Category Archives: Podcast Episodes

Good Reasons to Take a Tour, Episode 169

Good Reasons to Take a Tour

Trying to decide if you should tour Paris with a group or DIY? We give you lots of things to think about so you can get to the right conclusion for you! We make a lot of promises to our customers and we deliver too! Please take a moment to read our reviews on Trip Advisor and consider joining us in France!

Would you like to tour France with Annie and Elyse? Visit Addicted to France to choose an upcoming tour.
 Episode Highlights with Time Stamps

When Is It Best to take a Tour?

[00:45] In today’s show, Elyse and Annie discuss the advantages of taking a tour vs. DIY. Normally, Join Us in France is all about helping you DIY your trip to France, but today, let’s talk about why DIY isn’t for everybody.

New Segment: A Bite of French History and Culture

[01:02] Introducing a new segment to the show today called A Bite of French History and Culture

The Extra: Scam in Progress

[01:12] The Extra content for email subscribers this week is called Scam in Progress. While leading the October 2017 Paris Tour I ran into a swarm of petition scammers. I had my camera in hand ready for street photography, so I pushed the shutter and got lucky. One of the scammer got in my face about the photo, I invited her to call the police, which of course she wasn’t going to do, and we ended up having a good laugh about it. But to the folks on the tour with me, they didn’t know what was happening at first.  You need to learn to recognize a scam when you see it because they’re all about the same and once you know you’ll never fall prey. I’ll be sending out this extra, complete with the photos, next Sat to email subscribers. If you’re interested in getting the extras, you can sign up right from your phone, read the words that are displayed by your podcast App, or go to Join Us in and look for the Subscribe button.

We’re a Cool Tour Company!

[03:00] You’ve heard me say that Join Us in France is sponsored Patreon and Addicted to France, the tour company that specializes in small group tours in France. Well, right now let us brag about the tour company because it’s pretty cool!

Organizing a Visit to Paris Is NOT Easy

Even if you listen to every episode of the podcast, organizing a visit to Paris isn’t easy. It takes a lot of time to plan, you’ll be unsure about a lot of details and you’ll end up making silly mistakes that we won’t make. Not because we’re geniuses, but because we’ve made those same mistakes before!!!

Elyse and Annie Bring Different Strengths

[03:52} Elyse and I have different strengths. She’s amazing when it comes to art, she’ll show you things you’ve never ever thought of because it takes 30 years of teaching this stuff and incessant curiosity about art history to know this much.

Annie is great at telling the stories, sometimes literary, sometimes long-forgotten anecdotes that were immortalized in paintings and novels. So much has happened in Paris that it doesn’t take a lot of digging to find incredible stories.

Some of the stories are high-brow, some rather lurid, all are entertaining. And French politics, especially when talking about the French RevolutionSSS—yes, there were really 4 of them!—once you start reading, that stuff will keep you up at night. And if you think American politics are crazy, wait until you hear about French politics!

  1. 1789-1799 French Revolution
  2. July Revolution
  3. 1948 Revolution
  4. La Commune (Montmartre, Les Misérables)

You’ll Enjoy It More if You’re Not Exhausted All the Time!

[06:14] Visiting a city and being on our feet for 12 hours a day is not something most of us are used to, and when it’s a city you don’t know, you might walk around in circles and miss all the best stuff just because you can’t take it anymore. What if there is someone telling you, it’s just around the corner, I’ll take you right to it! Then you won’t miss it.

As a newbie, you might also go on all sorts of wild goose chases that won’t enhance the experience much. Travel bloggers have a strange habit of making a big deal out of things that don’t matter that much. Let Elyse and I curate the best for you. We can see what visitors get the most kick out of, we know the right time to go places so the lines are the smallest possible, we will get you to skip the line wherever possible.

But, sadly, there’s always the security lines and we can’t get you to skip those. We’re both a little bit lazy, we look for the easiest and shortest way to everywhere we take you too. You’ll still get lots of steps in no matter what, but we’ll stop before it stops being fun!  Venturing out with a local guide is so much easier and safer than venturing out on your own!

Paris Is Full of New Stimulations

[09:18] Daily life puts us in a rut. Not matter how much we love our lives, after a few months of doing all the same things, we get bored with it. Going to Paris, even for us who live in France but not in Paris, is such a joy! Paris is special. It’s beautiful, it’s relaxing, there are new adventures everywhere you look.

