A Day With Van Gogh
Updated: Mar 20
Art-loving river cruisers on Paris and Normandy sailings must take the chance to stop at Auberge Ravoux in the heart of Auvers-sur-Oise, just 18 miles from Paris. It was here, on May 20, 1890, that Vincent van Gogh moved into the 75-square-foot Room 5 in the Ravoux Inn for 3,50 francs per day. This final residence of artist Vincent van Gogh sits in the heart of the village and it is here that Van Gogh spent just 70 - though prolific - days painting more than 70 works before his death.
Today, visitors can visit the restored room where Van Gogh lived and died within the auberge (inn). The museum and tourist attraction allows art aficionados to walk in the footsteps of the master and imagine his short time here in Auvers-sur-Oise. Also known as the House of Van Gogh (Maison de Van Gogh), the residence is close to other notable village sites, including the famous church and the twin graves of the Van Gogh brothers.
Van Gogh’s room has been meticulously restored to its original condition, although it remains rather austere, as that is how he preferred it. In fact, the museum plays this up, stating that while there may not be much to see, there is certainly much to feel as you soak up the ambiance of the Dutch master’s short-term home and see the very nails upon which he hung his canvases.
Theo van Gogh was present on July 28 and 29, 1890, which were the painter’s final days. Theo asked the landlords to never rent out the room again, keeping it instead as a haven of peace and a part of the artist’s spiritual universe.
During your visit, stop by the neighboring attic room to watch the “In the Footsteps of Van Gogh” exhibit, which retraces the artist’s time in Auvers-sur Oise through paintings and correspondence.
Mairie de Montévrain
Spend some time in the Ravoux Inn wine shop and restaurants, which maintains its distinctively 19th-century atmosphere. Van Gogh had a table at the back of the room during his time here, where he could sit quietly and call upon his muses. Today, those with a penchant for art and fine food can enjoy conversation, wine and cultural cuisine at one of the ten waxed-oak dining tables or old-fashioned bar.
Van Gogh once wrote to his sister, Willemien, in 1889, “Every day I take the remedy that the incomparable Dickens prescribes against suicide. It consists of a glass of wine, a piece of bread and cheese and a pipe of tobacco.It isn’t complicated, you’ll tell me, [….].” As a guest of the Auberge Ravoux, you can partake of this “remedy” with a charcuterie platter of local meats and cheeses, breads and pastries from a village bakery and a perfectly paired wine from the inn’s well-stocked cellar. Or, take your experience one step further with a private booking at Van Gogh’s Table, when the entire premises will be at your disposal.
If time allows, spend a few hours exploring Auvers-sur-Oise more widely - it’s easy to see how this charming hamlet seduced Van Gogh as well as impressionists Charles-François Daubigny, Paul Cézanne and Camille Pissarro. Stroll through the gardens of the Château d’Auvers, a historic Louis XIII-style building. Admire the famous Eglise d’Auvers - the Notre-Dame-de-l’Assomption - which Van Gogh painted the year of his death and is now located at the Musee d’Orsay. And, finally, see Van Gogh’s final resting place next to his brother Theo’s tomb.
P.S. Can’t get enough art? Learn more about Van Gogh’s contemporaries, including Charles-Francois Daubigny, at the Daubigny Museum and Studio. Visit the artist’s former home and workshop and see works by Chaissac, Chirico, Daumier, and Time, as well as photographs by Bayard and Lartigue.
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