The Vincent Van Gogh trail in Provence and Paris, France (Part IV: Auvers-sur-Oise)

/, museums, travel, Van Gogh/The Vincent Van Gogh trail in Provence and Paris, France (Part IV: Auvers-sur-Oise)

The Vincent Van Gogh trail in Provence and Paris, France (Part IV: Auvers-sur-Oise)

33 min read

The Ultimate Guide to the Van Gogh Trail in Provence and Paris, France

  • Part I: Arles (here)
  • Part II: Saint-Rémy-de-Provence (Saint-Paul-de-Mausole asylum) (here)  
  • Part III: Paris (The Louvre, Musée d’Orsay and Montmartre)  (here)
  • Part IV: Auvers-sur-Oise (this)

In this post (warning: it’s super long!) :

  • IVa: Gare d’Auvers-sur-Oise (Train station)
  • IVb: Statue de/of Charles François Daubigny
  • IVc: Eglise Notre Dame de l’Assomption (‘L’eglise d’Auvers’ / ‘Church at Auvers’)
  • IVd: Cimetière d’Auvers-sur-Oise (Cemetery) – Theo and Vincent Van Gogh’s tombs
  • IVe: ‘Champ de blé aux corbeaux’ / ‘Wheatfields with Crows’
  • IVf: Tourism Office / Vincent Van Gogh statue
  • IVg: La Mairie d’Auvers-sur-Oise (Town Hall)
  • IVh: Auberge Ravoux / La Maison de Van Gogh
  • IVi: Musée Daubigny (Museum)
  • IVj: ‘L’escalier d’Auvers’ / ‘ Steps of Auvers’
  • IVk: L’atelier de Daubigny (House/Studio/Museum)
  • IVl: Château d’Auvers-sur-Oise (Castle)
  • IVm: ‘Portrait du Docteur Gachet’ / La Maison du Docteur Gachet (House/Museum)

… In Paris I took the Transilien suburban train from Gare du Nord to Auvers-sur-Oise (Auvers on the Oise river, pronounced Oh-vair-syure-wahz).

This was an impromptu trip. My aunt and I would be staying 7 days in Paris and during this time I had planned a trip to visit the Louvre and the Musée d’Orsay (which were her main reasons for going to Paris). I had also planned to do 2 Disney-themed photoshoots: ‘The Hunchback of Notre Dame’ at the Notre Dame Cathedral and ‘Ratatouille’ outside the real-life Parisian restaurant it was based upon, La Tour d’Argent. I had also planned a trip to go to the Panthéon, since the photos I took during my last visit there were on a laptop that got stolen 🙁 and I would working for them to take photos and share them on my social media, and the same for the Musée de Montmartre. Apart from these things I still had a good few days free to do whatever I wanted…

I also read that Vincent Van Gogh had spent some time in a small village called Auvers-sur-Oise on the outskirts of Paris and it was here, sadly, that he died (apparently by suicide although it has never been proven). My aunt didn’t want to go with me, preferring to stay in Paris and visit another museum (I suggested the Musée de l’Orangerie to her and she loved it). This was by far one of the most unplanned yet meaningful trips I ever made. Most people who visit Paris will never visit Auvers. It had never crossed my mind to do so until this very moment while I was in Paris and doing last minute research on Van Gogh‘s life.

I didn’t know what I’d be getting myself in for.. but I enjoyed my previous daytrip to the charming UNESCO heritage listed Provins immensely that I was quite excited to take another daytrip from Paris! Amazingly, unlike other Parisian daytrip locations such as Versailles, Giverny and Paris Disneyland in Marne-la-Vallée it was pretty empty. Sure, there was a small handful of tourists there but you largely have the town almost all to yourself! Even in the peak summer period. It was awesome! In fact, the coolest thing was I really did get to trace Vincent‘s footsteps. From the moment I stepped off the train and arrived in the gare (station) I was filled with wonderment and happiness… Van Gogh was truly a celebrity in this tiny little town.

And just like him I was a stranger in a new (small) town in a foreign country… If you’re a die-hard Vincent Van Gogh fan you really have to visit this town as this town is all about him! The locals have done such a good job commemorating him in a beautiful and tasteful way…

Make sure you get here early though as there is a lot of walking to do and a lot to see. A lot. At first I didn’t think I was going to make it especially since it was during the heat of summer and I was carrying my big tripod… but I survived. The tourism office is very helpful and give you a map with opening times and prices for the major attractions. You can also visit the church in his painting The Church at Auvers (L’Église d’Auvers-sur-Oise) and the cemetery where Vincent and Theo are buried for free, and many other sites with an entry fee…

As usual when I travel, I don’t plan every single thing in advance and just wandered about the town visiting the sites in any order.. the only thing you have to keep in mind is the closing hours of the attractions/monuments and make sure you leave yourself enough time to see everything before they close.