When You Tour of Addicted to France You Get a Photographer

[10:33] I can guarantee that you’ll go home with your head full of memories of wonderful new experiences and you’ll be ready to take on the world again. And, a little plus, and this is something the folks on the last tour asked me to insist on because they enjoyed it so much, when you’re touring with Annie, you’re touring with a photographer who carries around great equipment and can get a good photo in most environments.

I will document every step and send you the pictures. I am a shutter bug no matter what, and by now I know most of the best photo spots in Paris. So, there’s the photography plus too. At the end you’ll have a book of photos that will document the entire tour.

Tour France with Friends!

12:20 I’m pretty sure you like France, even if you’ve never been, otherwise you wouldn’t be listening to this podcast right now. Maybe be love France and you’ve been here already. If you’re a long-time listener, you like our style or you wouldn’t be here. We haven’t met you yet, but we’re pretty sure if you like us, we’re going to like you too. So why don’t you come to France and tour with friends?

We’re pretty good at taking care of our friends and we’d love to meet you. We didn’t mention the great food and wine yet, we’re keeping the big guns for the end. And you know what? We know a lot of good restaurants in Paris. We’re always looking for great value for money because it’s probably what you like to find too.

Good Reasons to Take a Tour, Opera Garnier seen from the top of the Galleries Lafayettes
Opéra Garnier seen from the top of the Galleries Lafayettes

We Know Great Restaurants and Superb Shopping Opportunities

[13:17] We haven’t kept the names of our favorite restaurants a secret, as a matter of fact if you follow the podcast on Facebook, we’ve often recommended our favorite restaurants. But we’ll make the reservations and take you there.

Want some lovely scarves? We’ve got a place. Clothes shopping? Elyse knows the great spots. I dare say we’ll help you feel like you belong with us and you instantly belong in France.

SMALL Is the Name of the Game with Us!

When you go on a tour with Addicted to France you will not say: I am so glad I went on a bus tour with my closest 50 friends and a guide that carries an umbrella! Look, what makes people happy is experiences and human rapport.

And with Annie and Elyse you’re experiencing Paris with friends. Sure, together we’ll see the art, the architecture, you’ll see all the famous sites, but we’ll also share stories, we’ll get to know each other and probably make life-long connections.

Great food, great wine, great company. We think you need this!

How to Reserve Your Spot on Our Tours

Did we convince you that there are good reasons to take a tour? Now check out the details!

[17:00] And to see the details of these marvelous tours we’ve been bragging about visit Addicted to, you can reserve your spot on the May 27th thru June 3rd Paris Tour with a 250€ deposit, refundable at any time for any reason up until a month before it is set to begin.

For this particular tour we’re also offering 3 add-ons:

  1. A 1 day excursion to Giverny that we talked about in episode 167
  2. Another day trip to Versailles to tour the King’s Private Apartments, and I just did that, it is SOOOO worth it!,
  3. And 3 days in Normandy which will include time on June 6th to see the commemorations on D-Day. The details for that excursion are not on the site yet, but I have several people asking about that and they will be made public by next week, please check back.

Thank You

[18:00] Thank you Karen White for tipping your guide by clicking on the Tip Your Guide button on the left side of this site.  Your donation lets me know that I bring valuable information to you and that you want to give back.

Thank you also to the all the patrons who support the show month after month, I want you to know how much I appreciate your continued support. To support the show, go to Patreon. Lunch-Break French is going to go out late this month of October 2017, but it’s coming!

There are other ways you can support the show, to see them neatly listed, visit this area of the site.

And as we approach the holiday season and you will be making Christmas purchases, I appreciate all of you who go to Amazon through Join Us in France. If you don’t know how to do that, look for the Amazon logo on the left. Click on that, it will take you to your Amazon store, and the show gets a small commission for any purchase you make. Lots of people intend to do that, but then they forget, so I’m reminding you and thank you!

Annie’s Personal Update

[19:00] I am going to do NaNoWriMo in November because I need to get serious with writing. I’ve learned so much doing the podcast the last 3 and a half years, I need to complete a book that will summarize the best of Join Us in France. I’ve started many times, I have had a hard time completing the book. So, if you’re doing NaNoWriMo too, reach out to me and we’ll encourage one another!

[20:32] T-Shirt designs

[21:08] Use the phone number 1-801-806-1015 hotel or AirB&B or restaurant that you enjoyed in France.

