Van Gogh in Auvers-sur-Oise

Auberge Ravoux © Miyazaki

The exhibition “Van Gogh à Auvers-sur-Oise, les derniers mois” at the Musée d’Orsay (to February 4, 2024 ) is an excellent opportunity to visit the town where the artist made his last paintings.

Vincent van Gogh spent his final days in Auvers-sur-Oise. 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 “Van Gogh 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”


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”