Auvers-sur-Oise

Vincent Van Gogh Trail Paris Gare d'Auvers-sur-Oise France Chamelle travel blog

Van Gogh trail Gare d'Auvers-sur-Oise Chamelle Travel photo blog

Vincent Van Gogh Trail Paris Gare d'Auvers-sur-Oise France Chamelle travel blog

Gare d’Auvers-sur-Oise

I arrived at the small train station and immediately I was struck with Van Gogh-ness all around! I loved it and it made me so happy! In May 2008, a local artist, François Laval, had brightened up the dark pedestrian underpass with these bright and cheery murals..

Vincent Van Gogh Trail Paris Auvers-sur-Oise France Chamelle travel blog

Vincent Van Gogh Trail Paris Auvers-sur-Oise France Chamelle travel blog

As I walked out of the station and in an easterly direction I found another beautiful mural made by him (in April 2012) dedicated to Van Gogh and the Gare d’Auvers-sur-Oise train station… I guess he must be one of Vincent‘s biggest fans!

Vincent Van Gogh Trail Paris Auvers-sur-Oise France Chamelle travel blog

Vincent Van Gogh Trail Paris Auvers-sur-Oise France Chamelle travel blog

Van Gogh Jardin de Daubigny's Garden black cat 1890 Auvers sur Oise

‘Le Jardin de Daubigny’ / ‘Daubigny’s Garden’

Wandering around on the main road I came across this location of Van Gogh‘s painting ‘Le Jardin de Daubigny‘ (‘Daubigny’s Garden‘), painted in July 1890. I also had a sneak peak at the entrance of the garden but unfortunately it’s not open to the public. I just love this painting! It’s not very clear in the plaque so I’ve added a better pic. As you’ll see in the plaque, there is no.24 which means there are a LOT of real-life locations which you can visit.. however if you are walking you won’t really have the time to see them all in one day as some are quite far and spread out…

Vincent Van Gogh Trail Paris Auvers-sur-Oise France Chamelle travel blog

Statue de/of Charles François Daubigny

As I mentioned above I didn’t really have a plan and decided to visit the cemetery first as I hate backtracking so I decided to visit the town from an east to west direction. Along the way I came across a statue of Monsieur Daubigny. Charles François Daubigny was also a painter, and like Van Gogh, he had also lived and painted (albeit much earlier) and died in Auvers-sur-Oise (in 1878). He painted during the art movement before impressionism mostly during the 1850s-1870s. He is an important figure in France’s art history and is buried in ParisPère Lachaise cemetery. The street the statue is on is even named after him, Rue Daubigny.

Van Gogh looked up to Daubigny but it’s funny because Van Gogh never painted him, but painted his garden and his cat (above). I didn’t know much about him before the trip but after having visited Auvers it made me want to read and find out more! That’s what travelling does to me… it makes me even more curious about this wonderful world of ours, its history and the people in it.

Vincent Van Gogh Trail Paris Auvers-sur-Oise France Chamelle travel blog

Vincent Van Gogh Trail Paris Auvers-sur-Oise France Eglise notre dame Chamelle travel blog

Vincent Van Gogh Trail Paris Auvers-sur-Oise France Chamelle travel blog

Vincent Van Gogh Trail Paris Auvers-sur-Oise France Chamelle travel blog

Vincent Van Gogh Trail Paris Auvers-sur-Oise France Chamelle travel blog

Eglise Notre Dame de l’Assomption (‘L’eglise d’Auvers’ / ‘Church at Auvers’)

Before arriving at the cemetery I passed another important site, the church that Van Gogh painted.  After having visited so many sites in Auvers and looking at his paintings I noticed his has an interesting take on perspective and angles. They are not quite realistic and somewhat imaginary, but that’s what adds to the charm of his work, I think.

I wanted to visit the inside of the church but was worried I would run out of time (which I almost did)…

The Eglise Notre Dame de l’Assomption is a Roman gothic church was built between 1137-1227 and is a monument historique (historical monument).

Vincent Van Gogh Trail Paris Auvers-sur-Oise France Chamelle travel blog

Vincent Van Gogh Trail Paris Auvers-sur-Oise France Chamelle travel blog

Vincent Van Gogh Trail Paris Auvers-sur-Oise France Chamelle travel blog

Vincent Van Gogh Trail Paris Auvers-sur-Oise France Chamelle travel blog

Vincent Van Gogh Trail Paris Auvers-sur-Oise France Chamelle travel blog

Vincent Van Gogh Trail Paris Auvers-sur-Oise France Chamelle travel blog

Cimetière d’Auvers-sur-Oise (Cemetery) – Theo and Vincent Van Gogh’s tombs

After what seemed like forever I finally I arrived at the cemetery and was overcome with a sense of peace and tranquility… Little did I know (until I was researching for this blogpost) that this cemetery receives an average of 250,000 visitors a year and is the most visited cemetery in France after the Père Lachaise in Paris. It seems I’m not the Van Gogh fan making her pilgrimage here… (Apparently the cemetery and church are in urgent need of repair due to their age and the increasing number of visitors. You can make a donation here).