A Bite of French History

The first-time large numbers of French people were called to the polls to elect their President was in 1848. Not everybody voted, only males for a start, not military, not clergy, not French people who lived abroad, but you know, it was more a more inclusive vote than we had ever had.

On that glorious day of December 1848 where French people got to vote in large number for the first time, who did they elect??? This is not something I was aware of myself until I started to read about the French Revolution in the last few months. But when I realized it, it took my breath away, and I decided that I really need to start sharing some of these golden nuggets of French history with you in its own regular segment each week.

So, let’s review: France went through hell during the French Revolution 1789-1799. The whole idea was to give power to the people, and this first “general” election takes place 50 years AFTER the Revolution.  So, again, I ask you. Who did they elect? Take a wild guess.

Well, a man called Louis-Napoleon Bonaparte won. And not just a little. He won by a lot. He is also known as Napoleon III, one of the many nephews of the original Napoleon I, a man of great ambition who as soon as he was elected made sure he’d be President for life, which means he had to usher in another Empire, now called the Third Empire.

So, give men the vote and they’ll pick charismatic royalty instead of a regular guy. Was it really worth fighting the awful Revolution to get to that result? I think not, but that could just be me.  In the defense of Parisians, it was country folks who voted for Napoleon III in the greatest numbers. They didn’t know the others and he felt like a known quantity.

So, if you’re in the mood to despair about politics in your own country, remember this, the French actually voted in Napoleon III of their own free will in 1848. Popular vote can equal stupid choices.

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Good Reasons to Take a Tour, Visitors in Versailles





Loire Valley Castles You Shouldn’t Skip, Episode 168

What Are Loire Valley Castles You Shouldn’t Skip?

Loire Valley Castles You Shouldn't Skip, Janice and castle

In this episode of the podcast, we answer one big question: What are a few Loire Valley castles you shouldn’t skip? The answer, of course, depends on what you like and who you are with. Janice Chung spent 6 days there in the spring of 2017 and she visited 12 of them on that occasion. But, as a true francophile, this was also her 5th visit to the area, so she’s more qualified than most to give us a unbiased primer on the area and point out gems that are truly worth your time.

Janice recommends staying at various castles instead of going to hotels. This can be surprisingly affordable, and a definite plus for honeymooners. She gives pointers for those visiting the area with children (as a former school principal she knows what works and doesn’t work with kids!) We also talk about her long-time desire to take a hot-air balloon ride over the Loire Valley, and her adventure tasting Loire Valley wines.

Janice is the editor of a wonderful blog about travel to France called France Travel Tips, you should check it out, it’s great.

Would you like to tour France with Annie and Elyse? Visit Addicted to France to choose an upcoming tour.

Related Episodes

Episode 82 (first time in the Loire Valley with kids), Episode 28 (Loire Valley Wines), Episode 166 (how you can visit both the Loire Valley and Normandy) and more, please use the search button!

Recommended in this Episode

La Rocheline in La Chevalerie in La-Croix-en-Tourraine (near Amboise), Château d’Artigny (near Tours),  Château des Tertres  (near Blois), Château de Chissay in Chissay-en-Touraine (mear Chenonceau). Winery at Château de Valmer

Extra Content for Email Subscribers this Week

Getting the best out of your smart phone while in Paris, which includes info on finding free WiFi in Paris and where you can charge your phone in Paris. Subscribe here.

French Tip of the Week

In Paris last week I didn’t run into a single person who wasn’t willing to speak English with us. So what are you to do if you want to practice your French? Try saying this: “pourrions-nous parler français s’il vous plait, j’ai besoin de m’entrainer”.

Places Mentioned in this Episode

Loire River, Cher River, Blois, Tours, Chambord, Chenonceau, Château d’Ussé, Château Villandry, Saumur, Amboise, Le Clos Lucé, Château de Cheverny, Château Beauregard, Château de Valmer.

What We Discuss in this Episode with Time-Stamps

Meet Janice, the Anglo Canadian who Loves France!

[03:26] Janice Chung is from Canada  and a repeat traveler to France. She loves the diversity she finds in France.

The Entire Loire Valley Is a World Unesco Heritage Site

[04:18] The whole Loire Valley is a World Unesco Heritage Site, which means it’s all wonderful, but it also makes it hard to choose where to you should concentrate your time. There is so much history and beauty concentrated along the Loire and Cher rivers that it can leave you puzzled. This episode is meant to help you find out which ones are the two “biggies” and possibly choose a few others depending on your taste also.

