Over night we arrived at Conflans-Sainte-Honorine which was located 27 miles on the right bank from Paris. This village originally was called Conflans because it was located at the confluence of the Seine and Oise rivers. Sainte-Honorine was added to its name in the 13th century after the female Saint Honorina.
We woke up early and the sun was rising and outside the river looked ominous!
Once the sun was up the river mist cleared and the river and sky looked beautiful.
This morning was a walking tour “Tracing Vincent Van Gogh’s Footsteps” in Auvers-sur-Oise and Auberge Ravoux.
As we were walking into town we were excited to see the Horse Chestnut trees with many of the nuts falling on the ground. To those of us from Ohio we all picked up what we called a Buckeye! They were very similar!
Van Gogh lived here from May 20th, 1890 until July 29th, 1890 when he died from a self-inflicted gunshot wound. He was very productive in the few months he lived here. Some of his best works were painted from this area.
During the time that Van Gogh lived in Auvers-sur-Oise he painted almost 80 works in 70 days. One of his paintings was of the Notre Dame d’ Auvers church. The church was begun in the 11th century from local stone and was added onto in 1170. We visited this church which had a copy of his painting hanging in the sanctuary. This church became infamous thanks to Van Gogh’s painting!
We walked by the stairway that was in Van Gogh’s painting, “Stairway at Auvers”!
Another building that Vincent Van Gogh made famous because he painted it was the Town Hall. What he painted was his view of the Town Hall when he left the Auberge Ravoux which was where he stayed.
We also visited the Auberge Ravoux and the room where Vincent Van Gogh lived and died. He arrived here on May 20th, 1890.
Dave sat at the table in front of the Auberge Ravoux and inside Vincent Van Gogh’s table was near the back of the dining room.
He paid 1 franc a day for room #5 which was a little over 75 square feet and was lit by a sky light. He paid 2.50 francs per day for his meals. We walked up the staircase and saw his little room but no pictures were allowed. Vincent Van Gogh tried to end his life by shooting himself in the chest but made it back to his room and two days later died in his attic room.
Vincent Van Gogh was buried in Auvers Cemetery. Six months later his brother Theo died in the Netherlands at the age of 33. In 1914 his wife had his remains moved so that the two close brothers could be reunited after death! We walked to the Auvers Cemetery and visited their graves.
The brothers graves were covered in ivy and sunflowers interspersed.
Emile Boggio was another impressionist painter that died at the age of 63 in Auvers-sur-Oise and was buried here.
We walked back into the center of town we passed a statue dedicated to Charles Francois Daubigny. He died in 1878 at the age of 61 and was a French painter. He was known for his landscape paintings and was considered to be an important precursor of impressionism.
We really enjoyed our walk around the town and in Vincent Van Gogh’s footsteps! Back to the boat we went for lunch and our afternoon was free.
This afternoon we explored the town of Conflans-Sainte-Honorine. We walked up toward the old upper historic center of town.
We stopped at the Saint Maclou Church. It was built between the 10th and 12th centuries and enlarged in the 15th, 17th, and 19th centuries. It had a Romanesque-style bell tower that was topped by a stone spire.
The relics of Saint Honorina were kept in the Saint Maclou Church. She was the oldest revered virgin martyr of Normandy. It was said that her body was thrown into the Seine near the town of Le Havre and drifted to the site of Conflans-Sainte-Honorine and the town reportedly collected her remains and they buried by the Christian community. Her bones are kept in the church.
We walked along the narrow street, Rue de la Tour, and a class of school children on a field trip passed us. Many said hello in English.
Rue de la Tour gave us great views of the rooftops and the Seine River. We also saw the forest of Saint-Germain-en-Laye. This forest had many 100 year old trees and it also was part of the ancient forest of Yveline where many kings of France hunted.
Back down near the river we walked passed City Hall that was finished in 1896.
We looked back up the hill and we could see the Monjoie Tower in ruins. It was part of the medieval castle of Conflans. It was built in the 11th century on the site of a fort that was made of wood.
We set sail around 5:00 PM. We went through a lock before dark.
Tomorrow we visit Rouen, France!