The highly qualified chauffeur will meet you at the hotel in the morning and show you to a luxurious minivan (Viano or similar). Within two hours of driving, the guide will tell about the role of Rouen in history. This is the city where Joan of Arc was burnt on a bonfire. Starting from that spot, the guide will show you the Medieval city center, and you will walk to the Cathetral of Our Lady of Rouen. This is the pinnacle of Gothic architecture, a splendid example of French medieval constructing traditions, and a frequent object in Monet’s pictures. Its humongous interior is meticulously ornated, and the most stunning thing of all is the rose window made of stained glass. This Cathedral also has a crypt where, accorging to a legend, lies Richard Lionheart’s heart.
After the cathedral, the guide will show you the labyrinthine streets and passageways between the centuries-old houses with wooden frames. The next point of the tour is Gros Horloge, a clock hower with an enormous chiming clock that you can explore from inside, and then, you go to the very top and enjoy and incredible panorama of the city. You will have an opportunity to walk around the place that used to have the old emporium and see the Church of Joan of Arc. Next to impress you is the Palace of Justice and, if there is some time remaining, the Museum of Decorative Art (Beaux Arts) that exhibits many paintings by the most famous painters: Monet, Delacroix, Caravage, Poussin, Rubens, Millet, Corot, and many others.
Then, the guide will recommend a local restaurant to have a lunch at (not included in the price). After the lunch, the driver will take you to Giverny.
The French people consider Giverny “one of the most spectacular villages in France”. It will facinate you with its atmosphere when you enter it. The great artist Claude Monet spent over four decades of his life in this place, which amplifies the impression. The aesthetics and the charm drove him here, immortalising the whole place.
The first waypoint is going to be the local church that was frescoed by the artist. You can visit a small cemetery and pay homage to Monet. Following that, you will be invited to the café Baudy where many painters of that epoch (Willard Metcald, John Sargent, James Whistler, William Bruce, Theodore Robinson and others) used to reside, as well as world-renowned French painters (Cezanne, Rhodin, Renoir). The guide will show you the building of the bar that served as the painters’ workshop during the wintertime. On your way to the house of Monet, you are going to have a look at the Museum of Impressionism in which short-term exhibitions are always displayed.
You are going to skip the line with the guide and explore the famous water garden that was created by the painter over the span of ten years when he moved to Giverny. There is a small creek running through the land, and it provided inspiration for Monet’s famous Japanese gardes created from scratch by the artist as he had seen the ideas for it in printed books. It is very easy to spot the bridge that is present on many of his paintings and is partly shrouded with osiers, bamboo, and pond lilies. The painter used to arrange elements of the scenery before depicting then on canvas. For over two decades, he would draw the very same spot from different angles.
After visiting the water garden, it is time to see the flower garden that is remarkably symmetric, vivid and full of shapes. The shrubberies and garden beds are volumetric owing to the plants’ height gradually changing. Claude Monet was not fond of painstakingly thorough garden-keeping, so he just chose the colours for the flowers and let the patterns of petals evolve by themselves. His house is located on the other end of the garden, and consists of many rooms: dining room, kitchen, bedrooms, living room, and many others.
The tour will continue at Monet’s last studio constructed specifically for the purposed of creating his full-scale paintings of flowers. You will be able to purchase gifts and souvenirs at the shop there.
The return trip includes a ride along the “Route des Cretes” with a breathtaking view of the Seine Valley. Among the last sites on your way back, you will see a tower erected more than 1000 years ago to ward off the Vikings, the Roche Guyon castle where General Rommel’s command unit was located, and Vetheuil, the village where Monet stayed until he moved to Giverny.
This tour is seasonal: April through October.
Tickets to the garden and the house of Monet are included.