Vincent Van Gogh left Paris for the sun and light of Provence in 1888. He spent over a year in Arles, with some of that time spent in a hospital there after cutting off his own ear. In May 1889 he voluntarily entered an asylum at Saint Paul de Mausole in Saint-Rémy, where he spent over a year during perhaps the most prolific stage of his life. Saint Paul continues to serve as a hospital while also serving as a destination for Van Gogh’s admirers.
Approaching Saint Paul’s entrance after leaving Glanum, we walked past olive groves that Van Gogh had repeatedly painted in his time there. In the distance, we could see the unusual holes through the Alpilles mountains featured in his painting, The Alpilles with Olive Trees in the Foreground.
The grounds featured a sculpture of the asylum’s well-known patient:
Inside the monastery’s cloisters was a beautiful formal garden that, even with the ivy showing its fall colors in November, still had a pink rose in bloom:
The exit to the rear of the monastery was inviting:
The gardens behind the monastery were visible from Van Gogh’s small room.
Some of the patients at Saint Paul today are treated with art therapy, with their works for sale in the gift shop. Here’s my attempt at “art-ifying” a picture of Saint Paul’s entrance. (The original is the featured image at the top of this posting.)
Touring Glanum and Saint Paul de Mausole had left us starving. We had looked on with envy at the locals enjoying their picnics on the grounds of the hospital. Fortunately, we made it to a brasserie in time for lunch, where the French can make even a bistro salad look like a work of art:
After lunch, a trip to Les Baux for some Picasso projection!