Less than 30 kilometres outside of Paris, the quaint town of Auvers-sur-Oise is a pilgrimage of sorts for those on Vincent van Gogh’s trail. This was here that the painter spent the last seventy days of his life, living in a sparsely furnished room at Auberge Ravoux and producing eighty oil paintings and sixty-four sketches of the town and its people, before dying of a self-inflicted gunshot wound at the age of 37. The artist’s body is buried in the town’s cemetery, alongside that of his brother Theo.
Vincent van Gogh, who had just left an asylum in Saint-Rémy-de-Provence and was looking for a quiet place close to Paris where his brother worked and lived, arrived in Auvers in May 1890, having just left the asylum in Saint-Rémy-de-Provence. Shortly upon his arrival, he wrote in a letter to his brother, “Auvers is really beautiful – among other things many old thatched roofs, which are becoming rare… I’d hope, then, that in doing a few canvases of that really seriously, there would be a chance of recouping some of the costs of my stay – for really it’s gravely beautiful, it’s the heart of the countryside, distinctive and picturesque.”
More than a century later, not much has changed in this ville fleurie (flowered city) as it continues to enchant the visitors with its old houses, narrow ivied passages and vast wheat and corn fields. Below, we take you through some of the historical sites and places of interest in Auvers-sur-Oise that inspired, or were the subject of, one of the most prolific phases of van Gogh’s career.