Giverny is a commune of the Eure, in Normandy region, on the edge of Yvelines, in the Vexin natural region, 28 km east of Evreux.
The village is located on the right bank of the Seine, at its confluence with its affluent l'Epte, in a hilly landscape.
Already inhabited during Antiquity, living partly from viticulture in the Middle Ages, a Romanesque church was erected in the eleventh century.
However, the history of the town which today has about 500 inhabitants is upset in 1883 when the painter Claude Monet, who had discovered the village on the occasion of a train ride, is seduced by the landscape and decides to settle there. He first rented an old farmhouse, "La Maison du Pressoir", which he bought in 1890 and set up exceptional gardens that would be the main frame of his work. He even created a pond covered with water lilies and spanned by a Japanese bridge.
A few years later, other painters - especially American - settled and Giverny became alive even Monet a capital of art and in particular of Impressionism.
Claude Monet died in 1926 and is buried in the village. Today, Giverny and its museums attract hundreds of thousands of visitors every year and has become a cultural tourism landmark.
Before taking an interest in Monet, the impressionist painters, their gardens and their works, a visit to Giverny can begin with the singular Sainte-Radegonde church, listed. Its oldest parts (eleventh century) are the apse in the form of semicircular arched cul-de-four and the southern gable. The other parts of the church are 15th and 16th centuries. The side aisles are illuminated by Renaissance mullioned windows, the paneled vault of the nave, an octagonal turret at the "north" wall and the belfry between the nave and the chancel. Inside, statues and stained glass are also worth a look.
Nearby, the dolmen called "Pierre de Sainte-Radegonde" attests to the age of human occupation in the region.
Then we go to the gardens and the house of Claude Monet, where the painter lived from 1883 to 1926 with his family. Becoming Claude Monet Foundation, the visit includes an exhibition of Japanese prints, the artist's studio and especially the gardens that were his main source of inspiration during the last 35 years of his life. These gardens have been restored identically. They break down into two parts. The "clos normand" on the one hand, in front of the house, which offers from spring to autumn a symphony of colors that change with the rhythm of the plantations punctuating the seasons... Below, arranged thanks to a derivation of the Epte, place in the water garden, with the Japanese bridge, the wisteria, the pond and the water-lilies of which Monet knew with unparalleled brilliance to represent all the grace. The whole property is classified Historic Monument and its exteriors are labeled Remarkable Garden. Open every day from mid-March to All Saints' Day. Admission: 5.50 and 9.50 euros. Information on +33 2 32 51 28 21. Reservation required for groups.
Logically, the Museum of Impressionnisms is linked, which presents the history and originality of this pictorial current that revolutionized modern art during the last quarter of the 19th century. The museum also evokes its precursors and heirs. Each year, in addition to the permanent exhibitions, temporary exhibitions mark the season, concerts are scheduled and workshops accessible to adults and children alike. Open from early April to mid-July and from early August to the end of Toussaint holidays. Entry: 5 and 7.50 euros. Information on +33 2 32 51 94 65.
Do not miss the beautiful garden museum, designed by architects and landscapers on a meadow overlooking the hill overlooking the village. The goal was to recreate a form of color palette symbolizing impressionism. Free admission from mid-March to All Saints' Day. Information on +33 2 32 51 94 65.
Finally, a break can be considered then to the old hotel Baudy, which has a beautiful rose garden, and which welcomed the painters staying in the village.
In a completely different register, facing the town hall, the Museum of Natural Mechanics can complete the visitors program. It presents a large collection of industrial or agricultural engines from around the world that three passionate brothers have gathered. All machines have been restored and are in working order. Open during school holidays and the rest of the year by appointment. Free admission. Information on +33 2 32 21 26 33.
For those who are not sated by all these splendours, several hiking trails are available in the village or its immediate surroundings. A "cultural" itinerary has been created on the town, a route more dedicated to the discovery of fauna and flora as well, not to mention the many walks possible on the slopes... Documentation and information on +33 2 32 51 39 60.