During our post covid visit to Paris, we decided to step outside comfort zone and rented a car and drive to Giverny.
Rending a car from Sixt on Sebastianpol blvd (2nd Arr) was a cakewalk. The staff is very friendly and speak English well. We picked up the car from underground parking across the street and that is where the real nightmare started. I have rented car in Paris and driven before and I know it gets busy as any metro that old. So I was prepared to get a little surprises.
What awaited us for the next 90 mins was absolute nightmare. I don't know if is to be attributed to the construction work for Olympics, but we experienced one of the worst traffic jam and urban chaos that you can. Trust me, I am from Mumbai and I have seen it all. This was whole another level. There was a point when I wanted to leave the car on the street and go home because the Google wasn't cooperating and taking us back to the construction zones all over.
Anyway, it took us almost 90 mins to just travel 3 miles and then we literally floated to Giverny in the matter of an hour.
Once we exited the freeway, driving through beautiful farms and picturesque villages we finally reached to Giverny. The parking is free and easy to find.
The lines to get in were not that long. Labor day was over and most of the visitors were from Europe. We saw very few Americans.
Tip: Try to come a little later in the day to avoid tour buses. There is a separate entrance for big groups.
My recommendation is that you need at least 5 hours to experience Giverny without haste. There are three main attractions.
The Gardens - The famous gardens are treat to see in each season and there is so much to see there. I wonder how many of these plants are original. You can spend up to couple of hours in there. I found a bench to do a quick sketch at the world famous lily pond.
The Home and Studio - After seeing the garden, we went to see Monet's studio and home. I am not big fan of famous people's homes because they are not that captivating for me. But this one is different. The house and studio is like the extension of the studio. The natural light in the house, the views from inside the house are breathtaking.
The best kept secret is the amazing collection of impressionist paintings of his times. They are hung around the house in a normal setting and gives you an enormous sense of accessibility. it seems like you are walking in a house where someone still lives. The views from the Studio looking out are breathtaking. You can spend and hour here.
The third and the last attraction is the village. Once you exit the House and Gardens, the village begins, there are quite a few galleries, studios, restaurants and if you want hotels for overnight stay.
We spent about three hours and headed back before the rush hours as Paris traffic has put fear in my heart.
On the way back we took a different route and decided to ignore Google once we entered the Paris city limits. There was usual traffic and car return was a breeze.
Hope you enjoy the blog.