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A (Possible?) Day Trip from Paris -- Giverny/Rouen

A (Possible?) Day Trip from Paris -- Giverny/Rouen

Old Jun 19, 17, 12:04 pm
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A (Possible?) Day Trip from Paris -- Giverny/Rouen

I will be staying in the center of Paris next month for 9 days with my family. mrs. iapetus and her mother would like to visit the Monet museum in Giverny. They would also like to go to Rouen (I don't recall exactly what my mother-in-law's specific interest is there) afterwards. So, given that I'm not really sure what our travel options are, can some of my fellow FTers help me determine how feasible it is to go to Giverny and Rouen and return to the center of Paris all in a single day?


According to the website for the Monet museum, we can take a train from Saint-Lazare to Giverny. The same line also seems to continue on to Rouen. So that could be a straightforward option.

But I am a little concerned about getting around in Rouen without a car and getting from the train station to the Fondation Claude Monet and back. (In addition to having my mother-in-law with us, the six-year-old iapetus jrs. will be in tow.) So we could always rent a car. That, of course, brings with it all the complications of getting a rental car in central Paris and driving around in the city with it. Another option that I saw is to rent a car at the train station just before Giverny. We could pick one up there, drive to Giverny, continue on to Rouen and drop it off again before continuing back to Paris by train.


I must admit that I am rather skeptical that all of this could/should be done in one day, but my job is merely to investigate and pass the information back along to my wife and mother-in-law. Any advice/thoughts would be greatly appreciated!
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Old Jun 20, 17, 3:36 am
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For simplicity, I would stick with the train which will depart from St Lazare in Paris. Tickets between Paris and Rouen cost between 20€ and 25€ each way. Time en route is just over an hour for most trains. It is possible with some tickets to make same-day, intermediary stops but even if you purchase individual tickets the prices between Paris and Vernon-Giverny are around 10€ and about that between Vernon-Giverny and Rouen so overall costs will not vary greatly either way. I would allow about 45 minutes to travel between Vernon and Rouen.

There is a shuttle at Vernon to Giverny but it´s not that far.

You could do this in one day if you got an early start. The gardens open at 09h30. It would be helpful if you had specifics about what mother would like to do. Rouen is not that big but there would be no point is roaming around without a specific objective.
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Old Jun 20, 17, 9:43 am
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Since your wife and mother-in-law are apparently Monet fans, I'd venture that their main destination in Rouen would be the cathedral, which Monet painted many times in different lighting conditions. It's right in the historic center and is only about a kilometer from the train station.
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Old Jun 20, 17, 12:39 pm
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Originally Posted by Tamino View Post
For simplicity, I would stick with the train which will depart from St Lazare in Paris. Tickets between Paris and Rouen cost between 20€ and 25€ each way. Time en route is just over an hour for most trains. It is possible with some tickets to make same-day, intermediary stops but even if you purchase individual tickets the prices between Paris and Vernon-Giverny are around 10€ and about that between Vernon-Giverny and Rouen so overall costs will not vary greatly either way. I would allow about 45 minutes to travel between Vernon and Rouen.

There is a shuttle at Vernon to Giverny but it´s not that far.
Thanks! That's immensely helpful. Google Maps (not my final search attempt, just the first) wasn't making it clear how practical it would be to do this by train. I'll peruse the SNCF site some.

Originally Posted by Tamino View Post
It would be helpful if you had specifics about what mother would like to do. Rouen is not that big but there would be no point is roaming around without a specific objective.
Point well taken ... which is why I directly asked my mother-in-law. Her sole objective is to see the Monument Juif in the middle of the city.

And now I'm glad that I looked. It appears that one can only access the monument by guided tour on Tuesdays at 3:00pm. The fact that the tours appear to be two hours in duration may give mrs. iapetus pause, taking the attention span of the iapetus jrs. into account. Hmmm ... it's certainly worth discussing.

Originally Posted by Giggleswick View Post
Since your wife and mother-in-law are apparently Monet fans, I'd venture that their main destination in Rouen would be the cathedral, which Monet painted many times in different lighting conditions. It's right in the historic center and is only about a kilometer from the train station.
That would definitely be a nice add-on to our time in Rouen.


