In search for warm light and bright colors Van Gogh left Paris in 1888 and went to the South of France. Would you like to visit the locations Van Gogh painted and experience what Vincent saw in the Provence?

Van Gogh locations in Arles

Where is Van Goghs cafe terrace in Arles

Cafe Terrace at Night au Place du Forum

The Cafe Terrace is a must see. To stand on the same spot in the Place du Forum where Van Gogh actually painted the cafe makes it easy to understand why he chose to paint this scene. Although Van Gogh preferred to paint nature he wrote to his sister Willemien on 14 September 1888:

"I definitely want to paint a starry sky now. It often seems to me that the night is even more richly coloured than the day, coloured in the most intense violets, blues and greens.. Now there’s a painting of night without black. With nothing but beautiful blue, violet and green, and in these surroundings the lighted square is coloured pale sulphur, lemon green. I enormously enjoy painting on the spot at night."

Where is Van Goghs Starry Night over the Rhone in Arles

Starry Night over the Rhône

Another location that can best be visited after sunset is Starry Night over the Rhône. But no need to wait until the middle of the night though. Van Gogh must have painted this romantic (link https://www.vangoghstudio.com/was-van-gogh-a-romantic-person/) scene by the Rhône before it was completely dark. Vincent van Gogh wrote to fellow artist Eugene Boch on 2 October 1888:

"And lastly, a study of the Rhône, of the town under gaslight and reflected in the blue river. With the starry sky above — with the Great Bear — with a pink and green sparkle on the cobalt blue field of the night sky, while the light of the town and its harsh reflections are of a red gold and a green tinged with bronze. Painted at night.”

You can find the exact spot along the banks of the Rhône if you go from The Yellow House, just outside of the city centre, towards the river.

Where is Van Goghs Yellow House in Arles

The Yellow House

The Yellow House at the Place Lamartine doesn’t exist anymore exactly as it was in 1888, but to have a French noisette (espresso with a drop or two of milk or cream) or a pastis on the terrace of the Yellow House creates a great moment to think about everything Vincent went through there.

It was Van Gogh’s ambitions to start a community of artists in the yellow house as the Studio of the South. Van Gogh made many masterpieces in Arles, decorated a bedroom for Gauguin with his Sunflower paintings, but got mental health problems soon after Gauguin arrived. On the 23rd of December he cut off his left ear and when he got out of hospital he noticed the painting of his Bedroom was damaged as the nearby Rhône had flooded.

Where is Van Goghs courtyard of the hospital in Arles

The Courtyard of the Hospital

In the centre of Arles you’ll find the hospital where Vincent van Gogh was treated by Dr Rey after he cut off his ear. He was allowed to go home a few weeks later, but due to mental breakdowns he was hospitalized twice more before he moved to the asylum in Saint-Rémy-de-Provence.

In 2020 researchers in The Netherlands suggested that Van Gogh’s deliriums were linked to alcohol withdrawal.

Where is Van Goghs Trinquetaille Bridge in Arles

The Trinquetaille Bridge

Walking along the banks of the Rhône you come across the bridge to Trinquetaille, a neighborhood of Arles on the other side of the river. The bridge in he painting looks rather modern, which you’d expect to be in Paris or another main city in France. This shows Arles once was an important port before railways took over most river transport.

Also note the little plane tree that Van Gogh painted there. Since plane trees can live for several hundred years… the big tree in the recent photo could very well be the same tree!

Where is Van Goghs les Alyscamps near Arles

Les Alyscamps

You’ll find many Roman remnants in Arles; the arena is one that is hard to miss. Outside of the Arles city walls, at just a 10 minute walk, is one that you don’t want to miss either: Les Alyscamps (compare Champs-Élysées in Paris; in English: Elysian Fields).

Les Alyscamps is an ancient Roman necropolis which is lined with poplars and stone sarcophagi. Van Gogh made a few paintings here. One of them is called ‘Falling Autumn Leaves’.

Where is Van Goghs Langlois Bridge near Arles

The Langlois Bridge

At a 40 minute walk from the center of Arles you can visit the Langlois Bridge (named after the bridge keeper). Vincent van Gogh painted this scene 4 times from different angles, also with women washing clothes.

