TRAVEL with pat and lew

* St. Remy de Provence … in Vincent’s footsteps

Posted by Lew Weinstein on July 12, 2010

St. Remy de Provence is a beautiful charming place, full of great shops and restaurants and churches and the Roman city of Glanum, plus the very real presence of the ghost of Vincent Van Gogh. But before you get to St. Remy, there is a driving experience unlike any other … an overarching growth of plane trees into which you drive transfixed, on and on and on. (note: all of these photos were taken by Pat through the front window as we were driving.)

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From the center of town near the Boulevard Victor Hugo past the Tourist Office and onto dusty roadways where there used to be nothing but fields, the city has placed a series of 21 small reproductions of Van Gogh’s St. Remy paintings, done while he was a patient in the insane asylum which is at the end of the trail. We walked the path on a very hot day. There is considerable space, maybe 100 yards or so, between most of the paintings, and the walk was long enough to get a real feeling for the disturbed man who carried his paints and easel into the fields to paint the peasants and their surroundings. Here are two of the paintings set where they might have been painted in 1890 …

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The hospital St. Paul de Mausole is a peaceful place where Van Gogh was apparently quite happy and enormously productive in the last few months of his life, producing some of his finest if somewhat deranged work. Here is his room, the cloisters and the view of the garden through his barred window …

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We didn’t do justice to the Roman city of Glanum, constructed around 25 BC, abandoned in 260 AD, and first excavated in 1921. It was hot and we were tired, so we took a cab back into town, where there was a wonderful Van Gogh documentary at the air conditioned Musee Estrine. This photo is apparently of the partially reconstructed Roman temple dedicated to the cult of the Emperor’s family.

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Back in town, our energy restored by the cool air in the museum, we explored the fine shops of St. Remy and I fortified myself with coffee for the return drive at an outdoor restaurant that actually understood what “cafe American” is supposed to be.

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3 Responses to “* St. Remy de Provence … in Vincent’s footsteps”

  1. Hansung Jung said

    On the way from Arles to Gordes, I plan to drop at L’Isle-sur-la-Sorgue on July 28. As I read your writing, however, I prefer to change my original itinerary.

  2. Karen & Joe said

    Oh, those wonderful memories of St Remy. I will wear my Glanum tee shirt tomorrow just for you! We stayed in a wonderful villa, walked into town for petite dejeuner every morning and gobbled delicious froi gras whenever/wherever we could. So glad you’re loving it,too! Have you hiked the trails just beyond the Glanum ruins? Very doable. Love, K&J

  3. Randy Becker said

    I know that road into St. Remy so very well!!!! What a great drive. My wife and I spent half of our honeymoon in Molleges, just off that roadway.

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