74km (46 miles) NW of Paris
For this trip, a lot depends on the weather. If you luck out and the sun is shining, it’s worth the shlep by train or car to bask in the glory of this stunning garden, which bears the artistic stamp of its genius creator, Claude Monet. The painter and his family moved to this tiny town in 1883, and Monet liked it so much he spent the rest of his life here, painting views of the dreamlike garden that he created out of the grassy slope behind his house. Today, the Fondation Claude Monet à Giverny (84 rue Claude Monet, Giverny; www.fondation-monet.com; [tel] 02-32-51-28-21) is open to the public, and for a small fee, you too can wander about the brilliant flower beds, lush bowers, and water-lily ponds that inspired this Impressionist master. Once you are done with the garden, you can sample the bucolic joys of the village, which manages to stay charming despite the seasonal tourist infestation. You can also take in one of the excellent temporary exhibits at the Musée des Impressionismes. On the other hand, if it is raining or truly dreary out, you’ll be better off staying in town and getting your Monet fix at the Musée Marmottan Monet and/or visit the water lilies at the Orangerie.