Paris is full of beautiful things to see, but when we visited last, we wanted to get take a day out of the hustle and bustle of the city and headed over to Auvers-sur-Oise. Located an hour outside the capital, the village saw many painters, sculptors and other artists chose to live in its beautiful surroundings, throughout the years, but none was as famous as Vincent Van Gogh.
Although the self taught artist only lived 70 days in the village, the fact they were to be his last and the tragic way his life ended put Auvers-sur-Oise on the map for many admirers of Van Gogh.
It’s hard to imagine that Auvers is so close to Paris when walking along its small roads and paths, and it’s easy to see why the quaint village, with its pretty houses and its immense sky might have attracted Van Gogh.
After walking to the cemetery where Vincent and his brother Theo are both burried, we visited the Auberge Ravoux where Van Gogh lived and died and were given a tour by a very energetic guide who explained how the association behind the Van Gogh’s house are trying to raise funds to purchase one of the artist’s painting. I dread to think about about how this might put a strain on this relaxed museum in terms of the security it will involve.
The auberge’s dining room is a lovely place and the menu is very reasonably priced. Shame we missed lunch time!
A couple of years ago we took part in a absinthe tasting evening in London. Championed by George Rawley, founder of La Fée, the return of absinthe in the good books was not without hurdles as the drink’s reputation was stained for many years. We genuinely enjoyed that evening and we decided to follow George Rowley’s advice to visit the Absinthe Museum also in Auvers-sur-Oise, to meet with his friend Marie-Claude Delahaye, who has initiated the rediscovery of absinthe and helped rekindle its tarnished reputation.
Through its impressive collection of absinthe spoons, glasses, newspaper articles and other memorabilia like the 19th century posters boasting the health benefits of absinthe, or on the contrary propaganda painting the gruesome fate that awaits those who dare hang out with the Green Fairy, the museum offers a real travel back in time!
Before heading back to Paris, we made an amazing discovery. Right next to the train station is a second hand bookshop, but any old bookshop. People from all over come to La Caverne Aux Livres to choose from thousands of items all pilled up from floor to ceiling in what used to be a postal train!