|Marie Clarie and me after lunch at the Maison de Van Gogh|
I always say that without art I would never have met such a vital cross section of individuals and also find myself in so many remarkable places the world over
In 2002, Bill and I spent a month in France, a week in Paris and the rest travelling in the south. For me this trip became a Van Gogh pilgrimage as well as a reconnoiter mission, scouting where I could paint the next time we went to France. As luck would have it next time came the following year.
On both visits we were hosted by the Vallets who live just west of Paris. Between these trips I read everything I could about Vincent including an art/cook book called Van Gogh's Table, which I had to own. The Auberge Ravoux is the restored guest house and cafe where the artist lived his last few months. It was where Vincent died. I needed to go there. When I told Jean this he thought I meant Auvers in the south and maintained, rightly so, that it was too far from Paris to go there for lunch. A man who prided himself on being a grand tour guide of France, he had not heard of the cafe, but when we arrived in Paris, he was ready with a reservation and a guide book of Auvers-sur-Oise. On October 4th, 2003, he and Marie Claire provided us with one of the most memorable days of my life.
Lunch was exceptional. After it we visited the cemetery and went on a good long walk about the town looking for the sites where Van Gogh had painted.
|At the graves of Vincent and Theo|
Auvers-sur-Oise is spotted with signs like the one below announcing the sites where Vincent had painted.
|The immortalised Auvers Church|
|Wandering quaint streets we found as many sights as we could|