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Chasing Claude Monet in Paris (& beyond)

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Monet in Paris | Monet Famous Paintings | Travel Inspiration | Paris Travel | Day Trips from Paris


Claude Monet is one of the most famous painters in the history of art and a leading figure in the Impressionist movement, whose works can be seen in museums around the world. On this post, we are going to follow Monet’s steps and look for his Impressionist art, visiting the most significant addresses in Paris (& beyond) related to his life and artwork.

Monet was Parisian! He was born in 1840 at 45 rue Lafitte (Paris 9), a street that later would become an art gallery street during decades. It was only when he was 5 that he moved to Le Havre (Normandy) with his family. In Normandy Monet met Eugene Boudin, a local landscape artist who introduced him to painting outdoors. Plein air painting would later become the cornerstone of Claude Monet artwork.

In 1859 the painter traveled back to Paris to pursue his arts. In Paris, he met other young painters, who would become friends and later fellow Impressionists. Monet was very active in the City of Lights, especially when the impressionist movement started.



Nadar (1820-1910) was a famous photographer of the XIXth century. Photographic portraits by Nadar are held by many of the great national collections of photographs. Nadar was a friend of Monet and around 1873 he hosted the painter in his photography studio, at 35 Boulevard des Capucines in Paris 2. Monet painted at least one canvas (“Boulevard des Capucines 1873) from there. Nadar’s photography studio is also the place where the first impressionist exhibition was held, in 1874. In this event, Monet exhibited the work « Impression, Sunrise » that marked the beginning of Impressionist art and was to give the group its lasting name.

Today, the building is transformed into a clothes shop but its singular architecture and facade are still worth a shortstop if you are around. Outside, there is an information panel about the history of the building.



During his career, Monet painted many series of canvases using the same subject from different points of view or different lights. In 1877 he made a large series of paintings of Gare Saint Lazare in Paris.

Inaugurated in 1837, Paris Saint Lazare (Paris 8) was the departure point to trendy beach suburbs to spend the weekend. The station’s iron and glass architecture symbolized at that time the industrial progress and the speed. Gare Saint Lazare was immortalized by other artists like Zola (The human beast), Manet (The Railway), Gustave Caillebotte and many more.

Monet in Paris and beyond. Gare Saint Lazare Paris

Monet in Paris and beyond. Claude Monet artwork at Gare Saint Lazare Paris



Between 1876 and 1878 Monet painted six views of Parc Monceau, in Paris 8. Today it is difficult to find the exact point where Monet positioned his easel because the trees and plants have grown or changed. However, it is always pleasant to visit Parc Monceau, especially on a sunny day. Established in the XVIIIth century by the Duke of Orleans, he wanted to create an English garden with fantastic reconstructions of buildings of different ages and continents. Today Parc Monceau is one of the most elegant parks in Paris, surrounded by luxury buildings and sumptuous mansions. The park features many statues, a pond, and a Renaissance archway.

Monet in Paris and beyond. Parc Monceau Paris

Monet in Paris and beyond. Claude Monet artwork at Parc Monceau Paris



Sometimes Monet traveled to find other sources of inspiration. In the early 1890s, we find Monet in Rouen painting a series of works focused on Rouen Cathedral. The different paintings (30) depicted the cathedral in different lights and weather, showing Monet’s fascination with the effects of light.

Rouen, the capital of Upper Normandy, is located by the river Seine at 135 km North-West from Paris. The city has a beautiful and compact historical center, easy to navigate on foot. For this reason and its good connection with the French capital, Rouen is a popular and easy day trip from Paris. Direct trains leave Gare Saint Lazare to Rouen train station hourly for a journey of 1 hr 10 min (22€-35€, one way).

Monet in Paris and beyond. Monet and Rouen Cathedral France

Monet in Paris and beyond. Claude Monet artwork at Rouen Cathedral



Apart from Paris, the painter also lived in other locations more suitable for painting directly in front of nature. Monet moved in 1883 from Paris to Giverny, a place that would serve as a source of great inspiration for the artist and prove to be his final home. By November 1890, Monet was prosperous enough to buy the house which was renting, the surrounding buildings and the land for his garden. The painter dedicated a special attention to the garden. Monet wrote daily instructions to his gardener, precise designs, and layouts for plantings. Despite hiring later seven gardeners, Monet always remained its architect and Monet’s garden appears on many canvasses.

