Auvers-sur-Oise is one of my favourite places related to life and work of Vincent van Gogh. It’s a village where he lived during the last two months of his life. He painted around 80 paintings during that time. However, that’s also a place where he died and is buried today. There are so many locations related to Van Gogh in Auvers-sur-Oise, anyone in love with his work, should definitely visit it.
Van Gogh in Auvers-sur-Oise
After a year at the asylum in Saint-Remy, Vincent left it and went to Paris to visit his brother Theo and his family. He stayed with them for a couple of days. Before his arrival, he asked Theo to look for a quiet place where he could live and work. Theo knew Dr. Paul Gachet, who was an art patron, an amateur painter and someone who had a lot of experience in dealing with the mental health issues in his medical practice. He lived in Auvers-sur-Oise, so Theo found it to be a perfect place for Vincent to move to.
Van Gogh arrived at Auvers-sur-Oise in May 1890 and soon became a good friend with dr. Gachet. He lived at the local guest house, Auberge Ravoux, and often went on walks to the fields around the village, or next to Oise River, to paint.
Some two months after his arrival, he came back to Auberge Ravoux from the field severely wounded. Police and a doctor came to help him and to see what has happened. Theo went with a first train from Paris, as well. But, after two days, Vincent died.
There is a beautiful letter written by Emile Bernard about his funeral. In it, he described that day and all the sorrow and grief of Vincent’s friends and fellow painters. You can read the whole letter on a link here. Here is just a short insert from it:
Many people arrived, mainly artists, among whom I recognised Lucien Pissarro and Lauzet, the others I did not know, also some local people who had known him a little, seen him once or twice and who liked him because he was so good-hearted, so human…
How many days to spend in Auvers-sur-Oise?
I would definitely stay for at least two days in Auvers-sur-Oise. There is so much to see there, and it’s one of the best places to feel Van Gogh’s heritage. That beautiful tranquil atmosphere in a village is really amazing, so I would definitely spend a night there.
I stayed at Hotel des Iris and loved it! It’s right across the street from Institut van Gogh, so it has a great location for exploring all the places related to Vincent’s life. It is a charming boutique hotel with a focus on art in its decoration. I’ve stayed in a room with a wallpaper decorated with Vincent’s ‘Almond Blossom’ (one of my favourite paintings), and I couldn’t have a more suitable place to stay. Hotel is just a few months old, so a beautiful place to stay in Auvers-sur-Oise.
Places related to Van Gogh’s life and work in Auvers-sur-Oise
There are so many places related to Van Gogh’s life and work in Auvers-sur-Oise. But, what I loved the most was the atmosphere in that village. It’s so picturesque and calm, the air is fresh, light is beautiful, and the smell is just gorgeous. I could see why Van Gogh wanted to move there, the second I’ve stepped outside my train.
If you’re going to look for places related to the life of Van Gogh in Auvers-sur-Oise, I would recommend you to start at a local tourist office (address: Parc Van Gogh, 38 Rue du Général de Gaulle, 95430 Auvers-sur-Oise). They will give you all the information you need, and, most importantly, a map with all the locations related to Vincent (and some other painters that used to live there).
# Van Gogh Statue
*Address: Rue Daubigny, 95430 Auvers-sur-Oise
Just next to the tourist office is a statue of Van Gogh. He has his easel and painting material with him. And is going to one of his walks, searching for the best location to paint. It was created by Zadkine, the same artist who created Vincent’s statue in Zundert.
# Institut Van Gogh
*Address: 52 Rue du Général de Gaulle, 95430 Auvers-sur-Oise
Institut van Gogh is located at a guest house where Vincent lived during his time in Auvers. There is a small shop and reception on the first floor. On the second floor is the room where Vincent lived and died. It’s a simple room with only a small roof window giving it some light. There is nothing inside, beside the chair which reminded me so much of a chair from his ‘Bedroom in the Yellow House’. It looks as if someone was sitting next to Vincent’s bed, taking care of him and being with him during those last moments. Its emptiness is so striking. I could almost imagine him, lying in a bed, smoking his pipe and slowly leaving this world. I felt so emotional inside…
*TIP: There is a restaurant at a ground floor, which looks just as it did in a time Van Gogh lived there. They did a wonderful job of renovating the whole house, but I especially liked the restaurant. Food was among the best I had in France (which is quite hard with all the great food there), so I’ll definitely recommend you to have lunch there.
# Panels with information about Vincent’s life next to the Institut van Gogh
*Address: next to 52 Rue du Général de Gaulle, 95430 Auvers-sur-Oise
Five large info panels about Van Gogh’s life and work are located just next to the Institut van Gogh. His life in different cities and countries is explained quite well on them. It’s a great place to get some more general information about him.