Vincent died on 29 July 1890 and was buried in the Auvers-sur-Oise cemetery the next day. Theo, Vincent‘s younger brother and biggest and most loyal fan and supporter, died sadly only 6 months later (in Utrecht, Netherlands). In 1914, his widow, Johanna Bonger, made the loving gesture of having him reinterred in the same cemetery as his brother.

I felt super emotional while I was here at the cemetery but after having read more about Vincent (and Theo)’s lives just before I wrote this blogpost, I feel even more emotional while looking at this photo again. They had the most beautiful, close brotherly bond that nothing could ever separate them and I find it so beautiful they are buried right next to each other so they can be together forever…

There are also a lot of other artists, engravers and creative people buried in this cemetery and some have really crazy, over the top decorations!

Vincent Van Gogh Trail Paris Auvers-sur-Oise France Chamelle travel blog

Vincent Van Gogh Trail Paris Auvers-sur-Oise France Chamelle travel blog

Vincent Van Gogh Trail Paris Auvers-sur-Oise France Chamelle travel blog

Vincent Van Gogh Trail Paris Auvers-sur-Oise France Chamelle travel blog

‘Champ de blé aux corbeaux’ / ‘Wheatfields with Crows’

Along the way to the cemetery I saw what looked like a really long path and I wondered where it led to but I ignored it… after I visited the cemetery I stumbled upon a huge wheatfield (remember, that I did not have any official map on me at this time as I had not visited the tourism office yet)… Immediately I was awe-struck by this amazing field and it was here where Vincent did one of his famous paintings!

It’s amazing how Vincent can make ‘nothing’ look like something. It’s just an ordinary flat wheatfield without any outstanding features and yet, he manages to use his strange perspective and angles and bright colours and big brushstrokes to create a masterpiece…

Afterwards, I wondered how to get out of the field (it was enormous)! I used my intuition to lead me back to the main path… and looking back, I realised it was the same mysterious path I had passed on my left when walking to the cemetery!

Two things happened while I was taking my ‘selfie’ in the wheatfield with a tripod. Later on, a middle-aged couple walked towards me and the man (husband) told me he had seen me photographing myself in the field and he thought it was so beautiful that he took some pics of me, and he even showed them to me on his camera! I didn’t know whether to find that creepy or flattering but anyway… The second thing was that I seemed to have an extreme allergic reaction to all that wheat (that came up to my thighs) that my legs were still itching 3 weeks later! The strange thing was that I had taken a photo in a wheatfield before and don’t recall that happening but that time I had worn jeans…

Vincent Van Gogh Trail Paris Auvers-sur-Oise France Chamelle travel blog
Vincent Van Gogh Trail Paris Auvers-sur-Oise France Chamelle travel blog

Tourism Office / Vincent Van Gogh statue

By now, all this walking had made me extremely hungry and I hadn’t had lunch yet. As I was travelling alone I wasn’t in the mood for a sit down lunch so I wanted something quick and I couldn’t really see anything resembling a restaurant OR a takeaway shop. I found my way to the tourism office who advised me to go to Carrefour, which is a supermarket not far from the train station.

With my sandwich in tow, I headed back to the nice garden (now named Parc Van Gogh) in front of the tourism office where I then came across this huge statue of Vincent Van Gogh, created by Russian sculptor Ossip Zadkine in 1961.

I also came across these Vincent ‘stones’ on the ground which you could follow… (there are the similar ones for Cezanne in Aix-en-Provence).

Vincent Van Gogh Trail Paris Auvers-sur-Oise France Chamelle travel blog

Vincent Van Gogh Trail Paris Auvers-sur-Oise France Chamelle travel blog

Vincent Van Gogh Trail Paris Auvers-sur-Oise France Chamelle travel blog

Mairie d’Auvers-sur-Oise (Town Hall)

The Town Hall (Mairie/Hotel de Ville) d’Auvers-sur-Oise sits directly across the road from the Auberge Ravoux where Vincent stayed, and it too became one of his subjects. I always love seeing the town halls in France. They are usually (one of) the most beautiful or interesting buildings in each city/village.

Vincent Van Gogh Trail Paris Auvers-sur-Oise France Chamelle travel blog Auberge Ravoux

Vincent Van Gogh Trail Paris Auvers-sur-Oise France Chamelle travel blog auberge ravoux

Vincent Van Gogh Trail Paris Auvers-sur-Oise France Chamelle travel blog auberge ravoux

(I set up my tripod and timer across the road (in front of the town hall) and then ran across the road to take this pic above!)

