A Few Words About the Village of Giverny

First of all, Giverny is really tiny. The population is only about 500. This seems surprising for a place that is so well-known, but there it is.

Village of Giverny
A view of the hills of Normandy from a road in the village of Giverny

So it is not surprising that you cannot take the train directly from Paris to Giverny. Instead you have to get off at the somewhat bigger town of Vernon, which is about three miles away. From there you can take a bus or a cab – or hike if you are so inclined.

Street in Giverny

Giverny may be small, but apparently its origins are very old, with some evidence that it has been settled since Roman times. Its medieval days are hinted at in street names like Rue Des Juifs (Street of the Jews).

Village of Giverny
Walls obscure the private gardens in Giverny. Darn!
Rose hips
Most of the roses were done, but there were plenty of rose hips.

The village is full of stone houses and walled gardens. The walls are charming, covered with roses and flowering vines, though they frustrate the impulse to snoop on the private gardens within.

Le Clos Fleuri
A nice spot to relax in front of the guest rooms at Le Clos Fleuri

A nice place to stay at Giverny is Le Clos Fleuri, a bed and breakfast with three extremely comfortable rooms. The B&B is run by Danielle and Claude Fouche. Danielle is French but grew up in Australia, so her accent is a little unexpected.

They are very welcoming and friendly, and Danielle is more than happy to talk plants and gardening. In fact, their home is itself is a clos normande-type garden with hedges, fruit trees, roses, and other flowers.

Giverny emus
Did Monet do any paintings of emus?

Their place is about a ten minute walk from Monet’s garden. You can buy your tickets directly from Danielle, which enables you to avoid the lines for getting in.

It’s a walk through pleasant countryside, including an enclosure that features emus, an ostrich, and a pot-bellied pig.

There aren’t many restaurants in Giverny, but a nice one is the Restaurant Baudy (formerly the Hotel Baudy). We had an unusual but delicious salad there of chopped summer vegetables with creme fraiche.

Le Ancienne Hotel Baudy
Restaurant Baudy

After spending most of the day at the Monet garden, we got a ride back to Vernon and then took the train to Paris, changed stations and took another train to Chartres. More on the next leg of our journey soon.

37 Comments on “A Few Words About the Village of Giverny

  1. Ah those darn walls!!! I can only imagine what lies behind!!! They are still gorgeous in their age and stunning vines!!! That bed and breakfast sounds like a great way to experience this quant little town!!! Beautiful!!!!

  2. Jason,
    I’ve been sharing your travelogue with others and must say its one of the more engaging series of posts I can recall in our garden blogosphere. Nicely done, my friend.

  3. You know, I’m pretty bold, and gardeners are the same everywhere. I would have walked up and knocked on the most tempting walled garden I saw and told the gardener how much I admired what I could see. Gardeners being the way gardeners are world-wide, I bet it would have gotten a guided tour and made a new friend. It has worked on me and made me some of my dearest friends. Gardeners are a separate breed!

    • You are bolder than I. Also I might have been inclined to go that route if we had been there longer. Unfortunately we arrived late afternoon and left about the same time the next day.

  4. Do either of you speak French? That is my fear of traveling in a foreign county. Spending a summer in a Spanish speaking country, I had a really hard time not speaking the language.

    • Judy speaks some French, and some people (not everyone) speaks English. We were surprised by how helpful people tried to be even when they couldn’t understand us.

  5. Great post! Your memories and photos bring back lots of memories. I can’t wait to visit again, but I’ll have to, as I don’t plan to return until September 2015. Can’t wait to hear what you thought of Chartres and Amboise:^) But then, I don’t think there’s any such thing as a bad visit to France, do you?

  6. It was a good idea to stay in the village. When I visited we did a day trip by buss from Paris. We had plenty of time to see the garden but it would have been interesting to explore the surroundings. You might have been lucky knocking at a door to see a local garden, but I remember snooping through a gate and being sent my way in no uncertain terms!

    • Well, that makes me feel less regretful about not trying it. I imagine that given the size of the village and the number of visitors, locals are not thrilled about tourists trying to get a look at their private gardens.

  7. I think I would have really had to restrain myself from grabbing a few of those rose hips to dry or collect the seeds 🙂 I really liked that little village. I had no idea the population was 500 .. that is so crazy!

  8. O.k., my heart beat a little faster seeing all those gorgeous rose hips! I love traveling in France but have not been to this area so many thanks for sharing your experience in this small village. But do tell me you have some photos of Monet’s Garden!!!!!!!! It didn’t need necessarily sound like you would be sharing any photos of his garden. But, maybe it is not allowed?? Please enlighten.

  9. It’s a sweet little village isn’t it, reminds me a little of Wordworth’s village in the Lakes. I loved the walls and those emu’s aree marvelous.xxxx

  10. Giverny sounds like a charming, rural place to stay. Thanks for sharing your images as well as the B&B which might come in handy some day.

  11. What a differentworld compared to here! The narrow streets, the ancient town, the old stone buildings, its really such a strong contrast to the wide lawns, roads and parking lots around here! I can’t imagine a restaurant or hotel without a big entrance and billboard signage.

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