If you’re still looking for a pleasant place to spend some time this summer, consider Auvers-sur-Oise, a little village where Vincent Van Gogh lived during the last weeks of his life. A village where he painted a masterpiece each day.
Fans of the artist will recognize the little country church that he painted. Judging by the light, he must have set up his easel very early when he painted the now world-renowned church. Everything in the village is a reminder of Van Gogh’s time there. The alleys and staircases haven’t changed, nor have the wheat fields that he painted without cease at all hours of the day. And let’s not forget the banks of the Oise River. More than 120 years after his arrival at the train station, people still come to immerse themselves in the places he painted.
At Auvers-sur-Oise, van Gogh painted seventy paintings in seventy days. Anything and everything in town became the setting for a painting, even the tiny town hall. During this time, Van Gogh was under the care of Dr. Gachet – whom the artist painted seated at a little scarlet table. His brother, Théo, had decided to engage the specialist in melancholy to treat Vincent. It was an ideal location for the brothers – picturesque with beautiful light and someone to watch over Vincent.
At Auvers, Van Gogh rediscovered the same quality of light as the northern lands of his childhood. You can find the exact crossroads where he painted “Champs de blé aux corbeaux,” a feverish hymn to the beauty, the force, and the freedom of nature. In the evening, he returned to the auberge des Ravoux. For 3.50 francs a day, a mere trifle, Van Gogh received room and board. He died in his tiny room on July 29, 1890, after having shot himself in the stomach. Here as well, nothing has changed.
Since his death, the room has never been used because it was the room of someone who had committed suicide, which was bad luck. All of the other rooms at the inn were modernized with electricity, gas, and running water, but Van Gogh’s is intact. Visitors are moved by the beauty, the genius, and of the immense waste of a life. It’s quite a paradox.
Van Gogh said,”L’art, c’est l’homme, ajouté à la nature” (lar, seh lum, ah-zjoo-tay ah lah natoor) “Art is man added to nature.” Whether you’re a fan of art or nature, there is plenty that appeals in Auvers-sur-Oise.