Must Go because of History, Architecture, Activities and Proximity to Paris

[05:02] History aside, the architecture of the Loire Valley castles is stunning. The châteaux are beautifully designed, the gardens are lovely, there are lots of activities you can participate in, especially in the summer, and it is really close to Paris to boot!

How to Get to the Loire Valley

[05:28] On this latest trip, Janice and her friend flew into CDG, picked up a car, and drove westward. You could also take the TGV train to Tour right from CDG as was pointed out in Episode 166.

What Towns to Use as Your Base in the Loire Valley?

[05:46] See her recommendations above. Janice chose to use two towns as her base: Blois and Tours. Saumur is also a possibility. It’s best to pick two towns that will work for you. Matt, another guest on the show from Episode 166 loves to stay near Amboise at  La Rocheline in La Chevalerie in La-Croix-en-Tourraine. What matters is that wherever you are you can take easy day trips and don’t spend too long in the car. They stayed for 6 days and visited 12 châteaux total.

Visiting in April vs the Summer

[07:00] It is a fact that some of the lesser known Loire Valley castles can be just as interesting as the super famous ones. They went in April and had spectacular weather. They didn’t have to deal with crowds, but the gardens were not in full bloom. In the summer you’ll get the gardens in full bloom, but you’ll also get the crowds. In the summer you also get more festivals, so you have to pick your poison! Remember that nothing is ever as crowded as the Château of Versailles, even in high season in the Loire Valley.

Rent Bicycles at Chambord

[09:01] Some of the estates of these châteaux are massive, it’s often worth renting bicycles to see the more of the “Domaine de Chambord”.

Loire Valley Castle Nomenclature

[09:28] Some of the names you will encounter may surprise you. Officially it’s not called Château dÁmboise but rather Château Royal d’Amboise. Same with Chinon, it is “Forteresse Royale de Chinon”. A “Résidence Royale” is better than just a château because we have a lot of plain of châteaux in France!

Top of the List Loire Valley Castles

[10:00] Loire Valley Châteaux on everybody’s list would be Château de Chenonceau. This one straddles the river Cher and it is stunningly beautiful as well as has lots of wonderful history. Diane de Poitier was the mistress of Henry II and when he died she had to give it back to Catherine de Medici, but she got another château instead, the one at Chenon sur Loire. We will do episodes specifically concentrating on the history of those castles, this episode is more of an overview.

Audio Guides and Light Shows at Loire Châteaux

[11:27] At most of these châteaux you can rent an audio guide. Sometimes the rental is included in the admission price, sometimes they cost a couple of euros extra, but they are usually worth it. Your mileage may vary, some are engaging and others not so much. They spent 5 hours at Chenonceau. You can take canoe under the arches of Chenonceau.

At night they have a “son-et-lumière” at Chenonceau where they project images on the château to classical music and commentary (which may be in French only and possibly boring if you don’t understand what’s being said). Take the time to check out Trip Advisor reviews on those light shows, some of them have probably come a long way recently.

The Number 1 Château on Everyone’s List Should Be Chenonceau

[14:37] Chenonceau should be on everyone’s list, not just for the architecture and the interior (they try to replicate era tapestries, furniture and such) but the gardens are also stunning. In France, the Revolution did a number on everything. It is very likely that most of these castles were robbed during the Revolution so if you see furnishings they will probably be either replicas or other period pieces, not the originals. Plan on 5 hours, especially if you are going to eat there.

The Number 2 Château on Everyone’s List Should Be Chambord

[15:46] The next château on your list should be Chambord. They also spent 5 hours there and it is the biggest château in the Loire Valley. You can also rent bicycles or do a horse and carriage ride. They have outstanding audio-visual presentations that explain how it was created and the history. Some Disney Castles were modeled after Loire Valley Châteaux but they are so much smaller it is hard not to be blasé if you see both.

Lesser Known but Worth a Visit Château d’Ussé

[17:32] Speaking of Disney, the Château d’Ussé is also worth a visit, especially of the outside. Charles Perrault wrote La Belle au Bois Dormant aka Sleeping Beauty. They try to recreate the story inside the castle with wax figures and mannequins, but they are scary looking. Part of the tour at Ussé take you up into the attic, but it’s very dark up there. This is one that looks glorious from the outside, but you may consider skipping the inside. Maybe tell the story of Sleeping Beauty to your kids while walking around the outside and call it good.

