Vincent Van Gogh and St. Remy de Provence

July 2nd, 2012

I have always been fascinated by Vincent Van Gogh.  A few years ago I braved wind, rain and long lines to view the Vincent Van Gogh collection on loan to a museum in Washington DC.  While visiting sunny Provence last week, I did not have to suffer bad weather and long lines to spend time in a place where Van Gogh spent a year of his life.

After a tumultuous time in Arles, which included the ear cutting incident, Van Gogh committed himself to the Monastere St. Paul-de Mausole in St. Remy to convalesce.  He was allowed studio space and painted some of his best work there.

The grounds of the asylum were, and are today, lovely.  Van Gogh found inspiration everywhere.  He painted Irises that were growing in a nearby field.

He wrote to his brother Theo, “This morning I saw the country from my window a long time before sunrise with nothing but the morning star, which looked very big.”  Thus, he painted from that memory the swirls of Starry Night.

This is the view from Van Gogh’s window.  The window is barred, as would be expected in a hospital.  But what is so fascinating to me, is that visitors today are allowed into this very room.

David suggested that if I was tired I could actually lie down on Van Gogh’s bed.

The grounds of Monastere St. Paul-de Mausole are beautiful.  The lavender was just beginning to flower and the aroma was heady.

I could picture Van Gogh strolling the pathways.

While in St. Remy we had lunch at the Bistrot Decouverte.

We went there because Sam, of My Carolina Kitchen, spent time in St. Remy a few years ago.  Bistrot Decouverte was one of her favorite restaurants.  You can read about her experience here.

Our lunch of braised chicken with a salad verte was so good that you will just have to take my word for it because we only got pictures of the bones on the plate.

After lunch we strolled around the lovely village of St. Remy.  It is very picturesque and I can see why Sam and Meakin made this town their home-base while in Provence.

David even made friends with a local dog.  So cute! 

We ended the day back in L’isle Sur la Sorgue at our favorite wine and cheese shop with a toast to another beautiful day in Provence.

12 responses to “Vincent Van Gogh and St. Remy de Provence”

  1. Big Dude says:

    You guys are making some great memories – I’m enjoying your trip

  2. Penny, I’m so glad you got to go to St. Remy and see everything about van Gogh. I never understood what van Gogh was referring to about the light in the south of France until we stayed in St. Remy and experienced it for ourselves. The light in Provence is different than any other place I’ve ever been.

    So glad you enjoyed lunch at our favorite bistro and got to see the village. It is a magical place for us and I’ve got my fingers crossed we’ll return next year. Thank you so much for taking us along with you. You’ve brought back great memories for me.

    BTW, you look very French with your scarf and straw bag. If I hadn’t known you, I could have easily mistaken you for a French lady.

  3. Mary says:

    Penny dear – I’m loving all the pics and stories of your visit to several of the places I know well. Like you, we are now home again, arrived Thurs. night after that long flight from Africa, but are now back on our usual schedule recalling all the amazing experiences we had whilst on safari!

    Hope your trip was ALL you expected and more……………..hope we can get together again soon and catch up.
    Hugs – Mary

    P.S. I was unable to blog whilst away but am starting to post now – so much to share!

  4. Stacey says:

    Wow that looks like so much fun and romantic too. 🙂

  5. I loved St. Remy when we were there a few years ago. So fun to see you pictured standing in the same places I had been. Looking forward to getting together and hearing more about your trip. Email me when you get settled.

  6. Beautiful pictures, Penny. St. Remy is at the top of my list of places to visit on our trip to France. What a thrill to see where Van Gogh lived and worked. I’m enjoying your posts very much. Thanks for sharing.

  7. Susan says:

    Penny, Sam beat me to it. I was going to say that you look so French…no one would guess you are American. I am enjoying your trip.

  8. Pondside says:

    That must have been a wonderful day, from start to finish. All the ingredients were there – good company, good food, good smells, good art…..and a great outfit!!

  9. Kate says:

    You are having a fabulous trip! Great post!!

  10. fascinating post… and WHAT a Trip!! I’m pea green with envy.

  11. Anonymous says:

    nice posting.. thanks for sharing.

  12. Jann says:

    Oh, I have enjoyed all the pictures~so many memories! So good to see you living the good life in France! What a fabulous place!!!

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