Updated on 19 November 2020
Reading time: 3 minutes
Combine your fascination for art with your love of the great outdoors on a two-wheeled adventure to Giverny. This picturesque village in the Seine Valley is famously known for being where Claude Monet, the Master of Impressionism, lived from 1883 until his death in 1926. Today the Seine Valley is one of the most cycle-friendly places in Normandy and exploring it by bike provides a wonderful day out, with Giverny the perfect pit-stop.
Giverny and Impressionism
Giverny is one of the most popular villages in Normandy, made famous around the world by the works of the painter Claude Monet, who lived there from 1883 to 1926. To fully appreciate the charm of the village, visit the Fondation Monet to experience the artist’s house and gardens with your own eyes. You’ll probably get a feeling of déja vu, just like walking into a painting like his famous water lilies. Pay further tribute to the master by visiting his grave at the Church of Sainte-Radegonde just up the road and, get your fix of Impressionist paintings with a visit to the Musée des Impressionnismes, which is labelled accueil vélo (‘cyclists welcome’). In keeping with its colourful history, the Restaurant Baudy is a true institution in the village, known to be the meeting spot of many famous artists such as Renoir and Boudin. Giverny also boasts a few culinary masters, such as Michelin-starred chef David Gallienne, who owns the spectacular restaurant Le Jardin des Plumes.
Easy to get to
Giverny is located on the 430km Seine à Vélo cycle route that links Paris to Honfleur, Deauville and Le Havre through a mixture of paths and quiet country lanes. The quickest way to get there is via Vernon and along the banks of the River Seine. Vernon is easily reached by train from Rouen and Paris. Leaving Vernon, cross the Clémenceau bridge towards Giverny. At the end of the bridge, on the left, enjoy the view over the River Seine and the old mill and half-timbered house which sits on the remains of the 12th-century medieval bridge that juts out over the river.
Follow the signs
Perfect for all ages and abilities, this 20-minute cycle route is well signposted and offers beautiful scenery and easy cycling on relatively flat terrain. When you get to Giverny, lock your bike to the wooden rails. In peak season, feel free to ask at the tourist office at the entrance of the village where you should leave your bike.
After you have visited Giverny, continue your journey along the Epte river which crosses Giverny until you reach the Avenue Verte cycle route which runs all the way from London to Paris (15km / one hour), enjoying a stop in the town of Gisors with its castle, passing through Saint-Clair-sur-Epte where the treaty of the foundation of the Duchy of Normandy was signed.
Tips before you set out
Bring water and wear a helmet and hi-vis vest so you can be easily seen. Ideally, pack a repair kit in case you encounter any technical issues with your bike. Don’t forget to check the weather before you head off, as rain is quite common in Normandy!