MAY 2023

You might know that you can find Monet’s gardens in Giverny, but did you also know that Giverny actually is an interesting area to explore besides the gardens. I have recently spent a weekend in nearby Vernon and discovered some other cool activities for this area. If you are visiting Monet’s gardens in Giverny, I highly recommend spending some more time in this part of Normandy.


I wanted to book the first timeslot for Monet’s gardens, so I knew I wanted to stay the night nearby. I ended up choosing Vernon as the location for our overnight stay, as it is a livelier option than Giverny. Giverny itself is super lovely, but it doesn’t have a range of hotels or Airbnbs or restaurants to choose from, so we’d rather stay elsewhere. I booked a cute Airbnb near the city center of Vernon and paid € 93 for a private room with a bathroom. Our room also had access to a privatized area of the garden, so we could get into the right mindset for visiting the gardens. Vernon and Giverny are only a few kilometers apart, making Vernon a good location. You will find a beautiful cathedral and historic houses in the center of Vernon, so you will have something to do when you are not exploring the gardens. We had dinner at La Belle Equipe, which was one of the trendier restaurants in town (and one of the only ones to open at 6PM). Service and the food were great, in the evenings they have shared dining concept. Lots of the items on the menu are homemade and local.

Le Vieux Moulin de Vernon

Just across the Seine you will find the old windmill of Vernon. You cannot really see that it used to be a windmill, so use some imagination for that. The old windmill is a lovely spot to have a picnic or a glass of wine, enjoying your medieval view! Next to the windmill there is a castle, but you cannot visit it.

Chateau de Bizy

A few kilometers outside of the city center you can visit Chateau de Bizy. For just 5 euros you are allowed to visit the gardens and the exteriors of the castle. The weather wasn’t great so we paid extra to do a guided tour of the interior. You can only visit on a guided tour and on the website you can find at which times the tours go. We visited in April on a Saturday and were able to join the next tour without pre-booking. The tours are in French, but an English translation is available. I definitely liked visiting the tour and learning about the history and to whom Chateau de Bizy had belonged to. I especially loved taking pictures with the stunning exterior!

La Roche – Guyon

Near Vernon you will find one of France’s plus beaux villages: La Roche – Guyon. We kind of discovered this town by accident and were very happy to make a quick stop. In the heart of town you will find the old chateau, which you can visit most days in the “nice weather” season. Opposite the chateau you can visit it’s gardens for free and we found the orchards in bloom half April. What makes La Roche – Guyon extra stunning is that on top of the hills there is an old ruin. We also discovered an antiques market which was being held on a Sunday.

Rapeseed fields

When driving from Giverny to La Roche – Guyon we found many rapeseed fields (bloom usually in April, second bloom later during the year). The rapeseed fields were extra beautiful because they were all situated on a hill, so you could really see the depth of the fields.

Monet’s gardens

Of course you are actually in this area for Monet’s gardens! The gardens are a true masterpiece and if you are a fan of Monet’s paintings, the garden is a must visit. You will truly understand how Monet was inspired by visiting it. I have visited the garden of Monet several times already and I keep being blown away by the lovely design and flowers. The gardens are usually open from Spring – Fall, check out my blogpost on the gardens here.

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