Vincent Van Gogh Trail Paris Auvers-sur-Oise France Chamelle travel blog auberge ravoux

Vincent Van Gogh Trail Paris Auvers-sur-Oise France Chamelle travel blog auberge ravoux

Vincent Van Gogh Trail Paris Auvers-sur-Oise France Chamelle travel blog auberge ravoux

Vincent Van Gogh Trail Paris Auvers-sur-Oise France Chamelle travel blog auberge ravoux

Vincent Van Gogh Trail Paris Auvers-sur-Oise France Chamelle travel blog

Vincent Van Gogh Trail Paris Auvers-sur-Oise France Chamelle travel blog auberge ravoux

‘Un jour ou un autre je crois que je trouverai (un) moyen de faire une exposition à moi dans un café.’   — Vincent

(‘One day or another, I believe that I’ll find a way to have my own exhibition in a cafe.’   — Vincent)

Vincent Van Gogh Trail Paris Auvers-sur-Oise France Chamelle travel blog

Auberge Ravoux / La Maison de Van Gogh

Finally, I arrived at the Auberge Ravoux. If you’re short on time there are two places you must see in Auvers and those are the cemetery and this hostel where Vincent stayed (and died 🙁  ). Vincent lived here during the last 70 days of his life, from 20 May to 29 July 1890. It is here where he became friends with the Ravoux and where he painted the 13 year-old daughter of the owner, Adeline Ravoux.

Check the times of the tours… Get their early so you have time to buy the tickets and read the plaques about his life. Here you can see his (tiny) room, but you are not allowed to photograph it. After you view his room (and the room next door) there is a 13min video screening.  There is also a gift store with lots of books about him (in multiple languages) and prints.

I just love that they have preserved this building and it looks more or less exactly the same as it did during Vincent‘s era in 1890.

Vincent Van Gogh Trail Paris Auvers-sur-Oise France Chamelle travel blog

Vincent Van Gogh Trail Paris Auvers-sur-Oise France Chamelle travel blog

Musée Daubigny (Museum)

I was curious about this museum but I decided not to go in. If you’re a Daubigny or art fan it might be worth a visit. But photos are not allowed here either.

Vincent Van Gogh Trail Paris Auvers-sur-Oise France Chamelle travel blog

Vincent Van Gogh Trail Paris Auvers-sur-Oise France Chamelle travel blog

‘L’escalier d’Auvers’ / ‘ Steps of Auvers’

On the same street you’ll find the painting location of L’escalier d’Auvers’ (‘ Steps of Auvers’). Again, it’s incredible how he is able to make something so boring and mundane look so interesting!

Vincent Van Gogh Trail Paris Auvers-sur-Oise France Chamelle travel blog

Vincent Van Gogh Trail Paris Auvers-sur-Oise France Chamelle travel blog

L’atelier de Daubigny (Studio/museum)

I really really wanted to go in here. From the photos the interiors looked amazing and I’m a huge fan of architecture and interiors… but again, they didn’t allow photos. I ummed and erred but couldn’t justify the cost (and time it would take) where I couldn’t get a keepsake in the end (ie photos) so I decided to skip it, but it looked more interesting to me than Musée Daubigny. The gardens are also beautiful.

Chateau d'Auvers-sur-Oise Castle France travel blog

(Photo: Gilles Fey)

Château d’Auvers-sur-Oise (Castle)

If you’ve been following me on Instagram you’ll know that I’m crazy about castles. I passed the castle and thought I could get a quick peek (even if it was just the outside/façade) but unfortunately it was closed for renovations.

Vincent Van Gogh Trail Paris Auvers-sur-Oise France Chamelle travel blog

Vincent Van Gogh Trail Paris Auvers-sur-Oise France Chamelle travel blog

Vincent Van Gogh Trail Paris Auvers-sur-Oise France Chamelle travel blog

Vincent Van Gogh Trail Paris Auvers-sur-Oise France Chamelle travel blog

After I got to the castle I had to make a quick decision. Do I go to Maison (House) of Docteur Gachet or not? Keep in mind I had to also get back to the station in time to catch a train back Paris before everything closed and before dark. It was a long walk but I’m so glad I went! It was one of the highlights of my trip to Auvers by far. As I mentioned, in the other buildings/monuments you’re not allowed to take photos and this is one of the few where you’re allowed to. I got to see yet another house from this era, which reminded me a bit of Monet’s house) as well as the stunning gardens where Van Gogh took inspiration for some of his paintings.

Vincent Van Gogh Trail Paris Auvers-sur-Oise France Chamelle travel blog

Vincent Van Gogh Trail Paris Auvers-sur-Oise France Chamelle travel blog

Vincent Van Gogh Trail Paris Auvers-sur-Oise France Chamelle travel blog

Vincent Van Gogh Trail Paris Auvers-sur-Oise France Chamelle travel blog

It was recommend by Theo that Vincent could go stay with Docteur Paul Gachet in Auvers (that was one of the reasons he moved to Auvers), who could not only be his friend, but be a doctor to help treat him and also introduce him to the art community. He was not only a doctor but a big art enthusiast and amateur artist. He knew many contemporary artists, including Edouard Manet, Claude Monet, Auguste Renoir and Paul Cézanne, and collected their work.

