Saint-Rémy-de-Provence : an inspiring walk in the steps of Vincent Van Gogh
If you stay in the Alpilles, here is an original way to discover the universe of the great painter who created here during his Provençal period among some of his most known masterpieces.
Vincent Van Gogh spent the last part of his life here in Saint-Rémy-de-Provence, from may 1889 to may 1890. Arriving from Arles, he decided to voluntarily commit to the Saint-Paul de Mausole psychiatric hospital.
This brief stay in a little room was the starting point of one of his most productive periods, since he was the only patient authorized to venture outside the cloister. During this year, he produced almost 150 paintings and numerous drawings, including the famous “Starry Night”, the “Almond Tree Branch in Bloom” and “The Iris”.
It is this experience that the Van Gogh Route is trying to recreate, a free, one-hour walk through the landscapes that inspired the Dutch painter.
Long of one kilometer and a half, the quiet walk is punctuated by 19 reproductions of his most emblematic paintings in Saint-Rémy-de-Provence, the surrounding villages and the foothills of the Alpilles, a unique opportunity to penetrate the universe and the vision of the artist.
At each stop, a signpost explains the context and places each work into perspective in its natural environment.
Van Gogh is going through an extremely disturbed period. He had a violent fallout with his painter friend Gauguin in Arles, a few months before. Here, he finds in nature and the Alpilles landscapes an endless number of subjects and themes for his paintings.
« The cypresses are always on my mind, I would like to do something with them like the sunflower paintings, because I am surprised that they have not yet been done as I see them. They are beautiful, in lines and proportions, like Egyptian obelisks. And the green is of such a distinguished quality. »
Letter to Théo (25 June 1889)
The walk begins from the site of the Saint-Paul de Mausole Monastery to the center of the village of Saint-Rémy-de-Provence, through the ancient ruins of the Glanum and the four districts neighbourhood, and ends in front of the Centre d’art Présence Van Gogh, in the beautiful XVII-century Estrine Hotel.
List of shown works
- La Méridienne (d’après Millet
- The Road Menders
- The Starry Night
- Country road in Provence by night
- Almond blossom
- Cypresses with two figures
- The Ravine (Les Peiroulets)
- Field with poppies
- Wheatfield with Cypresses
- Women Picking Olives
- The Reaper
- Pine trees at sunset
- Olive trees with the Alpilles in the background
- Olive trees
- Wheatfields in a mountainous landscape
- Paul’s Hospital, St. Remy
You can download the leaflet with the Van Gogh Route itinerary here : Download
At the Saint-Rémy-de-Provence Tourism Office, you can also rent an audioguide in English, about the artist’s life during his stay.
Finally, you can also download the digital application Van Gogh Natures. Along the trail in Saint-Rémy-de-Provence, you will also find extracts of letters from Vincent van Gogh, drawn from the originals, respecting the artist’ syntax and spelling.