Monet in Paris and beyond. Monet's garden Giverny France. The water lily pond

It took me some time to understand my water lilies . . I cultivated them with no thought of painting them . . One does not fully appreciate a landscape in one day . . And then, suddenly, I had a revelation of the magic of my pond. I took my palette. From this moment, I have had almost no other model  (Claude Monet)

Every year thousands of visitors go from Paris to Giverny to admire the water lily pond that inspired Monet water lilies paintings. However, Monet house and studio are as interesting as the garden and water lilies. For me, it was not about a series of different rooms with the artist’s personal objects. It was a visual experience of different spaces, colors, and materials where Monet left nothing to chance.

Monet in Paris and beyond. Monet house in Giverny France

You can visit Monet’s garden in Giverny on a day trip from Paris. The train goes from Gare Saint Lazare to Vernon train station (2 hrs 5 min) where you can take a shuttle which drops you in front of Monet house. We find the transportation from Paris to Giverny a little bit expensive (15€-23€ train ticket + 5€ bus ticket, one way) so if you are traveling in a group maybe it is more convenient to rent a car for the day or join a tour. Another option, which is becoming very popular, is a bike tour from Paris.

Seine River cruises from Paris to the Normandy coast also stop at Giverny to visit Monet’s house and gardens. Click here to read about historic Normandy on a deluxe Seine River cruise.

READ MORE –  Monet’s Garden in Giverny, a day trip from Paris



Etretat is a small fishing village on the Alabaster Coast in Normandy. The village is famous for its huge towering cliffs painted by Monet. Monet did not hesitate to take the crazy path which descends from the top of the cliffs to its feet with all his equipment to have a better angle. He also used to ignore the storm to go to work. Apart from the cliffs and the beach, Etretat has also a beautiful traditional architecture, many hiking trails, and good fish restaurants. The village can be visited on a day trip from Paris (4hr 5 min by train, 32€-64€ one way) but it is better to spend at least one night there to get the most out of it.

Monet in Paris and beyond. Etretat huge towering cliffs France

Monet in Paris and beyond. Claude Monet artwork at Etretat France



In 1911 Monet began a final series of 8 water lilies paintings commissioned by the Orangerie Museum in Paris 1. He decided to make them on a very large scale, to fill the walls of two special oval rooms. These rooms have the advantage of natural light from the roof and are oriented from west to east, following the course of the sun.

Monet wanted the works to serve as a “haven of peaceful meditation”, a place to forget about the outside world. The end of the First World War in 1918 reinforced his desire to offer beauty to wounded souls.

We like to go to Musée Orangerie when it rains hard outside. For us, the sound of the rain on the roof adds something special to Monet water lilies.

Monet in Paris and beyond. Monet water lilies at Musée Orangerie Paris



Marmottan Monet Museum, located in Paris 16, owns the largest Claude Monet collection in the world. The paintings, coming from Monet’s second son and other private collectors, give the public the opportunity to admire all the significant stages of the painter’s career and follow the evolution of his technique.  Don’t miss Musée Marmottan Monet if you are a serious fan of Claude Monet. Among others, the collection holds the movement’s eponymous painting « Impression, Sunrise ». There are also paintings from his Argenteuil period, some views of Monet in Paris and some water lilies paintings coming from the water lily pond in Giverny.

Monet in Paris and beyond. Monet Impression Sunrise at Musée Marmottan Monet

We hope that you enjoyed our article about Monet in Paris and beyond. If you like Claude Monet and his Impressionist Art, it is essential to visit some of these places in order to better understand the Master, to better seize the origin of his inspiration and to imagine him still alive with us.




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The author of the paintings (Claude Monet) died in 1926, so the pictures showing Monet’s artwork on this article are in the public domain in their country of origin (France) and other countries and areas where the copyright term is the author’s life plus 80 years or less.


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  • Adrenaline Romance
    10/11/2017 at 1:51 am

    We are sticklers of art. We like Monet’s work as well as Van Goh’s. We also love artworks that exhibit neoclassicism and romanticism.

  • nic
    10/06/2017 at 3:25 am

    I remember seeing one of his paintings when I visited Paris with collage, I was almost star struck. Such a cool way to explore further into his inspiration and environment and get to know more behind the paintings.

