After time in Arles, Vincent voluntarily went to the Saint- Paul de Mausole, a psychiatric hospital in Saint-Rémy de Provence. He did not feel well, for some period of time he was even unable to paint. However, the drill of an asylum helped him to improve his health condition… for a while.
He wrote a lot of letters to his brother Theo, where he described his feelings & emotions : (..)“I’ve been here almost a whole month, not one single time have I had the slightest desire to be elsewhere; just the will to work again is becoming a tiny bit firmer”(..)
Vincent has also described the day to day habits:”(…) Now I take a bath twice a week and stay in it for 2 hours, then my stomach is infinitely better than a year ago, so I only have to continue, as far as I know(…)”
On his good days, he often painted in the institution’s walled garden and he was later allowed to work outside the hospital too.
Vincent was exceptionally productive at Saint-Rémy, where he completed around 150 paintings in the space of a year.
This is his bedroom in Arles, not in Saint Rémy de Provence, however, he painted it during his stay at the hospital.
After visiting the asylum, we have sighted the city…
Arles is a city in Provence, south part of France. I’m not sure if you know it but Arles is a Roman ancient city and also a place where Vincent van Gogh created numerous paintings including famous Café Terrace at Night. Vincent Van Gogh lived in Arles relatively short period of time- just 15months. He suffered mental illness (probably bipolar disorder) from which he cut off part of his ear. After few short visits to a hospital in Arles, he decided to go to the asylum in Saint-Remy for treatment.
I have to admit that Arles charmed us not only by a famous painter but also by their own heritage: an ancient rural city of Roman Imperium.
Formerly a 17th century Carmelite Convent, Julius Caesar is now a 5*hotel with décor designed by Christian Lacroix…
Walking around we found that an ancient theatre…
….is still in use! The new stage has been built & lights were added; this is something which I have never seen before, even in Greece. It surprises me, but on the other hand, it is very practical. What for built new theatre if previous one is in relatively good condition?
Roman Amphitheatre is also in constant use. Arles Amphitheatre is listed as a UNESCO World Heritage Site.
The bank of the Rhône river …
..where Vincent painted Starry Night Over the Rhone
Following his steps, I came to Café Terrace:
Place where Van Gogh stayed in Arles does not exist anymore. It was a small yellow house attached to this building:
We have visited local marché as well. The market in Arles is one of the biggest in France.
After few days in Arles, we went to Saint Rémy deProvence but this story I will describe it in my next post.