Château Villandry Is also Worth Considering

[19:20] Also probably nicer on the outside than on the inside (but not bad inside by any means) is Château Villandry. This one has magnificent gardens on 3 levels: flowers, vegetable,  water gardens, fruit terraces, all meticulously maintained. They have 10 gardeners that maintain it throughout the year. It is close to Tours.

Should You Visit Loire Valley Castles with Young Children?

[20:28] You have to worry about little kids at those château because they may be bored to death. If you’re just seeing great architecture and gardens, you can be sure the kids won’t like it. But there are some Loire Valley Castles that have festivals in the summer.

Saumur has a whole summer Medieval Festival with jousting, sword fighting, displays. But if you can transform your daughters into princesses and your sons into knights, take them on bike rides along the river, they may love it too. Check out this site (in French) for a list of kid-friendly activities in the Loire Valley. Also be aware that some of the best kid-friendly activities may be only available in French.

Hot-Air Balloon Ride

[22:14] Janice went on a hot-air balloon ride near Amboise. It wasn’t cheap (189€) and everything depends on the weather. You get picked up near Amboise and the flight is about 1 hour and you can ride close to the ground at times. You can see some private châteaux. She liked it, but didn’t love it because they didn’t see some of the most famous châteaux except Amboise that they were close to. There are rides offered near various châteaux, choose the one you want to see most.

Canoeing and Bike Tours

[24:49] Canoeing and Renting Bicycles are also great activities that are a lot cheaper and will appeal to the entire family. The Loire Valley is extremely flat, so it’s a great place to rent a bike and go from château to château. You can do this even if you’re not in top cycling shape. You will see a lot of bike tours in the Loire Valley because it is very conducive to that. We talk about the difference between Loire and Provence Cycling Tours in Episode 149.

Amboise Château

[25:32] Amboise is a really beautiful château, particularly from the outside. It is high up, so you’re looking down at the river, and is wonderful for photographers. This was also Da Vinci’s final home. The Foire d’Amboise takes place the third week-end in April and is a wonderful tie-in to visit the area.

Le Clos Lucé, a Great Place for Kids!

[26:28] When at Amboise, you also need to visit Le Clos Lucé, aka The Leonardo Da Vinci Museum. A great place for adults and kids alike. Clos Lucé is wonderful, it is where they’ve recreated a lot of Da Vinci’s inventions in the place where he lived at the end of his life.  The inventions they installed in the gardens are wonderful, you can crank things and try a lot of them, it’s hands-on. In the summer they have extra demonstrations which makes it extra fun. This one will surprise you by how wonderful it is!

Tintin and the Château de Cheverny

[28:08] Hergé, the author of Tintin comics, modeled his fictional “Château de Moulinsart” (translated as “Marlinspike Hall” in English) on the Château de Cheverny. Beautiful grounds, beautiful château, famous for their hunting dogs. You can see the dog feeding times morning and night. A great château to take kids to, espcially if they like either Tintin or dogs.

Château de Beauregard

[30:25] You don’t hear about Château de Beauregard as much, but it is known for its gallery of hundreds of portraits. They’ve taken 20 or so of the portraits to the grounds and it makes your walk through the grounds more interesting.

Stay at a Château instead of a Hotel

[31:42] If you have the chance, you should stay at a real château instead of a hotel. Janice enjoyed staying at the Château d’Artigny in the city of Montbazon (Check it out, GORGEOUS!!!). Janice has also stayed at the Château des Tertres in Onzain near Chaumont-sur-Loire, beautiful, great breakfast, recently renovated, amazing price. The Château de Chissay in Chissay-en-Touraine (near Chenonceau).

Smaller Châteaux Close at Lunch-Time

[35:08] There are lots of châteaux in the Loire Valley that are not famous, some privately owned, some open to the public, other do not, and some close at lunch-time.

1000 French Châteaux for Sale on any Given Day

[36:34] Owning a French château is an expensive proposition and it is said that there are 1000 French châteaux for sale on any given day. French tax structure at the moment assumes that if you own a “château classé”  (of high historical value) you must be in a high tax bracket, so you get big tax breaks to help you deal with the expense. The consequence of that is that if you are not in a high tax bracket to begin with, you get no help whatsoever until you make enough money. The other problem is that there are strict rule as to how you renovate a historical site, and that makes every little thing expensive.

