The costs given are estimates and usually are higher than shown.
Take the train and then bike to Giverny and the Le musée des impressionnismes (formerly American Museum of Art)
Going in September, an added advantage:
In September, the blackberries are ripening and the hazelnuts are falling from the tree.
We chose the bike route to get from Vernon’s train station to Giverny. We had to cross the Seine River and following a footpath, along which we found the berries and nuts.
From the Gare de Vernon train station, you can take either the bus, a taxi, rent a bike, or walk the three-mile path.
Getting to Vernon
The train journey begins at Gare Saint-Lazare. The total travel time (between 1 hour and 1 1/2 hours) varies according to the number of stops along the way. Check this SNCF/Transilien Web page for more Giverny information.
The train company, SNCF, offers a brochure** at their counter called “Discover Claude Monet Foundation at Giverny by Train” (Découvrez la fondation Claude Monet à Giverny en train) available in English and in French.
They issue the same brochure each year during the opening times of the museum between April 1 and October 31 — the prices do change, however.
**Contents of the SNCF/Giverny handout: dates, times, telephone number for the Foundation Claude Monet, SNCF tarifs, bus/shuttle timetable and tarifs, taxi information, entry fees, basic train schedules and bus schedules (bus is coordinated with the train arrivals and departures) and basic information about the Monet home.
When you check the SNCF timetable , it will give you total travel times from your starting point, in between points to the final stop. The 8 a.m. departure and the 6 p.m. return are the most popular. They also have the shortest travel times. The train round trip costs about 25 euros.
The cost for renting a bike is about 12 euros per day/per person. If you have your own bikes, you can take them with you on the train in designated cars.
You could also opt for renting a car for the day or for 24 hours and that would cost about 100 euros.
We bought our train tickets at Gare Saint-Lazare the day of our trip. It is possible to buy them in advance at the train station either from the ticket counter or at one of the yellow kiosks in the platform waiting area of the train station or through the internet.
The SNCF office is at the far end of the platforms. The platform flat screen panels will display the stops of the train; so look for Vernon. Be sure to validate (composter) your ticket before entering the train.
Eventually we saw the Seine; picture perfect with small yachts docked along grass-lined shores, someone fishing from a square shape dock.
This scene was in vast contrast to the industry before and after this scenery. The trip to Vernon is not very scenic. But there is a lot of tranquility and scenery (medieval buildings, flowers, locals) to come on your journey between Vernon and Giverny.
What to expect when you arrive
Upon reaching the exit of the train station, you might notice that people rush across the street to the café/bar to rent a bike. They run en masse, grab a bike and take off. Perhaps they have heard horror stories about trying to secure a bike.
In the meantime, we sauntered across the small street as a man brought out more bikes from the warehouse. We turned in an ID, took a photocopied map and tried out a couple of the bikes. The barman brought out our locks and we moseyed off.
The bike route
Once across the Seine look for the signs pointing out the Giverny museums, turn right at the pharmacy as you are facing the church.
The route to Giverny is about 5 km (3 miles) away. The path is straight for the most part through Vernon and the path to Giverny is flat.
Vernon is a medieval city with a few things to see from the outside if you go on a Sunday. On other days of the week, you can visit their tourist office or museum. Giverny seems more like a neighborhood.
Sunday is a very quiet day for a visit. Everything is moving at a slow pace. The weather was good, not very warm when we went, and no rain. Be sure to take a walk through the gardens of the American Art Museum; their flowers and those of the Monet gardens. The flowers are in bloom even in September. The ride back to Vernon and the train station is very relaxing in September. The bike traffic is minimal at this time of the year.
Dropping the bikes periodically, we plucked and searched for the little treasures of blackberries and hazelnuts that we had spotted on our way to Giverny.
It is hard to imagine what this adventure would be like in the height of the tourist season. The peace and quiet of the experience might not be the same. The bike route – map at the bar .
Exit Gare de Vernon, cross the street.
Stay on the main road through town, cross the bridge, ride mid-way around the round-about and before you reach the church you will turn right on to the Côte Sainte-Catherine (it runs parallel to the main road). The path is behind the houses.
Rent a bike This following information comes from the Association Giverney Web site
You may rent a bike at : The two coffee shops in front of Vernon’s train station : - “Bar-Restaurant du Chemin de Fer” 1 place de la Gare, Vernon +33 232 21 16 01 -
Café “Les Amis de Monet” place de la Gare ,Vernon +33 232 51 55 16
A cycle shop in Vernon hires bikes :
- Cyclo News – 7 cours du marché aux chevaux – Vernon (near the hospital 800 m from the station) tel (0) 2 32 21 24 08
Open from Tuesday to Saturday from 8:30 to 19:30 Fare : 12.20 euros/ person a day, 7.62 euros half a day + guarantee 150 euros. Reduced fares for 3 bikes or more : 7,62 euros / person a day.