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Getting more out of a Giverny day trip

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London
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Getting more out of a Giverny day trip

We are coming to Paris next week (family of five, kids are ages 9,10 &12) for only 4 days for my 40th birthday, and on the day of my birthday I was thinking of going to Giverny to see Monet's house and gardens (I've been to Paris twice before but have not headed out for any day trips). I have read about trips where after visiting the gardens, people pick up a picnic, cycle somewhere pretty, etc which all sounds perfect but unfortunately I am the only person in my family who cannot bike ride! From what I have read so far it seems Giverney is a half day trip...is there a way you could suggest in which we could extend the day and get more out of it for a special birthday? We won't have a car but are happy to walk/take trains. Else we can come back to Paris of course and spend more time there.

Can more be spent just wandering around the village or should we venture on somewhere?

Thanks!

Tampa, Florida
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1. Re: Getting more out of a Giverny day trip

Giverny is NOT a half-day trip unless you sprint through the gardens, snap a photo on the bridge, and sprint back.

Getting to Vernon, catching the shuttle to the gardens (or walking), seeing the gardens themselves, walking through the house, exploring the expansive gift shop, and having lunch before making your way back will MORE than fill a day.

London, United...
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2. Re: Getting more out of a Giverny day trip

Ditto what Sunshine said. Giverny is to be savoured and enjoyed at leisure, not dashed through on the way to somewhere else. As Sunshine says, you'll have barely enough time to see the house and the gardens between getting there and back. And the shop *is* good. Make a day of it.

Tampa, Florida
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3. Re: Getting more out of a Giverny day trip

(I'm not usually swayed by gift shops -- but this one takes up M. Monet's former studios, and is filled with wonderful things at every possible price point)

London
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4. Re: Getting more out of a Giverny day trip

Thank you all for your replies, that's great. I always tend to take twice as long at any location than the guidebook suggests, so I'm glad I can fill up the day there. And I gather the house is in the village and am I'm guessing that we can wander there too. Thanks again.

Lords Valley...
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5. Re: Getting more out of a Giverny day trip

Ditto on the gift shop. I usually don't even bother with gift shops but this one was the exception. Spent about 45 minutes there.

MD
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6. Re: Getting more out of a Giverny day trip

The town of Vernon has an outdoor market Wednesday morning and Saturday all day, and they are worth a little time. You could pick up something for a picnic there. There's a Monoprix right next to it which also sells food, paper plates, and sturdy bags to carry your market goodies. France is pretty much BYO bag everywhere.

I just read that on Tuesday afternoons from 3-7pm there's a market opposite the tourist office that sells crepes, ice cream, galettes, and lets you taste cider and local products. It goes through September.

Or you can eat lunch in the village of Giverny. It's your birthday! Enjoy.

Chicago, Illinois
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7. Re: Getting more out of a Giverny day trip

we were there most of the day and missed the house and gift shop -- there were huge lines and crowds to get in

and we had to line up for over an hour to get initial tickets -- definitely get your tickets ahead -- you can get them on line and print them at home (we didn't have a printer in Paris) or get them at FNAC (would that we had done that)

the place is wall to wall people but it is still possible to linger -- at one point we sat on a bench near the lilly pond and just enjoyed the beauty of the place for half an hour --

Fairbanks, Alaska
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8. Re: Getting more out of a Giverny day trip

When we were at Giverny at opening time, advance tickets in hand, the gardens were quite empty and peaceful for about the first 45 minutes. We took a taxi from the station, so we were at the garden ahead of everyone who took the shuttle, and the tour groups, and we went immediately to the water lily garden. The taxi was about 12€, IIRC (certainly no more than 16€).

Convince your family that it's worth taking the 8:00 train - it's your birthday!

We had planty of time in the gardens and the gift shop, and then caught the shuttle and the 12:53 train back to Paris. The train tickets can be used on any train, so you can be flexible.

Edited: 22 July 2011, 17:10
Tampa, Florida
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9. Re: Getting more out of a Giverny day trip

we got there about 1pm a couple of weeks ago and stood in line all of 20 minutes to buy tickets.

London
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10. Re: Getting more out of a Giverny day trip

Thanks all for helpful suggestions, gift shop sounds great. AAL08, I'm not sure I can even convince myself to take the 8am train, we're just not that good at getting out early! From what Sunshine has said, is there any advantage of arriving in the afternoon instead (and perhaps visiting the Vernon market in the mornnig as we are visiting on a Wednesday), would most tour groups have left or is it busy all day long?