm

    Claire, alas the gardens close November 1 to March 29. Sion, I was there last week, too.

  8. 20 I Say Oui October 9, 2013 at 10:11 pm

    I agree that the simplest experiences can be the most pleasurable! Next time you go you might want to try walking or biking from the station to the gardens. It’s a really nice quiet path. It takes a bit of time, but if you aren’t in a rush, it’s worth it.


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paris (im)perfect?

Sion Dayson is paris (im)perfect. Writer, dreamer, I moved to France on – no exaggerating – a romantic whim. As you can imagine, a lot can go wrong (and very right!) with such a (non)plan. These are the (im)perfect stories that result.

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