7 Epic Tips To Visit Monet's Garden On Your Family Vacation In Paris
If you’re planning a family vacation in Paris, you’re probably wondering if seeing Monet's Garden is worth the day trip. Hands down, our trip to visit the Monet Gardens in Paris was the FAVORITE day of our entire family vacation in France and should be at the top of the activities list for anyone visiting France with kids! These 7 tips will help you have an amazing visit to Monet Gardens in Paris.
I try to make these tips posts as helpful as possible for families in mind- because there has been SO MANY things we've learned first hand as a traveling family of 7, especially when it comes to family travel on a budget!
So I hope that you find these Monet's Gardens tips super helpful for YOUR next Paris family vacation! 🥰
Tip #1 For Seeing The Monet Gardens In Paris:
Be sure to arrive approximately 45 minutes before your ticket time.
Do you have anxiety when you’re late for an appointment, or running late to get together with friends?
I sure do! I like to be a little bit early- and I get VERY stressed when I think I’m running late for something.
Our trip to visit Monet's garden during our family vacation in Paris this summer started out with that kind of anxiety! 😵💫
I had already learned online (I’m an avid researcher, as you can probably tell from my other posts) that the Monet Gardens had their own parking lot, which was GREAT- because parking in Paris is a hot mess!
But I hadn’t anticipated that it would be COMPLETELY full, especially since our visit was in the middle of the week.
It took us about 20-30 minutes of driving around the area to actually find an open parking space and park our car.
In hindsight, we could have probably found street parking a little further out, but that would have also required additional time for walking, so we still would have been running a bit behind.
(Street parking has been a life saver during our entire Paris family vacation- you can read why in my ‘7 Tips For Driving In France As A Tourist’ post! 😅)
Give yourself an extra 30 minutes or so to find a parking spot, just to be on the safe side. (And, if you’re like me, you will save yourself a bit of anxiety!)
Also add about 10-15 minutes to walk to the Monet Gardens entrance from the parking lot.
It’s not an intensely long walk, but it does take a few minutes, especially if you have never been there before.
Bonus Tip: When you first visit monet's garden, make sure to look for the entrance signs and go to the correct entrance. There are TWO different entrances, depending on whether or not you already have tickets. (I’ve marked both entrances on my route map in tip #7.)
When walking to the entrance from the parking lot, you will see a (long-ish) line alongside a building, which is the main entrance for people buying tickets the day of their visit.
BEFORE reaching this main entrance line, there are small signs that will direct you to turn down a little side street IF YOU HAVE ALREADY PURCHASED YOUR TICKETS.
Maybe I was already in stress mode, or maybe the signs just weren’t obvious enough, but I totally missed these signs walking down to the main entrance.
(And neither my husband or any of our kids saw the signs either, so maybe they just weren't very clear signs. 😉)
If you have already purchased your Monet’s Gardens tickets in advance, you will want to take the little side road down to the other entrance. (I've marked the side entrance in my map route down below in tip #7.)
By the time we parked our car, walked down to the entrance, then found the CORRECT entrance for advance ticket holders, we were about 30 minutes past our ticket time- instead of being 15 minutes early as I had planned.
So as long as you give yourself about 45 minutes in advance of your ticket time, you should be fine.
And that brings me to my next (very important) tip…
Tip #2 To Visit Monet’s Garden:
Buy the tickets in advance and plan to spend a full day in Giverny.
This tip is kind of two tips rolled into one- first of all, you WILL want to buy your tickets in advance so you can skip that long line at the main entrance.
You can get your tickets directly from the Fondation Monet website here which are fairly affordable and goes straight to support their foundation.
Second of all, you’re going to want to give yourself a FULL day to spend between the house (Monet’s Chateau), the gardens, and the surrounding area.
(At the end of this post, I have a neat Google Maps route showing how we explored Giverny and the different sights!)
