Tuesday, October 08, 2019

Dear Vincent Project: Saint Remy

We began our day with fresh baguettes from Bread Fest. It was going to be a long day with at least fourteen hours of driving time in the car (alas, it turned out to be much longer!) We had to stock up! David has said that these were his favorite baguettes from the entire trip (hot and fresh) so all was not lost in Arles!

We got lost on the way to the forum... GPS kept sending us to the wrong location for the Saint Paul de Mausole in Saint Remy. There were large markets in both Arles and Saint Remy happening which were quiet tempting (but, onward!)

Around and around we went. I spotted a sign for the tourism office and stopped in for a map and directions. (For what it's worth, the toilets here had no soap. Luckily, I had alcohol wipes in my purse.)

On the short drive there, it was like surreal. Landscapes transformed into Van Gogh paintings. One "painting" after another. People in large groups taking photos. It really bothered me.

David sat in the car while I bought a ticket to enter (6 Euros.) I asked for a map. The woman told me to look at the signs on the wall.

The hospital is still in use today so I tried to be quiet and respectful.

Bonjour, Vincent!

Saint Remy does not have any of his art here but I thought I'd share some of his paintings done during his stay.

Another recreation. I didn't, I couldn't, stay long in this area. Too many people. Too many weird feelings that shook me to my core.

I needed to get out. Fresh air!


Beauty and pain in the old stone walls.


I left, not looking back. I didn't feel like there was much of Vincent left here (as I had in Auvers sur Oise.) David was waiting. Berlin was waiting.

What I appreciated the most in both Arles and Saint Remy was seeing the original locations where Vincent had painted (where he lived had been either destroyed or was a recreation.) Everything else was recreated for the tourism business. It left me with a very bad taste in my mouth, one that I still can't shake months later (vs when I think of my brief time in Auvers sur Oise, my heart practically leaps out of my chest.) 

Would I go back to Arles? I'm honestly not sure. (Would I go back to Auvers sur Oise, YES!) 

Even though it left me feeling disappointed, it was still worth the trek. I still was able to experience where he spent time creating some of the world's greatest paintings. That's not something that happens every day.

Next stop, Germany!

Previous Adventures Found Here:

Durfort, France
Durfort, France Part Une

Auvers sur Oise, France
Auvers sur Oise, France Part Une
Auvers sur Oise, France Part Deux
Auvers sur Oise, France Part Trois
Auvers sur Oise, France Part Quatre aka the Flowers of Auvers

London, U.K.
London June 7th and 8th
Vincent at the National Gallery London
The EY Exhibit Van Gogh and Britain

1 comment:

LeaMV said...

When we visited Kitty Hawk a couple of years ago I was suddenly struck by the significance of the place and exactly what was achieved there. There weren't a lot of tourists around which gave me time to reflect on this epiphany I was having and even though there isn't much to look at, the 3 stone markers that showed how far their plane flew that first time made me realize that in less than 60 years we had gone from flight even being possible to putting a man on the moon. It was a WOW moment.

I hope to someday have the chance to visit an actual artists' home, etc. like you have done with Vincent. Georgia O'Keeffe might be doable for me - I sometime get that feeling of realness visiting some historic sites, but with all the tourists swarming around it's hard to get the real feel of the place or have the opportunity to put yourself in that place at that time and try to see it through another's eyes.

Thanks for sharing your pictures - I'm living vicariously!!