Vincent Van Gogh Docteur Doctor Paul Gachet Auvers-sur-Oise travel blog

‘Portrait du Docteur Gachet’ (‘Portrait of Dr Gachet’), June 1890 (currently displayed in the Musée d’Orsay)

Vincent Van Gogh Marguerite Gachet Jardin Garden Auvers-sur-Oise travel blog

‘Marguerite Gachet dans son jardin’ (‘Marguerite Gachet in the Garden’), June 1890 (currently displayed in the Musée d’Orsay)

Now, from everything I’ve read about Van Gogh‘s life this Dr Gachet sounds a bit like a shady character. He claims he couldn’t host Vincent despite having this huge house and according to Vincent (in his letters to Theo), Paul was even madder than he was! (“First of all, he is sicker than I am, I think, or shall we say just as much“). It seemed like Paul was aware that Vincent had an extraordinary talent and instead of teaching him (as he claimed) he was actually learning from Vincent… In the years after Vincent‘s death many paintings were found in Dr Gachet‘s home where people could not tell whether or not they were Vincent‘s (gifted to him) or whether they were replicas of Vincent‘s work painted by Paul

Many experts claim that both Paul and his son (also named) Paul were both ‘copyists’. After (father) Paul died, (son) Paul and his sister Marguerite kept their works hidden away for decades until they were eventually acquired by the Musée d’Orsay and the Van Gogh Museum in Amsterdam following Marguerite‘s death.

The mystery deepens…

Despite Paul‘s eccentricities Vincent and him were pretty good friends and he painted both Paul and his daughter Marguerite. Some say that Vincent and Marguerite had a crush on each other and when Paul realised this he did everything he could to try to keep them apart.

Vincent Van Gogh Trail Paris Auvers-sur-Oise France Chamelle travel blog
Vincent Van Gogh Trail Paris Auvers-sur-Oise France Chamelle travel blog

I’ve hope you’ve enjoyed reading all four parts of this Van Gogh post as much as I have enjoyed creating it… and if you’re a big Vincent Van Gogh fan like I am, I hope you get to visit some or all of these places one day! 🙂

Recommended Reading/Watching

‘Loving Vincent’ film

While I was compiling all the information for these blogposts, I watched the film Loving Vincent. I just loved the concept of this film. It is the first fully painted animated film, and it was partially funded via Kickstarter. It took Dorota Kobiela and Hugh Welchman 6 years to create this amazing film. I first heard about it in May or so and wanted to see it as soon as it came out, which was early November here in Australia.. and boy oh boy it didn’t disappoint! I also like that it leads you to make your own conclusions about what really happened to him…

Van Gogh's Ear Bernadette Murphy book

‘Van Gogh’s Ear’ book – Bernadette Murphy

Interestingly, I came across this book totally by accident. Like many good things in life, I stumbled upon this book when I wasn’t even looking for such a thing! I was browsing Dymocks (Australian bookstore chain) with a good friend of mine soon after I came back to Australia in September and there it was staring at me from the bookshelf… I was intrigued by the title and barely even read the blurb on the back.. I decided (and my friend convinced me) to buy it right then and there. It sat on my bookshelf for a long time because I wasn’t in the mood to read a book and I was too busy with organising my new life in Melbourne and moving house… Finally, when we got settled in our new place I managed to read the book. And it was so good I managed to finish it in just a few short days. I couldn’t put it down. Bernadette is a first time author who has researched her little heart out to the depths of the earth to find out everything she possibly could about Van Gogh‘s life, especially his time in Arles (the period where he cut off his ear).

This is the book I would have loved to write had I the time and the resources. I absolutely love researching. Of course I don’t think I could have ever done it in which case Bernadette has done such an incredible job! Reading her book is like reading her diary about all the research she undertook and at the same time reading a mystery novel. It really is full of intrigue and thanks to her I could imagine what life in Arles was like over a century ago. She not only goes into the depths of why she thinks he cut off his ear but also dispels many (negative) myths about Vincent. I can’t even begin to describe how good it is. If you are a Van Gogh fan you must read it!

This book was monumental in helping me understand not just Vincent‘s life but his personality as well.

Like both Vincent and Bernadette, I have also been a foreigner/stranger (the French word for ‘foreigner’ is actually the same word as ‘stranger’, etranger) and a loner in a small French town (the first town I lived in only had a population of 12,000). On one had it’s an exhilarating and exciting feeling where everything is fresh and new, but on the other hand, you feel totally out of place like a fish out of water, every day feeling really lost and lonely and so I could relate to both their worlds… I have a great deal of empathy for Vincent as I believe that many aspects of our personalities are similar. My Myers Briggs (MBTI) type is INFP, and most people seem to think that Vincent is also an INFP which stands for Introversion – INtuition – Feeling – Perception. Many creative/artistic types have this type, but as a percentage of the whole population it’s one of the rarest types with only about 4% of people having it.