Sounds like the plan would be:
  1. visit the Monet museum in Vernon/Giverny in the morning
  2. continue on to Rouen
  3. explore Rouen and have lunch
  4. tour the Monument Juif
  5. dine in Rouen
  6. return to Paris (late!).

Are there any obvious flaws or improvements on that? Any other suggestions for #3 (we'd almost certainly visit the cathedral) would be appreciated!
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Old Jun 20, 17, 12:57 pm
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It's also open the last Friday of each month. I'm not sure if the 15h00 time applies to that bit as well as to Tuesdays "from January to December" (are there some other Tuesdays I don't know about?).
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Old Jun 20, 17, 1:05 pm
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Originally Posted by ajGoes View Post
It's also open the last Friday of each month. I'm not sure if the 15h00 time applies to that bit as well as to Tuesdays "from January to December" (are there some other Tuesdays I don't know about?).
Yeah, I saw that. Thanks for pointing it out. We won't be in Europe on that Friday; so it'll have to be Tuesday.

And I'm not wrong in telling my mother-in-law that tours are in French only, right? I'll have to confirm, but I'm pretty certain that this is correct.
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Old Jun 20, 17, 1:17 pm
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The Rouen site you linked to says the "visit" is only in French. You might want to call the number given and ask.

Also, you meet in front of the Tourism Office ten minutes before the beginning of the visit. The office is in the courthouse (the "Palace of Justice") and you will have to show identification to get in.
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Old Jun 20, 17, 5:19 pm
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We took the bus at the Vernon train station. Tell them to go immediately to the gardens since they will be going early. They tend to get very crowded so they may be able to enjoy them first thing and get some pictures on the bridge. When you walk out of Monet's house onto rue Claude Monet, take a right and walk down a beautiful little country lane. There was a delightful small hotel there that serves delicious crepes and other things. It was called La Musadiere. They just must make sure they don't miss the bus back to the train station.

Rouen is a nice town. It has a nice pedestrian area with half timbered houses and a street market. I'm not sure what day the street market is but it would probably be closed by the time they got there. They do have a little tourist train that takes tourists around the town but it is in French. I haven't been there in a while so I don't know if that's still around.

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Old Jun 21, 17, 11:44 am
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Originally Posted by ajGoes View Post
The Rouen site you linked to says the "visit" is only in French. You might want to call the number given and ask.
Yeah, that's probably a good idea. I wonder how likely it is that our guide will speak some English. In the worst case scenario, I'll just translate for my mother-in-law and my family.

Originally Posted by ajGoes View Post
The office is in the courthouse (the "Palace of Justice") and ...
That sounds pretty funny when you translate it literally! I'd almost expect to see a French Aquaman, Superman and Wonder Woman burst out the front door.


Originally Posted by b1513 View Post
We took the bus at the Vernon train station. Tell them to go immediately to the gardens since they will be going early. They tend to get very crowded so they may be able to enjoy them first thing and get some pictures on the bridge. When you walk out of Monet's house onto rue Claude Monet, take a right and walk down a beautiful little country lane. There was a delightful small hotel there that serves delicious crepes and other things. It was called La Musadiere. They just must make sure they don't miss the bus back to the train station.
La Musardiere, I'll have to remember that recommendation. Thanks! And I appreciate you mentioning the bus. I looked it up, and it seems like there's very limited bus service; we'll have to plan around that. Departures from the main station in Vernon only leave once every two hours. Failing that, I guess we could catch a cab.
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Old Jun 21, 17, 7:22 pm
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Originally Posted by iapetus View Post
Yeah, that's probably a good idea. I wonder how likely it is that our guide will speak some English. In the worst case scenario, I'll just translate for my mother-in-law and my family.

That sounds pretty funny when you translate it literally! I'd almost expect to see a French Aquaman, Superman and Wonder Woman burst out the front door.


