Subject: Re: Day trips from Paris-Auvers sur Oise
I second Ed's recommendation of Auvers sur Oise, north of Paris (about an hour on the train which slumbers along). My friends and I had a wonderful day there, but, since we were all painters, I thought it might be a bit off the beaten track for others; but obviously not so. We took the train to Pontoise (where Pissarro painted; we did not have time to see much of the town) and changed trains for Auvers. Walking into town, there is a small park with a quirky sculpture of Van Gogh himself. You can pay to see the room when Van Gogh died, but it is just that - an empty room. The commentary was in French of course, and a very kind man translated bits and pieces for us. We picked up a town map at the tourist office, a lovely building with a small gallery upstairs. We walked (all uphill) past the church which VanGogh painted to the cemetery where he and his brother are buried. We returned to town through the wheatfields (with the requisite crows); visited the Absinthe Museum, a small private one dedicated to the outlawed liquor - if you are into trivia it is worth the few minutes it takes. We wandered the streets of this lovely town, flowers were abundant. We also did the mansion which has an Impressionists Audio-Video program. For us, since we are artists, the information was redundant. It was well done, but we wish we had passed it and left time to visit Dr. Cachet's house. Dr. C was Van Gogh's private physician who was paid with paintings! We decided to take the bus back to Pontoise and enjoyed the backroads and villages we went through. There are posters of Van Gogh's paintings at the various locations he used. So you see the then and the now. Make sure you are familiar with the return train or RER schedules so that you aren't stranded at the end of the day.

Beth (DC suburbs)