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Day Trips from Paris: Versaille & Giverny

Day Trips from Paris: Versaille & Giverny

May 10th, 2010, 07:02 AM
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Day Trips from Paris: Versaille & Giverny

I am leaving for Paris in two days (!!) and I can't wait. I will be there for 7 days, and I was planning on taking a day trip to Versaille and another day trip to Giverny & Monet's house. I've never been to Paris before; do you think two day trips in a seven day trip will be too much?

rainy_day is offline  
May 10th, 2010, 07:07 AM
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No but the jury will be divided on this

I consider Versailles to be an integral part of Paris - others do not and will say to spend all your time in Paris but if you have five days that is a lot IMO

But Versailles is just minutes away by Paris metro (RER C takes you to within a few blocks of the palace entry)

Giverny takes a lot longer to reach - first train to Vernon then mini-bus or taxi 3-4 miles to the village and you could have a long wait in line to get into the House (closed on Mondays)

I would even advocate another day trip - to a real French regional town (vs cosmoplitan and tourist riven Paris) and i would suggest the about one hour train trip to Chartres and its great Gothic cathedral with the famous glass windows. Plus Chartres is a typical French regional town - with outdoor market some days and just a real French feel much unlike Paris. The Chartres train station is within eyeshot of the hill-top cathedral, one of the most famous in all of Christiandom.
Palenque is offline  
May 10th, 2010, 07:33 AM
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Monet's house and garden are NOT closed on Monday. The operating hours were changed in 2009. I visited in late April of 2010 and can confirm that they are open every day from April 1, 2010 through November 30, 2010.
Dorothy01 is offline  
May 10th, 2010, 07:40 AM
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thanks for correcting me - i update my info!
Palenque is offline  
May 10th, 2010, 08:09 AM
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Versailles will be a full day but you can do Giverny in the morning and come back to Paris early afternoon and still have time to see/do things in Paris. So I don't think it's too much if you have 7 full days in Paris.
adrienne is offline  
Jun 18th, 2010, 07:43 AM
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We have just got back from Giverny. For those of you who are considering doing it with a tour or group, here are the figures for doing it on your own.

We got to Gare St Lazare with our Paris decouverte pass. Then 25 Euros each for the train to Vernon (aller/retour - return) Bus (navette) another 4 Euros, entrance to the house/garden 6 Euros. If you want to see the museum there, which we didn't, it was another 6 Euros. So 35 Euros each. I don't know how much it costs to do this with a private company, but it's easy enough on your own.

You can, I guess, do something else the same day, but it still takes longer than you might think. We left our apartment at Ecole Militaire, only a 5 or stops from Gare St Lazare, but were only a few minutes early for the 10.20 train, by the time we changed Metro lines, and then stopped in the station to buy our ticket to Vernon

We arrived in Vernon shortly after 11. The bus driver took a long time selling/validating tickets, there was a lot of traffic, and so it took about 40 minutes to get to the garden. Then a longish walk, with LOTS of other people, and a lineup to buy tickets. We hadn't bought them in advance, as we wanted to check the weather before going. (Torrential rain last week in the southwest, where we live, floods in the southeast this week. Unusually, Paris has in fact had good weather this week, although cooler than normal)

We spent about 2 hours in the garden, stopped and had a sandwich just outside, and caught the 14.25 bus back, for the 14.53 train. Home around 4.30. If we had wanted to spend more time there we'd have had to wait until the 16.25 bus.

Something I thought was a little nasty, is that you are only allowed one entrance - no right of re-admission. There's nowhere to eat inside the garden, and no picnicking allowed. I can quite understand that, but it means that if you are there around lunch time and you want something to eat, you have to come out, get a sandwich, and then line up and pay again. You could probably have a sandwich in your bag and eat it unobtrusively as you walk around, but we hadn't thought of that.

While we were happy to finally get to Giverny, and would have been disappointed it we hadn't gone, I have to say we were rather disappointed anyway. Unfortunately we had really underestimated the number of people who would be there. I know, we too are tourists, and it's a major tourist attraction, so we shouldn't have been surprised. But there were huge groups of people - school groups arriving non stop, 8 coach loads of tourists just in the parking lot where the navette stops - not to mention the other parking lots full of coaches, cars, private groups. We weren't so unrealistic as to think we would be alone, but really were amazed at the crush.
Carlux is offline  
Jun 18th, 2010, 08:19 AM
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I agree that getting to Giverny on your own is not difficult, but you'd probably want to time your visit so you are not there in the middle of the day when it is crowded. I've been there a few times and try to get there before it opens at 9:30 or after 3:00 when the tour busses are not so abundant. I have some tips for that -
take the 8:20 train from Gare St. Lazare, which will get you to Vernon around 9:05. Most people on the train are going to Giverny and will come out of the train station, veer right and walk the block to the bus. Instead veer left to the taxi stand and grab a cab. I just did this in May and the price was 12 euro. There were 3 of us and it was more than the bus fare (which I think is 4 euro round trip). The cab dropped us off at the entrance and we were first in line! When you get in the garden, instead of starting your tour there - go quickly to the opposite corner to find the entrance to the water lily pond. We got there and there were us and 2 other people for about 15 minutes. It was beautiful and peaceful. We got awesome photos of the bridge without a lot of other people in them. When you're done there, go back to the garden and the house to see those. When you're done, walk to the parking lot (exit the gardens, turn left and I think it is the first left street to walk to the busses). The city bus will be sitting near the entrance to the parking lot. Or you can arrange for the cab to return for you. We opted for the bus - but check the schedule.

