Looking in our Aires books didn’t give us any options near to Giverny or around the north west of Paris. This also means little or no services. Luckily we had read that motorhomes can stop over night in the Monet car park so we arrived around 4pm and sure enough we found the area adjacent to the coach park already had 3 motorhomes parked up. We decided to eat out that evening so walked into the village of Giverny made famous by Monet. There are numerous restaurants in the village to service the hordes of daily tourists but after the gardens close and the day visitors leave the village is quiet and nearly all the restaurants close for the evening. However, one of the hotels was open so we had a very excellent dinner there.
As we walked around the village we had noticed a water tap near the side of the road. Our fresh water tank was almost empty and with no other services available we had to use it. The tap didn’t have a normal screw thread so we had to hold the end of the hose onto the tap whilst it sprayed everywhere and soaked us. We filled the tank just enough for our immediate use.
Next day we were up early and while we had heard stories of massive queues we were the first there! Visiting out of season certainly helped.
The gardens are splits into 2 areas, the formal gardens and the lily pond gardens. The 2 gardens are split between either side of the main road (which when Monet bought the house was a railway line) with a walk way under the road between the gardens.
The formal gardens on the house side are beautiful and full of flowers and many of the beds are quite mature and there were quite a few gardeners dead heading to keep the flowers coming.
The lily ponds and gardens are the location of some of Monet’s most famous paintings but suffer from being replanted all the time so the borders just didn’t look very mature and had lots of gaps inbetween.
Even though we were first in the queue the coaches are allowed in through a different entrance so there were plenty of people in the garden within minutes of it opening and within an hour of opening numerous coaches had arrived and the gardens were full of tourists.
Monet’s home is also part of the gardens which has been restored from original photos so you can visit his bedroom, kitchen, lounge and studio as well as view copies of many of his paintings.
In general I was somewhat disappointed with how busy it was and in peak times I’ve heard that it is full of tourists doing follow the leader around the gardens.