There is a TV show on the CBC called Escape to the Château and it’s about a couple who buy a castle and renovate it to be rented out for receptions. If you really yearn to do this sort of thing, maybe start with a “maison de maître” which is much smaller than a château.

Wine Making in the Loire Valley: Château de Valmer

[41:34] When traveling to the Loire Valley as a tourist, it’s amazing to see how they built these enormous homes. Some of them make money by making and selling wine, such as the Château de Valmer.  Loire Valley Wines are famous. For example Touraine or Janice’s favorite Vouvray.

Definitely do some wine-tasting while in the Loire Valley, or at the very least, buy some local wines at the grocery store. When you are at a restaurant, ask them if they have a pichet of local wine, you will be surprised both by the quality and the price of those wines!

We’ve Barely Scratched the Surface Here!

[43:10] There are so many châteaux in the Loire Valley that there are several we haven’t mentioned. For instance Blois and Chinon. You need to do some research into the particular attractions you enjoy. One week of châteaux might get you all the way “châteaued-out”.

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Claude Monet and a Visit to Giverny, Episode 167

Claude Monet and a Visit to Giverny

Giverny and Claude Monet, photo of Monet and his long white beard

In today’s episode we take you into the beautiful world of Claude Monet and Giverny. You’ll need to put some effort into getting to Giverny from Paris, but it’s so worth it! And, as we explain in today’s episode, you have several options to get there and all are pretty simple. Giverny is a place of contemplation and that will blow you mind away with an array of colors and shapes that contributed so much to Monet’s art.


You can join us for a tour with Annie and Elyse and Addicted to France. If you can’t, please get your tickets in advance on-line so you can enjoy the day without the line! Whatever you do, do not miss the entrance for those who can skip the line, as we discuss in the episode, it’s too easily done. (See photo at the end of this article.)

Places Mentioned in this Episode

Giverny, Monet’s Gardens at Giverny, Gare Saint-Lazare , Orangerie Museum in Paris, Marmottan Museum in Paris, Vernon-Giverny Train Station

Episode Highlights with Time-Stamps

Giverny Tour with Addicted to France

[02:18] Next time Elyse and Annie will offer a tour of Giverny is going to be on May 26, 2018, you can read about it on Addicted to France and we’re only opening it to the first 6 people who book.

Claude Monet, Prolific and Long-Lived

[03:10] Claude Monet was both a prolific and long-lived painter. He didn’t paint the waterlilies exclusively, but he painted them a lot over his many years!

Giverny Is in Normandy

[04:12] Monet was born in 1840 and he bought the property that became known as Giverny at age 43. Giverny is technically in Normandy.

How Long Does it Take to Go to Giverny from Paris?

[04:56] By car, it takes an hour to an hour and a half from the center of Paris depending on traffi. By train you get on at Gare Saint Lazare to Vernon-Giverny and then you take a shuttle bus that runs every half hour. Or you could take a little tourist train between the Vernon-Giverny train station and Monet’s house. Some websites suggest you could walk it, and probably you could, but why? It’s neither short or pretty. When you take the train, you go along the Seine, which is pretty.

Why Monet Settled at Giverny

[08:33] Monet wanted to get out of the city, he was at an age where he was getting to be well-known, but he wasn’t super famous yet. He wanted to create a space that he designed (with a gardener) so that anywhere he looked he would have something to paint. Everything is organized by color combination.

Flowers Year-Round, Almost

[12:00] They have 12 or more gardeners these days, there are a LOT of flowers and unless you go in the dead of the winter, you will get a feast for the eyes. The part with the lily pads and the willows and the pond are amazing. It’s hard to get a photo of the little green bridge without anybody on it because there are always so many people. Don’t go on a Saturday or Sunday if you can. Monday has fewer visitors typically. Overcast days are even better for artists and photographers, so don’t worry too much about not having perfect weather on the day you visit.

Where to Go if You Bought Your Tickets Ahead of Time

[15:10] When you get to the parking area you have a 10 minute walk through the village (with nice houses, restaurants, etc.) there is a ticket office on your right. There is a sign off to the right for people who have already bought their tickets on-line, you need to turn to the right before you get to the ticket office.

Giverny Is a Full Day Trip from Paris

[17:50] You can spend a whole leisurely day at Giverny. If you rush, you could do it in 2 hours, 4 hours seems like an ideal amount of time to spend there. If you’re into botany, you’ll need more time because you’ll want to pay closer attention to specific plants.

