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Saturday, August 25, 2012

[Auberge Ravoux] Van Gogh's last residence in Auvers-sur-Oise

As you might have guessed,
we are on vacation.
We've been in France for a week.
Three days with our family friends of which posting will come very soon,
and three days in Bretagne, before we arrived in Paris for our second week of vacation.
It has been six years I've missed France~
And, finally!! I am here.
I had this grand idea of posting a daily excursion in France.
I'm not even joking.
Seriously and honestly, I was trying to post my journey every night,
but we were with friends until night~
(So much to catch up the past 6 years)
And the internet at the hotel where we stayed in Cancale, Bretagne, was, for sure, not the fastest internet at all.
(It took me a couple of minutes to open a website!)
Now, as we settled in the apartment we rented for a week~
and I have a glass of a lovely Morey-St-Denis :)
We rented a nice apartment with a beautiful view of the heart of Paris.
It's a good time to start the first of many posts about our 2012 summer trip to France.
Let's start from Auvers-sur-Oise.
We stayed at Maffliers located 30 km North of Paris, for the first three nights. There were many great places to visit nearby, including the Chateau de Chantilly, and the inn in Auvers-sur-Oise, Auberge Ravoux, where
where Vincent Van Gogh, a Dutch post-impressionist artist, spent the last three months of his life and produced more than a few dozen paintings there.
(View from the inn, Auberge Ravoux)
We went to see the latter one.
I've been to Vincent Van Gogh Museum in Amsterdam and to the places he had been in Arles,
but it felt special to visit the town and the room Van Gogh terminated his life of 37 years.
He started painting in his late twenties and completing many of his best-known works during the last two years of his life. Van Gogh produced more than 2,100 artworks, consisting of 860 oil paintings and more than 1,300 watercolors, drawings, sketches and prints, which means that he did finish that much work in just over 10 years.
Wikipedia tells a very detailed story about Van Gogh:
There has been much debate about van Gogh's illness and its effect on his work. There are some 30 different diagnoses that include schizophrenia and bipolar disorder which might have caused him to suicide, although there exists an alternative theory that he was shot by someone else.
On 27 July 1890, aged 37, van Gogh shot himself in the chest with a revolver. However, Where he was when he shot himself is not known. Apparently, the bullet didn't damage internal organs so that he was able to walk back to his room at l'Auberge Ravoux. Two physicians who attended him weren't capable of performing surgery to remove the bullet. His brother rushed to Auvers-sur-Oise to be with Van Gogh in the following morning. As the result of untreated infection in the wound, Vincent Van Gogh died in the evening, 29 hours after he shot himself, with his brother by his bedside.
We went to the "office de Tourisme" first to get a map of the spots Van Gogh painted.
It was just across from the entrance of the "Auberge"
Disappointingly, we were not allowed to take the photos inside.
Only the guided tour was available.
This was the photo of the staircase to the Van Gogh's room, which I took before I was told not to take photos. :(
"Maison de Van Gogh" promised that they would send the photos of the room by email, and they kept the promise, but in pdf form.
Well, Van Gogh's attic room was tiny, maybe 8' x 8', i.e. 64 square feet.
This is the photo from the "Maison de Van Gogh"
You think they didn't show much. But, believe me, the room is not much more than what you see here in the photo.
Vincent paid 3.50 francs a day, equivalent of 10 euros, including three meals at the restaurant on the first floor, that still operates today. So it's not surprising that his room has not much space. It was the cheapest room he could find. He was not allowed to paint in his room. Maybe it was why most of his painting of the last three months of his life were
sceneries of natural world.
All the furnitures including bed and chairs were thrown out in the beginning of 20th century. Therefore, there was absolute nothing left in his tiny room.
The next room to once Van Gogh's room was set as the replica of Van Gogh's room.
A small iron bed, small basin with water jar, and a chest.
It's too bad that they forbid taking photos.
After the Auberge de Ravoux,
we visited some recognizable spots.
Let's start from "L'escalier", the fameuse staircase.
I don't know why, but Mr. D and I were obsessed with this staircase Vincent painted.
We had searched hard to find out where this staircase was located, but not successful.
So, that was the first question I asked when I stepped into the office de tourisme.
And the answer was so simple!
It was located at the end of the 50 meters uphill from the Auberge.
You can't see the red-roofed house in the painting since the trees have grown so much.
And the townhall.
The building was just across the auberge.
You see, Vincent didn't go too far.
"L'eglise d'Auvers"
The church.
And the church was still there, with the same allure.

Then we visited the cemetery Vincent was resting in peace, to pay "hommage" to the great artist.
The cemetery was at the top of the village.
Did I tell you that I loved visiting cemeteries?
I really do.
30 March 1853 – 29 July 1890
He was only 37 years old when he passed away. Too young to die...
He is there with his brother Theo who was his soulmate.
I hope Vincent enjoys this peaceful view from where he rests.

We are glad we went there and see Vincent's final footsteps.

Vincent Van Gogh and Auvers-sur-Oise


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