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This tour starts at Giverny, a tiny village in Normandy located just an hour northwest of Paris, yet known worldwide as home to the father of Impressionism: Claude Monet.

Today, almost every building in the village has some link to Monet, making all of Giverny a tribute to this celebrated 19th century art movement. You’ll begin with a tour of the house, including the artist’s studio and bedroom, each with breathtaking views of the extensive flower gardens. Throughout the house you’ll notice how inspiration is carried inside from the gardens, using a unique color scheme. The tour of the grounds includes the unforgettable lily ponds, complete with rowing boats, singing bullfrogs and painted Janapese inspired bridges. Spending time admiring the roots of Impressionism provides a renewed understanding of Monet‘s paintings. You’ll leave feeling moved to paint, re-decorate your home or at the very least, to plant a flower garden.

From Giverny the tour follows the valley of the Seine River toward the capital of Upper Normandy: Rouen. Here, Claude Monet also left his mark, particularly in his numerous renditions of the imposing Gothic cathedral in whose crypt is buried the heart of Richard the Lionhearted. The Rue du Gros Horloge, a charming Medieval pedestrian artery, leads from the cathedral down to the old Market square: the site of the infamous burning of Joan of Arc. Rouen is filled with half -timbered buildings leaning askew, apparently holding each other up, but clearly supporting the vivid history of the favorite city of the Dukes of Normandy. A walking tour of the historic center of Rouen will conclude a day focusing on art, history and legend.