We will be first time travelers to Paris and would like to plan a day trip to Giverny. Can anyone recomend a tour company?
You can easily visit Giverny on your own. Take a train to Vernon and either a taxi, shuttle bus, or a rental bike to Giverny.
It was my first time in a non-English speaking country and could not figure out the train schedules to Giverny so I booked an American Express bus tour. We didn't get to spend as much time there as we wanted. We were pretty much herded in and out. I, too, would recommend taking the train and taxi or bus to Giverny. Besides the obvious, his gardens, Monet was a collector of japanese prints which are displayed within the house.
Giverny is an easy train trip from Paris. Just check which train station you need. A quick metro ride, hop on the train, hop off at Vernon. Be careful however,you have to take a bus from the station to Monet's gardens and you should pick up a bus schedule because I believe the last bus back to the train is around 3:30. We almost missed it. There is also a wonderful museum there that is worth a visit. I'd leave Paris early AM in order to see both.
Direct trains go from Gare St-Lazare to Vernon in 40 minutes. (Alternative routes require one change and take nearly two hours.) During high season the last bus leaves Giverny after 18:00. Here's the URL for the Vernon-Giverny bus timetables: http://giverny.org/transpor/bus2007.jpg.
I read in one of Rck Steve's books that it is best to purchase tickets ahead of time for Giverny to avoid having to wait in line to buy tickets. Can you tell me where we would be able to purchse the tickets on line? thanks! Linda
@Linda - that depends on what time of year and what time of day you intend to go. I went in August last year and did not get tickets ahead of time. I took the early train/bus and got there just before the ticket window opened and there were perhaps 5 people in line ahead of me (they walked faster from the bus than I did). So, if you go early when they open (9:30 am) there will be no problem. You can buy tickets online (if you are so inclined) at www.giverny.org
Best tour I have taken was a Fat Tire Bike tour to Monets Gardens. Don't poo poo it, I am firmly middleaged , do not own a bike and do not go to the gym. Its a wonderful daytrip from Paris. You are met at the train station in Paris. Then when we arrive in Vernon we walked about 3 minutes to the bike storage area. Then we biked on level ground to a market and everyone had some time to shop for picnic supplies. We then met up and biked about 10 minutes through town, its not that scary as Vernon is not a large city. After 10 minutes we arrived at a lovely spot for a picnic on the side of the river. After lunch we then bike along a lovely bike/pedestrian trail that mostly follows the river, its an old decommissioned train track so pretty level . There is a slight incline towards the end, but we had grannies and kids who managed it just fine. When we arrive at Monets Gardens bikes are locked up, we all walked 2 mintues to gardens and are led in ( yeah no lines we skip ahead as a group) once inside you are on your own to wander and given a time to meet back at bikes, it seemed like a long time to me , about 2 hours I think. I ended up wandering off and finding a café for a drink and to write some postcards .On way back we stopped and saw an old graveyard to see Monets grave.
It was a great day.