Thursday, April 28, 2011

There Are Places I Remember

Marie Clarie and me after lunch at the Maison de Van Gogh

I always say that without art I would never get to so many remarkable places and meet such a vital cross section of people. 

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 next time.  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, and died.  I needed to go there.  When I told Jean this he was thinking of 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 in this little village, but when we arrived he was ready with a reservation and a guide book.  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 that announce the places where Vincent had painted.

The immortalised Auvers Church
Wandering quaint streets we found as many sights as we could
Marie Claire

To be continued ...

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