While I was reading this book having so many thoughts going through my head the thought also occurred to me that nobody ever really talks about Vincent as a writer. This is something that Bernadette and probably other Van Gogh researchers never even touched upon. From reading his letters to his brother Theo (there were over 800), in my opinion Vincent was also a gifted writer who amazingly was able to articulate his thoughts so clearly in French despite never having spoken French in his early years and not having moved to France until he was 33. Also, his penmanship was beautiful and I have unofficially studied graphology (study of handwriting) and his writing does not show any signs of him being a ‘madman’ as many people called him.

Vincent was amazed by the landscapes of the south as they were so different to what he saw growing up in the Netherlands. I relate to Vincent so much as I have also taken many solo cross-country train journeys across France and also been amazed by the stunning landscapes of this magnificent country, particularly of the south. Like him, I’m also a ‘documenter’. By painting everything around him, all the places he lived, his ‘selfies’ and portraits of his friends and neighbours, I believe it was like a visual diary for him, just like his letters to his brother Theo were like a written diary for him.

I pretty much did exactly the same thing except with photographs instead of artworks. I also kept many blogs and diaries and wrote many emails to those close to me about my thoughts and feelings during my 7 years stint France and Switzerland

Many people have asked me why I like to take photos so much and I can’t really explain it. There is this inner ‘drive’ or ‘force’ compelling me to capture everything I see, the world in all its beauty. I’m sure Vincent had the exact same feeling. Many people can’t understand why I take photos all the time… what is the point they wonder? Can’t I just remember it in my head? I’m sure that the people back in the 1880s thought the exact same thing about Vincent. But if he never painted those amazing masterpieces we would not be witnesses today of his brilliant talent, and we would also not know anything about his life including what he looked like as an adult. Do you realise there are no photos of him as an adult? If he never painted any self-portraits how would we even know what he looked like? As Bernadette explains in her book, ‘The Yellow House‘ that he lived in in Arles was destroyed in the war. There are almost no records or photos of this building. If he had never painted his room we would have never known what it looked like…  Do creatives like us do it solely to preserve memories or..?

Anyway, I’m thankful for Vincent‘s existence, even if he was never alive during my lifetime…  for he has touched me in so many ways I cannot even begin to explain…

If Vincent has touched you as much as he has me, watch this scene from ‘Vincent and the Doctor‘ (Doctor Who – Series 5 Episode 10)… and bring the tissues…

“…He transformed the pain of his tormented life into ecstatic beauty. Pain is easy to portray, but to use your passion and pain to portray the ecstasy and joy and magnificence of our world, Noone had ever done it done it before… To my mind that, strange, wild man who roamed the fields of Provence was not only the world’s greatest artist, but also one of the greatest men who ever lived…” 

and I’ll leave with this quote of Vincent Van Gogh‘s…

“What am I in the eyes of most people — a nonentity, an eccentric, or an unpleasant person — somebody who has no position in society and will never have; in short, the lowest of the low. All right, then — even if that were absolutely true, then I should one day like to show by my work what such an eccentric, such a nobody, has in his heart. That is my ambition, based less on resentment than on love in spite of everything, based more on a feeling of serenity than on passion. Though I am often in the depths of misery, there is still calmness, pure harmony and music inside me. I see paintings or drawings in the poorest cottages, in the dirtiest corners. And my mind is driven towards these things with an irresistible momentum…”

GO – HOW TO GET AROUND AUVERS-SUR-OISE

Auvers-sur-Oise (pronounced Oh-vair syure wahz) is located 27km (17 miles) NW of Paris. It is in the region of Ile de France (island of France), the department of Val-d’Oise and the arrondissement of Pontoise.

Getting to Auvers-sur-Oise by car

There are plenty of car hire agencies (Avis, Hertz, Europcar, Sixt) near the major train stations (Gare du Nord, Gare de Lyon, Gare Montparnasse, Gare de l’Est, etc) and the two major airports (Charles de Gaulle Roissy and Orly) but please check opening and closing times. If you need an automatic car or special supplies such as a baby/child seat, GPS, etc, I would book these in advance. I didn’t drive so I have no idea of the conditions though.

Getting to Auvers-sur-Oise by taxi

You could take a taxi from Paris and it would cost approximately 60-100 euros one way, however, you might have problems getting one back.