An alternative is to take a later train and be there at the end of the day, it is also less crowded.

If you go to www.giverny.org and look for the visitor information, you'll find a train and bus schedule to you can plan accordingly. You'll want to be at the bus early because it will fill up. The busses are timed for train arrivals and departures.

If you are near a train station one day, you can go to the Grand Lines ticket office and get your ticket for whatever day you plan to travel. Sometimes there is a long line for tickets and you don't want to miss your train. Be sure to validate your ticket before boarding the train - there is a yellow box at the station end of the track, simply stick the ticket in and it will date/time stamp it. You can get in trouble if you don't do this - I forgot once and I was told by the conductor that I could have fined, but wasn't.

Have fun - Giverny is worth the trip!

And so is Versailles!
cls2paris is offline  
Jun 18th, 2010, 08:25 AM
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Monet's house is absolutely beautiful, with exciting use of colours, it's almost as good as the gardens.
tarquin is offline  
Jun 18th, 2010, 08:33 AM
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Thank you cls2paris for that very handy information on getting to Giverny with the excellent tips! We want to do this trip in August and I'm thinking late arrival would suite us but just incase we fall our of bed early we will do it your way!
tod is offline  
Jun 18th, 2010, 08:52 AM
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Thanks cls2paris...good info. We will be there late April 2011 and Giverny is on our short list. Hopefully it will be less crowded than summer.

DaveMM is offline  
Jun 18th, 2010, 09:34 AM
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If you are interested in Monet's work, I think Giverny and Monet's garden are less interesting than Monet's paintings -- and I'm not being cheeky. I think seeing the garden adds very little to the understanding of his paintings. I hope your short trip includes spending a lot of time seeing his paintings (almost none are at Giverny). The Marmottan is one of the very finest museums dedicated to the work of a single artist, and his paintings in l'Orangerie and d'Orsay are far more important than the visual preservation of his garden to look like his paintings. (Surely Monet would have continued to mix it up!)

If what you like is *gardens* and flowers, Giverny is lovely and I think the gardens in Versailles are at their glorious best when the fountains are on, so look for that. Bear in mind too that several of the urban gardens of Paris are tremendous works of art, and tremendously influential. If you like gardens, spend time in the gardens of Paris. If you like Monet, spend as much time as you can with his paintings in Paris.
zeppole is offline  
Jun 18th, 2010, 10:43 AM
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You sort of have to see Versailles, especially since it's an easy trip from the city. Just make sure you get your tix in advance.

I'm with zeppole. For art and gardens, Paris has plenty to meet your needs. But to each his own.
k9korps is offline  
Jun 18th, 2010, 10:54 AM
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I agree with Zeppole about seeing the paintings in the museums as being very interesting and I thoroughly enjoy that. However, there was something very magical for me to see and stand on his Japanese Bridge that I had seen in so many paintings, then to look out on that pond and see the waterlilies and weeping willow trees - wow! And to look out of his studio windows and see the gardens that inspired his paintings was a treat for me. He designed the gardens to be beautiful for much of the year and the gardeners continue to use his plans for planting, which I also think is cool. But, I do also love gardens and that might contribute to my desire to keep going back to Giverny and seeing the gardens at different times of the year.
cls2paris is offline  
Jun 18th, 2010, 12:18 PM
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I was formulating a reply when I read cls2paris's comment and that's what I would have said almost verbatim. I first learned of Giverny when I attended a lecture and slideshow by a well known photographer who spend six week every year photographing the gardens. I visit Giverny every chance I get and each time it is enchanting. But, we usually rent a car when in Europe, so we don't have the difficulty dealing with bus schedules, etc. I can also recommend the gardens surrounding the Rodin Museum in Paris.
Maggi is offline  
Jun 18th, 2010, 03:29 PM
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Thanks for the tips cls2paris!
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Jun 8th, 2013, 11:00 AM
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cybertraveler, why not just bookmark this link on your browser instead of adding nothing to an old thread?
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I like to bookmark because sometimes it is easier/more efficient to bookmark -- all things come up when you click your name. Some people add nothing to thread when they post...
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