    • WorldInParis
      10/11/2017 at 7:25 pm

      Glad to know that you were “impressed” by Monet’s artwork during your Paris visit. Not my favorite painter but I won’t deny that his artwork opened a new chapter in Art History

  • Damien McGuigan
    10/05/2017 at 1:40 pm

    I do not know much about Monet but I love how you were able to compare the present day with his original paintings. It’s interesting how some things have changed a lot and others barely at all!

    • WorldInParis
      10/05/2017 at 1:48 pm

      Thanks Damien for your beautiful comment, I really appreciate it! 😉

  • Jennifer
    10/03/2017 at 9:26 pm

    I really like that one of the train station. It’s so different from anything else I’ve ever seen by Monet.

    • WorldInParis
      10/04/2017 at 9:21 am

      Oh, he did many paintings about Gare Saint Lazare. You have to imagine living during that period, they all were fascinated by the Industrialism, iron architecture and new machines. He was not the only one painting that kind of subject . . .

  • Corinne
    10/02/2017 at 1:00 pm

    What an interesting post. I love the idea of photographing Monet’s sights…very cool.

    • WorldInParis
      10/02/2017 at 7:34 pm

      Thanks Corinne! 🙂

  • anto
    10/02/2017 at 8:08 am

    Somehow I always assumed that Monet just lived in Paris. Thanks for the insight on his life, he is well known here in Holland and I loved learned about his life a little more while reading this blog!

    • WorldInParis
      10/02/2017 at 7:35 pm

      He grew up and spent his last years in Normandy but he spent a lot of time in Paris to promote the Impressionism movement

  • Aisha
    10/01/2017 at 4:25 pm

    Wow! This was a creative trip idea. What made you decide to follow in his footsteps to see what inspired him?

    • WorldInParis
      10/02/2017 at 7:36 pm

      I just collected some bits of different past trips to make a single post 😉

  • Linda de Beer
    10/01/2017 at 7:08 am

    I have always loved Monet’s paintings of gardens. They have such a warm, romantic feel to them. Your article gives amazing insight into where he got his inspiration from. Having been to the cathedral in Nyon I can understand why he painted it so many times. The day trip to Monet’s garden in Giverny and the one to Etretat in Normandy would be something I would love to do.

    • WorldInParis
      10/02/2017 at 7:38 pm

      You can visit both locations in a single day if you have your own car but I always recommend to spend at least one night at Etretat to enjoy the sunrise /sunset

  • Lara Dunning
    10/01/2017 at 12:55 am

    I so love Monet. I have a print hanging in one of our bedrooms that I’ve had since a preteen. Thanks for sharing his special painting spots. I would love to see them one of these days.

    • WorldInParis
      10/02/2017 at 7:39 pm

      I also had a print of the water lilies in the dining room many moons ago 🙂

  • Elaine
    09/30/2017 at 5:51 pm

    Monet is my favorite painter. No one else is even close. We have several Monet prints adorning our walls. When we finally travel to northern France, Varangeville, Giverny are on the top of my wish list to see. Thanks for showing the actual sites and his interpretation. I so want to visit the area and explore the museums.

    • WorldInParis
      10/02/2017 at 7:40 pm

      I am sure you will like all the locations when you make it to Northern France 🙂

  • Mei
    09/30/2017 at 12:35 pm

    It might seem like a cliché, but it’s Monet’s paintings what made me want to study Art History back then. I discovered his art when I was 12, and was soon pretty sure that I wanted to become an artist like him. LOL! Now more than 20 years later, I still love Monet (although I did not choose to do my Master degree on his works…). When we still lived in Paris, we went to see all the places in the capital that you’ve mentioned here, but never got to visit Rouen. As for Etretat, I must admit that we’ve always associated it with Maurice Leblanc’s Arsène Lupin, but it’s true that Monet also painted this breathtaking site. Still need to explore it too! Thank you for this lovely post that awakens my love for Monet’s art again. 🙂

    • WorldInParis
      10/02/2017 at 7:41 pm

      Oh, an Art Historian! Hope not have said too many silly things, lol

  • Maxine
    09/30/2017 at 9:19 am

    Such an informative, lots of information. Beautiful photos too. I would love to visit Monet’s garden some day.

    • WorldInParis
      10/02/2017 at 7:41 pm

      I was always lazy about Monet’s garden but it was my biggest (good) surprise . . . so inspiring!