Van Gogh trail Paris Gare du Nord to Auvers-su-Oise RER train rail travel blog

Van Gogh trail Paris Gare du Nord to Auvers-su-Oise RER train rail travel blog

(the screens show the next 2 trains so you can see their frequency)

Van Gogh trail Paris Gare du Nord to Auvers-su-Oise RER train rail travel blog

Getting to Auvers-sur-Oise from Paris by Transilien rail

Transilien (pronounced tron-silly-en): This is the suburban rail and the cheapest (and also most relaxing) way of getting to the suburbs/villages around Paris. It is similar to the RER (pronounced air-err-air) but owned by SNCF who operate the TGV high-speed long distance trains in France. As you’ll be travelling out of the city centre (metro) area, the tickets are pricier, so the best way of doing it is getting a Navigo weekly pass. Unfortunately, you can only start these on a Monday though. For €21.25 for 7 days you have unlimited transport within the metro area and outside the metro area. Even if you’re only in Paris for 4-5 days it may still be worthwhile getting this depending on where you’ll be going. You’ll need to bring a passport sized photo and need to purchase these in advance at a ticket office though. The card itself costs 5€. You cannot buy them online or at a ticket machine. They are reusable too so if you plan on going to Paris again in the future keep it and just top it up again.

As you can see from the above map you can either go from Gare du Nord (pronounced Gar due Nor, North station) to Persan Beaumont (Pair-song Boh-mon), or Pontoise (Pon-twah-zz), before changing to Auvers, or you can go to Valmondois (pronounced Val-mon-dwah) like I did, which is the quickest and easiest… but it depends on the timetable/scheduling.

I’ve caught the RER a few times to different places and every time the trains look totally different. Many are really old, dirty and disgusting but this Transilien train was brand new, funky and colourful with helpful screens telling and showing me all the stops so there was no way I could get lost.

* The reason I’ve given you a pronunciation guide is because if you try to ask someone for help and and read/pronounce the place names the English-speaking way it is likely that noone will understand you. You can check this site Forvo for more pronunciation tips.

Vincent Van Gogh Trail Paris Auvers-sur-Oise France Chamelle travel blog

When should we visit Auvers-sur-Oise?

You can read my Paris post for indepth suggestions. Of course you can visit all year round (but avoid January-March when most things are closed) but the best are the warmer months of course, around May-September. I visited in July and it was sunny and warm.

How long should we spend in Auvers-sur-Oise?

I only did a daytrip and I imagine it would be the same for most people. It’s perfect for a daytrip as it isn’t too far from Paris. I took a whole day however, if you’re not a huge fan and are just merely interested, you could just spend 2 hours here looking at only the cemetery and the Auberge Ravoux.

Vincent Van Gogh

(‘Plain near Auvers’, oil on canvas, July 1890)

STAY

I did not stay in Auvers-sur-Oise (I stayed in Paris) but if you are keen on staying nearby you can have a look at Airbnb.

Want to try it?  Get 25-30 euros off your first Airbnb rental when you use my coupon code!

Airbnb voucher 25 euros off accommodation

Vincent Van Gogh Wheatfields with Crows Auvers-sur-Oise France painting art

(‘Wheatfields with Crows’, oil on canvas, July 1890)

SEE

Tourism Office / Parc Van Gogh (Vincent Van Gogh statue)

Address: 38 Rue du Général de Gaulle, 95430 Auvers-sur-Oise, France

Telephone: +33 (0)1 30 36 71 81

Hours: Monday Closed,  Tuesday to Saturday 10am–4:30pm, Sunday 10am–1pm, 2–4:30pm

Admission: Free

Site: http://www.tourisme-auverssuroise.fr/

L’Eglise Notre Dame de l’Assomption (Church)

Address: Place de l’Église 95430 Auvers-sur-Oise, France

Telephone: +33 (0)1 30 36 71 19

Hours: Open every day 9.30am-7.00pm

Mass: Sunday 11.00, Tuesday and Thursday 6.45pm, Friday 8.45am.

Admission: Free

Site: https://paroisses-pontoise.fr/locations/dame-dauvers-oise/

Mairie d’Auvers-sur-Oise (Town Hall)

Address: Rue du Général de Gaulle, 95430 Auvers-sur-Oise, France

Telephone: +33 (0)1 30 36 70 30

Hours: Monday 2–7pm, Tuesday and Wednesday 8:30am–12pm, 1:30–5pm,  Thursday 8:30am–12pm, Friday 8:30am–12pm, 1:30–5pm, Saturday 8:30am–12pm, Sunday Closed

Auberge Ravoux / La Maison de Van Gogh

Address: 52 Rue du Général de Gaulle, 95430 Auvers-sur-Oise, France

Telephone: +33 (0)1 30 36 60 60

Hours: 1 March – 28 October, Wednesday – Sunday, 10.00am – 6.00pm (last visite 5.30). The formal visit lasts 30 minutes.

Café Hours: Lunch: Wednesday-Sunday : 12-2.45pm,   Dinner: Friday and Saturday only: 7.30-9.00pm

Admission: 6€  adults / Concession: 4€, Free for kids under 12.

Site: http://www.louvre.fr/en/

—–

Musée Daubigny (Museum)

Address: 8 Rue de la Sansonne, 95430 Auvers-sur-Oise, France

Telephone: +33 (0)1 30 36 80 20

Hours:  Monday Closed, Tuesday – Friday 2–5:30pm, Saturday – Sunday 10:30am–12:30pm, 2–5:30pm

Admission: 5€  adults / 2€ Concession / Free: Under 18 (and also during free museum day)

Site: https://museedaubigny.com/

L’atelier de Daubigny (House/Studio/Museum)

Address: 61 Rue Daubigny, 95430 Auvers-sur-Oise, France

Telephone: +33 (0)1 34 48 03 03

Hours: 24 March-October?