La Musardiere, I'll have to remember that recommendation. Thanks! And I appreciate you mentioning the bus. I looked it up, and it seems like there's very limited bus service; we'll have to plan around that. Departures from the main station in Vernon only leave once every two hours. Failing that, I guess we could catch a cab.
There's a bus that leaves about 5-10minutes after the train arrives and that will get you to Giverny right at the open in the morning. It's getting back to the train where you'll have to be careful not to miss the bus. Taxis are not that easy to find coming out of Giverny.

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Old Jun 21, 17, 7:34 pm
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I've done Giverny twice by car and I wouldn't want to try with the train and shuttle. It's a tiny village and the house with the lily ponds is no that close to the station, which has infrequent service. Try to avoid the weekend crowds.

Isn't Rouen the cathedral and Jean d'Arc?

I like to visit another little village on the way to Giverny that has the Vincent van Gogh house (now a museum) and some scenes from this famous paintings. There's also a village that has a rather nice historic small castle.

There are other places of interest in the same direction, mainly along the main road going east along the river, that were scenes for "Impressionists along the Seine" (an important art museum show that IIRC was curated by the Corcoran in DC) . Think of some of the famous paintings of families spending weekends having picnics and excursions out of the city along the river.

Last edited by MSPeconomist; Jul 9, 17 at 5:43 am
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Old Jun 21, 17, 9:14 pm
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You or your wife probably know this already but if you are Monet fans then you must visit http://www.musee-orangerie.fr/en
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Old Jun 22, 17, 2:06 am
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Art history nerd alert!

If you want a few buildings to aim for right in Rouen's historic center in addition to the cathedral, here are some suggestions:
Église Saint Maclou--Right behind the cathedral. Flamboyant Gothic with a rather unusual and highly decorated curved west façade.
Aître Saint Maclou--Diagonally behind the church of the same name. Originally a medieval ossuary, so the building's courtyard walls have macabre carvings of things like skulls and coffins.
Palais de Justice--Another Flamboyant Gothic façade. It's near the Gros Horloge, which is kind of a symbol of the city. (Oh, I just noticed that this building is mentioned above in another context.)

That's all I can think of right now, but the streets in that area are good for strolling. Also, the Musée des Beaux-Arts has some very nice paintings, just in case you haven't already had your fill (or more than your fill) of museums in Paris.
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Old Jun 22, 17, 11:02 am
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Originally Posted by b1513 View Post
There's a bus that leaves about 5-10minutes after the train arrives and that will get you to Giverny right at the open in the morning. It's getting back to the train where you'll have to be careful not to miss the bus.
Ah, got it. Buses are timed to the trains so that it's easy in one direction; not so much in the other. I will check the return schedule, too. Thanks!

Originally Posted by MSPeconomist View Post
I've done Giverny twice by car and I wouldn't want to try with the train and shuttle. It's a tiny village and ...
Thanks for all of the recommendations! But this is where we have to make a decision between renting a car and just sticking to trains. If we do go by car (and I can see some upside -- as well as downside -- to doing so), those are some excellent ideas! But I suspect that my wife and mother-in-law will prefer to do this by train. We'll see!

Originally Posted by keisari View Post
You or your wife probably know this already but if you are Monet fans then you must visit http://www.musee-orangerie.fr/en
Oh, yes, I'm sure that this is already part of the plan.

Originally Posted by Giggleswick View Post
Art history nerd alert!

If you want a few buildings to aim for ...
Thanks! I have many art history friends; so I appreciate the suggestions. It sounds like entertaining ourselves in Rouen won't be hard at all.
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Old Jun 22, 17, 9:34 pm
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I visited Giverny on a particularly busy day a few years ago. Despite my hatred of crowds Monet's house and the gardens stand out as probably the best visit I've ever had in France.

I'm no great photographer, but with a tiny bit of patience I managed to get some great pictures of and from the bridge with no people in them. I guess for those of us who grew up enjoying Monet's work there's likely to be a spiritual quality to the place.

Thanks to the OP for this thread, it's brought back so many wonderful memories. I hope you'll come back to this thread and share your impressions.
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