# Locations of some of the paintings van Gogh painted in Auvers-sur-Oise
*Address: Different locations around Auvers-sur-Oise
Vincent created around 80 paintings during those two months he has spent in Auvers-sur-Oise. On many of them, he has painted different motives from the village. Some of them could still be recognised today. There are panels with reproductions of his paintings around the village, so you can compare those places with his paintings. I especially liked the one in front of the town hall.
*Address: Rue de l’Église, Auvers-sur-Oise
Walking around Auvers-sur-Oise and discovering beautiful old houses was something I really enjoyed doing. I’ve seen so many irises along the way, and they looked completely the same as they do on Van Gogh’s paintings. I’ve taken a walk from the Institute van Gogh towards the old village church. Vincent painted it on one of his very famous paintings (it’s displayed in the Musee Orsay in Paris today).
With that I have a larger painting of the village church – an effect in which the building appears purplish against a sky of a deep and simple blue of pure cobalt, the stained-glass windows look like ultramarine blue patches, the roof is violet and in part orange. In the foreground a little flowery greenery and some sunny pink sand.
*Address: Avenue du Cimetière, Auvers-sur-Oise
I’ve taken a walk along a small road behind the church to the next place I wanted to visit then. A local cemetery is a place where Vincent was buried in 1890. His brother Theo died only six months after that. Although he was first buried in the Netherlands, his widow Jo, moved his body later on to France, so he could be next to his brother. Graves of Vincent and Theo van Gogh are very simple but so beautiful. Brothers who loved each other so much, are together now in eternity. And, although in separate tombs, they are connected with the ivy, brought from the garden of Dr. Gachet.
# Fields above the village
*Address: Start at the cemetery and follow the path in the fields towards the village
The cemetery is surrounded with huge wheat fields. To see more of the places where Vincent van Gogh painted while living in Auvers-sur-Oise, I’ve decided to walk back to the village through them. While looking at them, they seemed so familiar. Those colours and the sky… Even the grass looked like I’ve seen it before. And then I realised those were Vincent’s paintings! I could just imagine how they look with the vibrant colours during the summer months when Vincent was painting them.
That was such a fantastic experience for me. I was able to really step into some of his paintings. Seeing the same colours, even the same texture as it is on his paintings. That walk through the fields above Auvers-sur-Oise, made me really understood some of his landscape paintings more.
# Château d’Auvers
*Address: Chemin des Berthelées, 95430 Auvers-sur-Oise
I also went to the Château d’Auvers which is a beautiful castle with a great interactive exhibition about Impressionist and post-Impressionist movements. Don’t expect to see many paintings, because there are only a few on display there. However, I really like the way they have explained the birth of modern art through the words of some of the painters that have created it. Development of van Gogh’s art is also very well described.
# Maison du Docteur Gachet
*Address: 78 Rue Gachet, 95430 Auvers-sur-Oise
Dr. Gachet was one of Vincent’s closest friends while he was living in Auvers-sur-Oise. So, he visited his house many times. He also made a few portraits of him and his daughters. And have often painted in his garden. Dr. Gachet’s house and garden could still be visited today. And it was so refreshing to me to see how his garden still resembles some of Vincent’s paintings so clearly.
# River Oise
*Address: River Oise, Auvers-sur-Oise
I’ve mentioned at the beginning how Auvers-sur-Oise wasn’t a source of inspiration for Van Gogh only. Many other painters spent some time there. And have created many of their paintings in the area. After seeing paintings created by those artists, who visited or lived in Auvers-sur-Oise, I wanted to see one of the most common motives in their paintings – Oise River. So, I’ve taken a walk alongside it and tried to see those reflections on water and colours all of them admired so much.
Auvers-sur-Oise is such a unique and tranquil place. I could understand so well, why after a year Van Gogh has spent in a hospital, he decided to move there. It was definitely a special place for Vincent.
But it was a special place for me, too. I could also feel that inspiration Vincent and other painters have found there. It was in a light, in nature, in that smell… Everywhere.
I could definitely feel that emotional part of Vincent’s heritage the most in Auvers-sur-Oise.
You can read all of the posts from my Van Gogh trip below:
# – Some general info about my Van Gogh trip
# – Visiting Kröller-Müller Museum
# – Vincent Van Gogh in the Netherlands
# – Vincent Van Gogh in Belgium
# – Vincent van Gogh in Paris
# – Vincent Van Gogh in Auvers-sur-Oise
# – Vincent Van Gogh in Arles
# – Vincent Van Gogh in Saint-Rémy-de-Provence
*My visit to Auvers-sur-Oise and places related to Van Gogh’s life there was a part of my “Follow the Footsteps of Vincent van Gogh” trip. It was supported and organized by the Van Gogh Europe and Institut van Gogh. Many thanks to all of them, lovely guides, Hotel des Iris and everyone else who helped me organise it.