Thursday-Friday: 10am-12pm, Thursday-Sunday (including 10 May and 14 July): 2-6.30pm

Admission: (includes garden access) 6€  adults / 4€ Concession / Free: Under 12

Site: http://www.atelier-daubigny.com/

Maison du Docteur Gachet

Address: 78 Rue Gachet, 95430 Auvers-sur-Oise, France (it’s about 1.5km or 1 mile from the station so keep this in mind).

Telephone: +33 (0)1 30 36 81 27

Hours: (same as the cemetery) Monday 1:30–4:45pm, Tuesday, Wednesday and Friday 8:30am–12pm, 1:30–4:45pm, Thursday 8:30am–12pm, Saturday 8:30–11:45am, Sunday Closed

Admission: 4€ Adults / 3.50€ Concession / Free < 25 years, unemployed, groups of 10+

Site: http://www.van-gogh.fr/maison-du-docteur-gachet.php

Cimetière d’Auvers-sur-Oise

Address: Rue Emile Bernard, 95430 Auvers-sur-Oise, France

Telephone: +33 (0)1 30 36 70 30

Hours: (same as House of Docteur Gachet) Monday 1:30–4:45pm, Tuesday, Wednesday and Friday 8:30am–12pm, 1:30–4:45pm, Thursday 8:30am–12pm, Saturday 8:30–11:45am, Sunday Closed

Admission: Free

Site: http://www.ville-auverssuroise.fr/ville-auvers-sur-oise/cimetiere

Château d’Auvers-sur-Oise (Castle)

Address: Chemin des berthelées (parking), 95430 Auvers-sur-Oise, France

Telephone: +33 (0)1 34 48 48 48

Hours: Monday Closed (open public holidays), Tuesday to Friday 10am–5pm, Saturday and Sunday 10am–5pm

Restaurant Hours: Tuesday to Sunday from 11am and Friday and Saturday evenings

Admission: 15€ Adults / 9€ Concession / Free: children under 6, science staff from museums, guides / 2 adults and 2 children: 40€. Additional children: 5€.

Site: http://www.chateau-auvers.fr/en/home/

Musée de l’Absinthe (Absinthe Museum)

Address: 44 Rue Alphonse Callè, 95430 Auvers-sur-Oise, France

Telephone: +33 (0)1 30 36 83 26

Hours: 10 March -?

Saturday and Sunday, 1.30pm-6.00pm (last entry 5.30)

14 July – 15 August: Tuesday-Sunday, 1.30pm-6.00pm (last entry 5.30)

Admission: 5€ Adult / 4€ Concession / Free < 15 years.

Absinthe dégustation: 4€  (1 glass for museum visitor) / 5€ (1 glass for non visitors). For 18+ years only.

Groups welcome.

Site: https://www.musee-absinthe.com/

Sundials

I found one but there are apparently 3 ancient sundials in the town. See if you can stumble upon them!

Vincent Van Gogh

(‘Village Street and Steps in Auvers’, oil on canvas, May 1890)

MUSEUM TIPS

This is a really small town and not super touristy so you don’t need to worry about buying any tickets in advance. I would advise you go to the tourism office first as they’ll give you a map plus detailed opening hours and costs for all the attractions so you can plan your day accordingly.

EAT

As I didn’t eat in any restaurants I can’t recommend a particular place but it would be cool to eat in the Auberge Ravoux where Van Gogh also ate. The Chateau d’Auvers-sur-Oise also has a restaurant.

Auberge Ravoux
Address: 52 Rue du Général de Gaulle, 95430 Auvers-sur-Oise, France
Phone: +33 (0)1 30 36 60 60

SHOP

Despite all the Van Gogh stuff, this isn’t really a commercial town. The only place to get Van Gogh souvenirs is inside the Auberge Ravoux.

PHOTO TIPS

I don’t really have any special photo tips for this town. As it’s not super crowded/touristy it’s easy to get shots without other people in them. The only place that had a lot of people was the Auberge Ravoux.

Tell me: What would you like to see most if you went there? If you have any further questions please leave them below, Thanks! 🙂

 PIN THIS!

The Ultimate Guide to the Vincent Van Gogh trail in Paris and Provence, France. Auvers-sur-Oise where he lived and died. Travel Blog

2018-02-11T00:35:58+00:00 By |France, museums, travel, Van Gogh|

About the Author:

Hi, I'm Livia. I left my hometown of Sydney, Australia in 2010 and since then I have lived in France and Switzerland and travelled all over Europe. I've been a photographer for 10 years, have lived in 6 countries and speak 3 languages. You can read more about me here.