Vincent van Gogh Revisited in Auvers-sur-Oise

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Auberge Ravoux © Miyazaki

Autumn is an ideal time to visit the town Auver Sur Oise where the artist Vincent van Gogh spent his final days. In this picturesque village located just a short train ride from Paris you can walk in van Gogh’s footsteps, from his attic room at the Auberge Ravoux to the places where he planted his easel: the church of Auvers, the house of the painter Daubigny, the house of his friend Doctor Gachet, and the field where he painted his last work, “Wheat Field With Crows” (1890). Continue reading “Vincent van Gogh Revisited in Auvers-sur-Oise”

Guinguette Auvergnate…just like a Renoir painting

The Guinguette Auvergnate — located in Villeneuve Triage—is the perfect place to take visitors to Paris, who never fail to be charmed by its friendly relaxed atmosphere, the view of the Seine from its windows framed by potted geraniums and the unpretentious cooking from the Auvergne, the home region of the patron. If they are lucky, they will see their fellow-diners waltzing to the strains of the accordion, ‘just like a Renoir painting’, as a friend once whispered to me. I have arrived as late as 3 pm and still been fed, as Sunday lunch here can last up to 5 pm. Continue reading “Guinguette Auvergnate…just like a Renoir painting”

Aveyron travel notes

Was surprised to discover that people in Aveyron resent the expression la France profonde. They interpret it as condescending, implying a backwater inhabited by country bumpkins. No matter how hard you insist you meant it as a compliment to a rural area that has preserved its authenticity, the Aveyronnais will look at you suspiciously, or at best dubiously, and understandably so, since not so long ago the Aveyron was precisely this, backward and underdeveloped. Today, still, the keen observer will detect remnants of those times here and there, even in its main towns (the largest of which, Rodez, has only 53,785 inhabitants, and that’s including the suburbs). Continue reading “Aveyron travel notes”

Ile-du-Martin-Pêcheur

Step into the timeless world of guinguettes

Rafting to the Isle DR

Take part in one of the most enjoyable of French popular traditions – eating, drinking and dancing at a guinguette, in the open air, by the river… This one is on a tiny island, reached by a raft.  When you step off the raft onto this particular island on the Marne, less than half an hour away from Paris, you step into the timeless world of guinguettes. Continue reading “Ile-du-Martin-Pêcheur”

Visiting the fairy tale château Ecouen

If you are interested in the French Renaissance, there is no need to travel as far as the Loire. A walk through the forest leads to the fairy tale setting of the château of Ecouen, with its collection of historical treasures and objects. If you are interested in the French Renaissance, there is no need to travel as far as the Loire. One of the most elegant examples of this style in France, the 16th-century château of Ecouen, is the setting for the furnishings and objets d’art that make up the collections of the National Museum of the Renaissance, some of them from the Musée de Cluny.

Continue reading “Visiting the fairy tale château Ecouen”