Hotels not included: 
Hotels not included
  • Impressionist Normandy 2 days Description

    Day 1 

    Giverny is classified by the French as part of the “plus beaux villages de France” (most beautiful villages in France), indeed, you get caught by its charm as soon as you put your foot in it. The fact that Monet lived and worked there 43 years of his life adds to its magic. In fact, it is because of its beauty and picturesque location that he settled there, bringing it out of the shadow forever into the light.

    Your private, licensed driver-guide will pick you up at your hotel in a very comfortable, air-conditioned minivan (Mercedes or similar). On the way to Giverny (the drive lasts about 1 hour), he will give you an introduction to Monet’s life and work.

    You will dive along the picturesque “Route des Crêtes”, you will discover on your way to Giverny the exceptional panorama of the Seine Valley, an ancient watch tower of the 10th century (that was built during the Viking invasion), the village and château of La Roche Guyon (that became the headquarter of general Rommel during WWII) and make a stop in the village of Vétheuil where Monet lived for 3 years before discovering Giverny.

    Upon your arrival in Giverny, you will stop at the local church (that Monet painted several times) that leads to the village graveyard where you will have a close look atMonet’s tomb. A little later, your guide will stop at the former café Baudy, the residence of many American Impressionists (Whistler, Metcalf, Robinson, Mary Cassatt…) and friends of Monet that stayed there when they visited him (Renoir, Rodin, Cezanne..). You will have a look at the barn behind the café that these artists used as a studio in winter. Further down the street, you will pass the Museum of Impressionism that houses excellent temporary exhibitions before arriving to Monet’s house and garden.

    Your guide will enter with you on the side entrance ( no lines) and start your visit at the WATER GARDEN that Monet created 10 years after settling in Giverny on a piece of land neighboring his property and crossed by a small brook, the Ru  . It is inspired by the Japanese gardens that Monet knew from the prints that he collected avidly. You will find the famous Japanese bridge covered with wisteria, weeping willows, a bamboo wood and above all the famousnympheas that bloom all summer long. Monet shaped his subjects in nature there before painting them. He found his inspiration there for more than 20 years.

    Leaving the water garden, you will arrive to the FLOWER GARDEN (called Le Clos Normand) full of perspectives, symmetries and colors. It is divided into flowerbeds where flower clumps of different heights create volume. Monet did not like organized nor constrained gardens. He married flowers according to the harmony of their colors and let them grow freely. At the end of the Flower Gardens you will arrive for a visit to MONET’S HOUSE (BLUE ROOM, FAMILY LIVING ROOM, MONET’S BEDROOM, ALICE’S BEDROOM, DINING ROOM and KITCHEN)

    After leaving Monet’s house, you will finish your visit at his last STUDIO ( that he had built especially to paint the large Water-Lilies Paintings that are at the Orangerie Museum in Paris)  that houses now a gift shop.

    This tour is available from April until the end of October.

    (Entrance tickets to Monet’s house and gardens included).

    After lunch, your guide will drive you to ROUEN, the capital of Upper Normandy that has been developing since the Romans. You will start with a stroll through the old town where you will have a close look at the house of the Exchequer, the 15 C Archbishop Palace, the splendid Renaissance Palace of Justice, the “Grosse Horloge”, Rouen’s most popular monument, a clock from 1527 with its superb belfry topped by a dom. You will stop at the Place du Vieux Marche (Old Market Square0 where Joan of Arc was burnt on a stake, before having a private guided visit of the cathedral Notre Dame de Rouen, one of the most beautiful examples of French Gothic, immortalized over 20 Times by Claude Monet….

    On the way to ROUEN your tour guide will take you to the impressive fortress of CHATEAU GAILLARD, built by the King of England Richard Lion Heart in 1196 to bar the way to Rouen to the King of France.

    During this stop you will have an outstanding view over the Seine Valley.

    (Overnight in Rouen)


    Day 2

    You will leave Rouen heading North West for 1h15 to reach Etretat, city of 1500 people, former fishermen village until the mid 19th century. It is located in a superb site between two of the most famous limestone cliffs of  France : La Falaise d’Aval, with the “Arch” and the “Needle” and la Falaise d’Amont with the chapel Notre Dame de la Garde, Saint patroness of the fishermen, on the top. From there you will have a fabulous view of the city, the bay, the golf course on the top of  La Falaise d’Aval.

    Thanks to the construction in the mid 19th century of roads connecting Etretat to large cities like le Havre, of beautiful mansions named Villas, of the Casino and finally in the 1890’s the railway tourism started to take over the fishing industry.

    Most of all, in Etretat, on the boardwalk, on the cliffs or downtown you will see and feel what artists like Monet, Courbet, Jongkind…were inspired by and why there are so many paintings  of such tiny and beautiful place in major French museums.

    Your next step is Honfleur passing by the city Le Havre where Claude Monet grew up, the last liberated place after DDay in September 12th 1944.


    HONFLEUR, located on the Seine estuary has a holiday feeling all year around. Its character and ambiance have inspired painters, writers and musicians since centuries.

    You will delight in walking around the old dock, the narrow winding streets where the fishing fleet unloads fresh fish and shellfish every day, stopping to admire the slate facades of the old houses.

    After enjoying lunch in one of the typical bistros on the picturesque quayside of the old dock, you will have a closer look at the St Catherine’s church, a rare example in Western Europe constructed entirely of wood with its narrow massive oak belfry covered in chestnut wood.

    Then you will be driven back to Paris

    Extra charge for a pick up and/or a drop off outside Paris

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