Claude Monet's House and Garden#6 in Best Things To Do in Normandy
Who doesn't love water lilies, haystacks and gardens? Claude Monet, one of the world's most famous impressionists, lived and painted many of these subjects in his home in Giverny. Today, Monet fans can tour his excellently preserved home, studio and gardens. Among the highlights are the water garden (home to his famous water lilies) and the artist's house (especially the kitchen and the blue sitting room), which has been meticulously restored.
Recent visitors raved about the house and gardens, but many expressed disappointment with the crowds. If you want to avoid the onslaught of visitors, heed the advice of reviewers and visit right when the attraction opens to avoid the tour buses that descend in the afternoon. Others suggested visiting the lily ponds first and saving your house visit until the end.
The house and gardens are located in Giverny. Entrance costs 9.50 euros (or approximately $10.50) for adults and 5.50 euros (around $6) for kids 7 and older; children 6 and younger can enter for free. Closed in winter, this home is open to visit between 9:30 a.m. and 6 p.m., late March through November. For more information, visit the website.
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#1 D-Day Beaches
World War II's successful Operation Overlord took place on the coast of France. Although there were heavy Allied casualties, this invasion turned the tide in the war and helped lead to the fall of Nazi Germany. Today this piece of coastline, which includes Sword, Juno, Gold, Omaha and Utah beaches, is collectively known as the D-Day Beaches.
Visitors can tour the approximately 50-mile stretch of sand and pop by a number of museums, memorials and cemeteries that are spread out alongside the coastline either with a tour or on their own. If you're driving yourself, start in the town of Arromanches, which hosts two museums that help provide context for the battle sites. The American Cemetery in Colleville-sur-Mer and the Pointe-du-Hoc bomb craters are also especially moving. If you'd rather let someone else do the driving, recent visitors recommend going with a tour guide to fully appreciate the area's historic importance and receive a comprehensive overview. If you're visiting in June, you'll likely come across several ceremonies and reenactment groups commemorating the anniversary. Thanks to Normandy's unpredictable weather, you'll want to dress in layers (no matter the time of your visit) and bring rain gear, according to past visitors.
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