I was very pleasantly surprised to see how much there actually was right in the immediate area! 😍
In fact, you won’t actually find the Monet Gardens in Paris, but instead in a small nearby town called Giverny.
Giverny is a short drive (or take the Paris to Giverny train if you don’t have a car) outside of the main Paris area, and you can get there in about 45-60 minutes depending on the traffic. 🚗
There are also a LOT of really cute little shops, a few little cafes, and the impressionist art museum right outside the immediate Monet Gardens complex.
Beyond that, as you explore Giverny, there’s a few historical hotels, a couple of small restaurants, art galleries and a pretty but beautiful little church all within a 15-20 minute walk!
You’re definitely going to want to explore the church, because you can find the actual grave and headstone for Claude Monet and his family on the church grounds.
You can also go inside, drop a few coins into the box and light a memorial candle if you like. The inside is pretty and peaceful, with a large stained glass window that is just breathtaking.
On the way down to the church thre is also a very cute little truck stand with apple cider and wine which is worth every penny! 🥂
We had an amazing time exploring the areas OUTSIDE of actually visiting Monets Garden and could have stayed even longer if we’d planned to visit in the morning instead of the afternoon.
There are even more things to explore further out in Giverny if you want to drive through the town, but we didn’t go very far as we quickly ran out of time to explore. 🤣
You can easily plan a Monet's Garden day trip from Paris that the entire family will love, between the actual site, the art museum next door, and the town itself!
Psst… check out my ‘7 Tips For A Great Paris Family Vacation’ if you’re still debating on adding this to your Paris itinerary.
I know I personally was really wondering whether visiting the Monet Gardens was worth it or if my kids would get bored, but it REALLY IS worth the drive!
In fact, I feel like these more quaint little towns we've visitied have been some of the best parts of traveling Europe with kids- everyone is so friendly and the towns are quieter, cleaner and so much more beautiful!
Visiting Monet’s Gardens Tip #3:
Don't rely on local restaurants/cafes for lunch or dinner.
I know, I know, I JUST got done telling you that there’s cute little restaurants and cafes- but here’s the thing- you can’t rely on them to have full meal type food, especially between 1 to 8 pm (13:00 to 20:00).
Even though the hours listed on Google Maps often show the restaurants as open, most of them close the kitchen in the afternoon. 🤯
The ones that do stay open can get quite busy, and we did find a couple of cafes that had signs for sandwiches outside but when we inquired about it, they only had a few pastries inside.
Instead, you can easily plan to have a picnic in the nearby grassy areas (there’s a great grass area right next to the Impressionist Museum).
You can bring some picnic food in a small cooler and keep it in the car.
Plan to eat before or after your visit and just pack some light snacks and water in the car instead.
The nearby town of Vernon has several restaurant choices with more flexible hours and is a 10 minute drive away.
Either way, do make sure you pack some water bottles and hydration tablets so you can walk around in the beautiful gardens without worrying about getting dehydrated. (Yes, again with the hydration tablets, sorry! 😅 They just make such a huge difference!!)
Seeing Monet Gardens In Paris Tip #4:
Be patient with your photography and don't let the crowd rush you.
Okay, so I’ve gotten most of the more ‘practical’ tips out of the way, so here’s a tip that’s especially for the photo lovers… (Or basically any MOM, because we need 1,000 photos of our kids to lock in these amazing memories, am I right?!)
When you visit Monet's Garden, you’re going to want to take LOTS of photos. 📸
Don’t get intimidated by all the people, and don’t let them rush you through the gardens!
I found it very easy to get lost in the ‘flow of traffic’ of all of the people going through and actually ended up going back around because I wanted to take some photos without so many people in the frame.
Just be patient and wait for breaks in the crowds, and you can find plenty of photo ops!
The people will either wait patiently to grab a photo of their own or go around you to the next part of the garden, so it’s not a big deal to go slow and savor the beauty. 🤩
This is a GREAT place to bring a selfie stick, as well. There’s plenty of room in the garden to move around and get the shots you really love.
