Giverny sits on the “Right Bank” of the River Seine. The village lies 80km (50 miles) from Paris, west and slightly north, on the border between the province of Normandy and the Ile-de-France (it is officially in the département of Eure, in the région of Haute-Normandie).
A settlement has existed in Giverny since neolithic times and a monument uncovered attests to this fact. Archeological finds have included tombs dating from Gallo-Roman times and to the earlier 1st and 2nd centuries AD. The town was known in ancient deeds as “Warnacum”. The cultivation of grapes has been an occupation of the inhabitants of Giverny since Merovingian times. The village church dates from the Middle Ages and is built partially in the Romanesque style, though additions have since been made. It is dedicated to Saint Radegonde. The village has remained a small rural setting with a modest population (numbering around 300 in 1883 when Monet discovered it) and has since seen a boom in tourism since the restoration of Monet’s house and gardens.
The village of Giverny was noticed by Claude Monet while looking out the window of the train he was on. He made up his mind to move there and rented a house and the area surrounding it. In 1890 he had enough money to buy the house and land outright and set out to create the magnificent gardens he wanted to paint. Some of his most famous paintings, such as his water lily and Japanese bridge paintings, were of his garden in Giverny. The artist lived in Giverny from 1883 until his death in 1926. He and many members of his family are interred in the village cemetery.
In recent years Monet’s house and gardens have been restored and have become a popular tourist attraction (the Foundation Claude Monet), particularly in the summer when the flowers are in bloom.