Giverny Was “Une Ferme de Paysan”

[20:00] When Monet rented Giverny, it was 20 hectares and it was a “ferme de paysan” so a farm. Monet quickly started to transform the farm into a flower garden. Giverny became his life’s work, he worked there along with the gardners his whole life.

What You Will Inside the House at Giverny

[21:19] When you go into the house, at first you see the studio room that he used when he was older because he could see into the garden. You see the original furniture in the house, and on the walls you see reproductions of Monet’s work by amateur painters. They don’t look near as good as the original and anybody can tell! Then you see the bedroom, the blue and white kitchen and the very yellow dining room.

Monet Lived a Charmed Life

[23:34] Monet lived a charmed life other than a couple of tragedies (the untimely death of his first wife and the death of one of his children). When he wasn’t painting he entertained his friends. He was a well-centered person. He was very close to all the impressionist painters, close to Alfred SisleyCamille Pissarro, Berthe Morisot who he took under his wing. He was also very close to French Prime Minister Georges Clémenceau.

Giverny as a Place of Pilgrimage

[25:09] Giverny has now become a place of pilgrimage. In part because Monet’s art is so well represented all over the world, but also because he personifies that time period. His legacy has been preserved in part thanks to a lot of American money.

Claude Monet and Georges Clémenceau

[26:29] Claude Monet had the privilege of being best friends with Georges Clémenceau (Président du Conseil) and that’s how he was given the space at the Orangerie to do the lily pads. That’s also how he got a State Funeral. Sadly, Money died before the Orangerie opened with the lily pads. In many ways Monet was an “official” French artist.

Claude Monet, the Conventional Artist

[28:33] Claude Monet was also a conventional Frenchman. He was grounded, not a thrill seeker. He had his wife and his kids and his work and that fulfilled him. Walking through the gardens and sitting on a bench near the ponds at Giverny can be a meditative experience. It became important for other artists to come visit him and he made people come to him at Giverny.

Also Consider Visiting the Marmottan

[31:00] The Marmottan Monet Museum in Paris has a lot of wonderful pieces by Monet, and also well-worth a visit. But Giverny continues to be the place of pilgrimage where people flock to in order to get a feel for his work and legacy.

Should You Stop at the Musée des Impressionismes at Giverny?

[32:00] The Musée des impressionismes in Giverny is located near the gardens is now open and features impressionist and post-impressionist artists. The space itself is lovely, not very big, it is dedicated to other artists who worked at the same time as Monet or were influenced by him. It will take an hour or so to visit and is recommended if you have the time.

How to Schedule Your Day at Giverny

[33:50] Elyse and her sisters took the 8:30 AM train out of Gare Saint-Lazare and took the 5:30 PM train back to Paris. This means they got to Giverny by 10 AM which is about when it opens. There are nice places where you can get some breakfast and lunch as you walk to the entrance.

The Gift Shop at Giverny

[35:40] The gift show at Giverny is pretty big, they have a little of everything, but also garden books and seeds. It’s a great place to bring little souvenirs.

Giverny as a Photographer’s Paradise

[38:00] Giverny is not a place that needs a lot of talking or explaining. It is a place of contemplation. If you want more details on the plants there are books and their website is also very good at giving the names of the plants. It’s a photographer’s paradise and a place that appeals to the senses.

Addicted to France Tour to Giverny

[39:38] The Addicted to France May Tour is going to be happening May 27th thru June 3rd. Before the tour there are two add-ons you can purchase:

  • On May 25th we’ll go to Versailles and will visit the King’s Private Apartments. Then Elyse will guide through the rest of the Château.
  • On May 26th we’ll be going to Giverny.
  • May 27th thru June 3rd is going to be the full Paris Tour that we’ve talked about on the show before.
  • June 4th thru June 7th we’ll be going to Normandy, including the commemoration of D-Day, Mont Saint-Michel and Bayeux

The Extra this Week

[45:54] The Extra this week is the Circular Paris Metro Map

French Tip of the Week

[47:00] French Tip of the Week: “Quel temps de merde !”


Giverny is conducive to reflection and introspection even when it is filled with visitors. We recommend you take your time and make a it a day. You don’t need to be a botanist or a photographer to enjoy it, but if you are, you will totally fall in love with the gorgeous colors and beautiful setting.

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Giverny and Claude Monet where to go once your have your skip the line tickets