The crowds up closer to the house (and inside) are more unavoidable, but there's so many beautiful things to see that it didn't really matter much, in my opinion.
Also, here’s a fun photo tip I learned from the Udemy photography course my daughter and I took together before our family holidays in France, Switzerland and the Netherlands (aka our epic European road trip):
When you’re on the green bridge at Monets water lily pond, you can get down low and put your phone closer to the water to get some really beautiful reflection shots. (Just be careful not to drop your phone into the water!)
I really got so many beautiful photos throughout our family vacation in Paris, but the Monet's Garden pics and the reflection shots from Monets water lily pond were by far my favorites from our whole time in France! (And not bad for an amateur mom with a mid-range android phone camera!)
Monet’s Garden Tip #5:
Go into the Impressionist Museum BEFORE visiting the Monet Gardens from Paris.
If you can plan time for it, it is really cool to visit the Impressionist Museum (Musée des impressionnismes Giverny) BEFORE you go to the Monet house and gardens.
You will get to learn a bit about his paintings and his inspiration beforehand and the backstory really takes your whole visit experience over the top! 🤯
It does cost a few dollars for the admission fee (and it is separate from the tickets you buy for Monet’s House and Gardens) but it doesn’t take that long to explore and we did actually enjoy it!
You can check out their website here for opening hours and admission prices. (Side note: the museum’s restaurant ALSO closes their kitchen between lunch and dinner.)
If you don't have time to fit this into your itinerary, another fun option is to watch an informative (but fun) Youtube video the night before your visit so your kids get the backstory and appreaciate the visit so much more!
This one is great for kids and gives a nice but brief biography of his life and art in less than 5 minutes:
Tip #6 To Visit Monet’s Garden With Kids:
Wear a face mask inside of the chateau (aka inside the house).
Yep- I’m getting on my health train right now. 🚂🚂🚂
You are going to want to bring a face mask to visit Monet's Garden- and be sure to put it on BEFORE you go into the chateau (house).
I cannot stress this enough- nobody wants to be sick on their family vacation.
I said the same thing in my ‘7 Tips For Visiting Versailles With Kids’ post, and I will say it again- a face mask here is a MUST.
There are people from ALL over the world in very small, tight spaces inside the house’s rooms and hallways.
This means exposure to lots of new cold and flu germs that you and your kids have never been exposed to before!
We’ve gotten colds on vacations pre-covid and it is ALWAYS a major fun-killer. 🤒
Trust me on this one- we ALL got sick after THIS exact family vacation in Paris (I'm blaming Versailles, but the Monet visit probably didn't help either), and we also got sick once in Naples, Italy after just visiting Rome.
And you REALLY don’t want to hear about the explosive tummy flu that knocked out our WHOLE family (except for me, woohoo!) when we went to Brussels a few years back!
My point in oversharing all of this gross information is that I'm hoping you will please use this info to learn from our mistakes.
Wearing a face mask in places like these is GENIUS, and I’ve added face masks to our future packing lists, permanently. 😷
Tip #7 For The Monet Gardens In Paris:
Use our route as a rough guide for planning your family’s own epic Monet's Garden Day Trip from Paris.
I’ve taken a bit of time to make this fun little route on Google Maps of the way WE explored the area, from visiting Monets garden and chateau as well as the surrounding Giverny area. 🥰
Since we didn’t have very much time (our tickets were in the afternoon, so we didn't even leave from our AirBnb in Paris to Monet Gardens until after 1pm!), the route surely could be improved or added to…
But I thought it would be a good way to show you where we went and what was worth seeing along the way!
You can easily add stops to this route after you open it in your Google Maps app on your phone, or rearrange the stops I’ve added as well!
I can’t add notes to the Google Maps route that will be visible to the public, so I've broken it down briefly for you so you can see where we went throughout the area.
Here are the stops on the map in order of our Monet Gardens day trip route: