Giverny and Versailles in one day?

Old Jan 30th, 2006, 06:13 AM
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Giverny and Versailles in one day?

First time to Paris in Mid/Late June:
After our time in Paris, we plan to leave Paris with a just-picked up rental car on a Friday morning early (8am), drive to Giverny to see Monet's gardens, and then drive to Versailles.
Can we hope to be at Versailles by 2ish? We are staying the night in Versailles, so my plan was to tour the palace first, then see the gardens afterwards. It doesn't get dark until after 10pm and apparently the gardens stay open until "dusk", so I was hoping we could walk/bike/enjoy the gardens throughout the early evening.

Was also thinking of doing the audio tour. We will have museum passes, but don't know if we should go in the museum pass line or the regular line for the audio guides.
Anyone does this before?

And does this generally sound like a good plan?
Thanks,
Dina
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Old Jan 30th, 2006, 06:27 AM
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I think you can do it, but it will be a bit rushed, as both are the kinds of places one usually wants to leisurely walk around. You'll only need an hour-and-a-half at Giverny, and it really isn't that far from Paris.
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Old Jan 30th, 2006, 06:34 AM
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Dear Dina:

While it is certainly easy to get from Giverny to Versailles, Mrs. Charles and I are of the thought that touring Giverny, the inside of Versailles and the outside of Versailles is way too much for one day.

The idea of getting to Giverny early (or conversely, getting there late afternoon) to beat the tour buses is a good plan. If you are assuming that Giverny does not take that long to tour, you are certainly correct.

We found Versailles, however, to be quite exhausting.

I have no input on the lines for the museum pass vs the audioguides. I remember renting the audioguides for Versailles, but neither Mrs. Charles nor I remember the line situation per se.

Wishing a wonderful trip,

Charles
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Old Jan 30th, 2006, 07:10 AM
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You can easily do this, especially if you have a car. If you are picking up your car at CDG, I can advise you on a route that will have you in Giverny before Monet's house and garen open at 9:30. If you are travelling from within Paris, it will take longer.

We travel to Giverny every spring and fall and almost always travel by rental car from CDG. We are huge fans of Monet and tend to spend no more than three hours in Giverny. However, we limit ourselves to the gardens, house, and the church where Monet and his family worshipped are buried.

The route from Giverny to Vernon is quite short and from Vernon to Versailles is by motorway. You can travel from Vernon to Versailles and not go back into Paris. The drive should take an hour or less.

In Versailles, spend your first couple of hours touring the interior (as you planned). In June, it will be daylight til quite late so you can see the gardens after the palace closes. If you have time, visit the Petit Trianon, the Grand Trianon, and the Hameau (my favorite; it is a "village" created for Marie Antoinette).

Have a great time an don't let the naysayers get you down.

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Old Jan 30th, 2006, 07:10 AM
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This sounds like a good itinerary if you are from the drive-by school of tourism. I have not been to Giverny, but I have been to Versailles, and Versailles requires an entire day to do the palace and gardens justice.
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Old Jan 30th, 2006, 07:54 AM
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Just a cautionary reminder. Your car rental process may not be as speedy as you would like. It took us 2 hours to get through Hertz on the day we were booked at 10 a.m. and planned to go to Giverney. Then we got lost, so we arrived around 2. I'm not saying this will happen to you, just that you need to plan around contingencies.
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Old Jan 31st, 2006, 06:04 AM
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Thanks for all the encouragement. I think we can do this.

Dorothy, we are staying near the Louvre, and our car pick up is there, not at CDG. I will be set as navigator with my printed out mappy directions and my husband is a great driver.
hopingtotravel--oh, what a shame. I really hope that happens to us.
But we always try to travel with 2 things:
a good plan
and
a good attitude when things don't go as planned.
Thanks!!!
Dina
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Old Feb 5th, 2006, 04:48 PM
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I definitely agree with sandykins!

Belle
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Old Feb 5th, 2006, 06:44 PM
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I've been to both and would not want to do both on one day--they're very different and each has its own charm, but if you like to rush through places, then it will be fine.
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Old Feb 5th, 2006, 06:49 PM
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Actually, I don't like to "rush" through places either, but many say that 2 hours is ample time to see Monet's gardens in Giverny. Furthermore, we are spending the night in Versailles and it doesn't get dark until really late, so if we do a late afternoon tour of the palace and an early evening exploration of the gardens (they don't close until 10pm), it seems as though if we get an early start, we could enjoy both without rushing or "driving by".
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Old Feb 5th, 2006, 07:15 PM
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Dina, I know (and see) that there are travelers who look cursorily at the sights; it does not take them much time to "do" a sight. I guess I am the kind of traveler who likes to take the time to be infused with the spirit of a place. Given what I have read and seen (in photos) of Monet's garden and the importance of the gardens to the development of Monet's art , I cannot imagine being limited to two hours there. I would rather wait and see it on a day when I could thoroughly enjoy the place and stay as long as I wished. The reason that I am not going to visit Giverny when in Paris this April is that my husband and I decided that we would rather see the waterlilies in July or August, and we will plan a future trip for that.

Second, I agree with Artlover that Giverny and Versailles are too different in mood to be viewed in one day. To me, your proposed itinerary would be like watching a tearjerker followed immediately by a musical comedy, and I just cannot shift emotional gears that quickly.

And, finally, there's something to be said for leaving some sights to see the next time you are in Paris. When my husband and I spent a week in Paris ten years ago, there were many sights we ended up not seeing for lack of time. They've been a fond topic of discussion all these years whenever he and I have fantasized about our next trip to Paris.This April we are going to see aspects of Paris entirely new to us, and that is very exciting. Think about it: t's actually good to leave some things for the future. Think of what you'll have to look forward to!

Whatever you decide, I wish you a wonderful first visit to Paris!
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Old Feb 6th, 2006, 07:21 AM
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Dina:

Plan to leave Paris as early as you can in the morning and try to get to Giverny when it opens at 9:30. There is a free parking lot located directly across the street from the house. If you follow the parking signs, you will park in a lot a couple of blocks from the house. There is a wonderful ice cream vendor who is usually parked in the corner of this lot. The strawberry is heavenly.

On your way out of Vernon towards the motorway, there is a wonderful boulangerie with great bread and other goodies. Park half-way on the sidewalk like the natives and dash in for a baguette.

Really, it should take only an hour or so to drive from Vernon to Versailles via the motorway. You can easily be at Versailles by 2:00 PM and have plenty of time to tour the chateau, the gardens, and other areas. It really does stay light until 9:00 or 10:00 at that time of year.

I would never rush through any experiences as unique and magical as Giverny and Versailles. I think that touring both in a day, you will be amazed by the contrasts of each and will be most appreciative of the distinct characteristics of each place.

Have a wonderful trip!

I really think that two to three hours is plenty of time to visit Monet's house and gardens. I've been at least twenty times, but every time I feel like it is my first
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Old Feb 6th, 2006, 09:21 PM
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Dorothy,
Thanks for all that great information. I am so excited about visiting Giverny. I've been teaching my students about Monet for years, and have dreamed of actually standing on that Japanese bridge myself!

<<There is a free parking lot located directly across the street from the house. If you follow the parking signs, you will park in a lot a couple of blocks from the house>>
So should we not follow the parking signs, but just look for the lot that's right across the street? I'm not sure if I understood that right, but if so, it sound like a great time-saving tip.
And we'll definitely try that boulongerie. I can't wait!

<<If you have time, visit the Petit Trianon, the Grand Trianon, and the Hameau (my favorite; it is a "village" created for Marie Antoinette).>>
Our son has learned about Versailles and Marie Antoinette's "village" in his history class this year, and is really excited about checking these places out! He loves history, and I'm sure Versailles will be a highlight for him.

Thanks again for your help,
Dina
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Old Feb 7th, 2006, 06:58 AM
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Hi Dina:

If you are coming from Vernon, you will see signs directing you to parking when you enter the really small village of Giverny. Continue through the small roundabout and turn when you see either Rue Claude Monet or a sign for the Hotel Baudy. Turn left on Rue Claude Monet. It is a very narrow street. Directly across from Monet's house is a parking lot; it probably has twenty to thirty parking spots. Park here and you can walk across the street to the house. The other parking lot is a three or four blocks away, directly across fom the American Museum. If you do park there, it is still freedand not too far away.

Be sure to visit the church where Monet and his family worshipped in Giverny (you can walk or you may drive on your way back to Vernon and park on the street across from the church). After you leave the parking lot (turn right and continue past the Hotel Baudy) continue on Rue Claude Monet for about ten blocks (almost the end of town). Monet and his family are buried in the churchyard. Climb the steps on the right side of the church and the grave is at the top. The churchyard is small and the grave is one of the larger, but suprisingly not the largest.

We have been to Giverny at least twenty times and have yet to visit the American Museum so do not fret if you skip it. I would rather spend my time in the gardens and in the house.

Be sure to visit the house. You can see Monet's bed (do not touch it like my mother did or you will be reprimanded). The kitchen and dining room are so quaint. I also enjoy the photos on the walls that show Monet posing on the Japanese Bridge with famous guests - like Clemenceau and the minister of Japan.

I always have a magical feeling when I am standing on the bridge. Most people are considerate and will allow you to pose alone or with a group for photo taking.

I hope you have a wonderful time!
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Old Feb 7th, 2006, 06:41 PM
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Dorothy,
Thank you so much for taking the time to give me all those important details.
You are amazing!
I'll let you know how it goes. It still seems so far away, but I know it will come quickly...
Thanks again,
Dina
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Old Feb 7th, 2006, 07:12 PM
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I actually did this itinerary several years back on one of my first trips to France. I adore Monet so visiting his garden was a high priority for me, even if it meant less time at Versailles. I have returned to Versailles a few times since, and agree that it can easily be made into a whole day experience. Many tourists see only the chateau and neglect the marvelous stroll around the grounds - agree that the Hammeau is terrific - because their time is limited and it's preferable than not visiting at all.
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Old Feb 25th, 2006, 05:36 PM
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Thanks, Seamus.
I will be glad to have the long daylight hours near the summer soltice to enjoy the gardens thoroughly!
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