This drawbridge on a canal, reminded him of The Netherlands. Although the bridge has been reconstructed, the typical white house with orange roof tiles that you see in many of Van Gogh’s paintings around Arles is still there!

Van Gogh locations near Montmajour

Where is Van Goghs Red Vineyard near Arles

The Red Vineyard

The Red Vineyard was probably the only painting that Vincent van Gogh sold. The location is not easy to find as it is not a vineyard anymore. It can best be reached by car, going from Montmajour to Arles. After a minute drive from the 1000 year old abbey ‘Montmajour' the road bends to the right and you can see the towers of Arles in the distance just like in the painting.

Van Gogh painted the harvest of grapes in The Red Vineyard on 3 November 1888, which would be very late to harvest grapes for wine nowadays. Did people back then prefer their wine sweeter? Find out what Dutch Wine connaisseur Niek Beute thinks about this.

Van Gogh locations in Saintes-Maries-de-la-Mer

Where is Van Goghs view of Saintes-Maries-de-la-Mer

View of Saintes-Maries-de-la-Mer

At the end of May 1888 Vincent van Gogh traveled by coach from Arles 40km South to Saintes-Maries-de-la-Mer. He made drawings and paintings there, his most famous one the Sea at Saintes-Maries-de-la-Mer.

Around this magic town in the Camargue you can see flamingos and wild horses. Every year In May gypsies from all over Europe come to Saintes-Maries-de-la-Mer and worship Black Sara, their Patron saint. The festival goes back to the Middle Ages and their ceremonies are still the same; the crowd sing and praise the Saint Marys and a procession takes Sara to the sea.
 

Van Gogh locations in Saint-Rémy-de-Provence

To be in Vincent’s bedroom in the asylum may be even more inspiring than looking at his masterpieces in a museum. To experience the circumstances in which he kept following his dream can be humbling and empower you to never give up either. Where are Van Goghs irises in Saint-Remy

Irises

Due to his mental health problems Vincent van Gogh wasn’t allowed outside of the walls of the garden of the asylum Saint-Rémy-de-Provence at first. That didn’t stop him to produce many masterpieces. His first one was probably the now famous Irises. Note how the flowers are blue instead of purple. Find out here why the red color in purple lost its brightness over the years.

Where is Van Goghs view of Starry Night in Saint-Remy

Starry Night

Starry Night was painted from Van Gogh’s bedroom. He added the town to the painting that was clearly inspired on Saint-Rémy. At just a 5 minute walk from the asylum is the Ancient Roman city of Glanum. From there you can see Saint-Rémy-de-Provence pretty much like it appears in Starry Night.

Where is Van Gogh Olive Grove in Saint-Remy

Olive Grove

When Van Gogh was allowed to leave the premises of the asylum he painted at least 15 versions of his beloved olive tree that reminded him of the Dutch willow. There are many olive groves around the asylum that change in color during the day. Not surprising it was such a challenge to Vincent to capture this characteristic tree.

Where are Van Goghs Olive Trees with women picking olives in Saint-Remy

Women picking Olives

Vincent van Gogh painted three versions of women picking olives. The one that he described as 'the most resolved and stylized of the three’ was for his mother and sister.

The paintings show Van Gogh’s idea of close connection between people and nature. And it was nature and especially painting in nature that made him happy. To Van Gogh painting olive trees even felt like a remedy for his mental health issues.

Where is Van Goghs Mountainous Landscape with Olive Trees in Saint-Remy

Mountainous Landscape with Olive Trees

Did you know Van Gogh made a painting as the daylight complement to the famous nocturnal, The Starry Night? Just before you enter the asylum you’ll see the low mountain range ‘The Alpilles’ on your right in the South. You can walk around and try to find the exact spot with the olive trees against the mountains where Van Gogh pitched his easel.

If only he knew that the paintings he created at that moment would one day be visited in the main museums all over the world.

Where are Van Goghs Pine Trees in Saint-Remy

Pine Trees

With the strong and cold mistral wind it was often not easy for Van Gogh to paint. It didn’t stop him from painting these pine trees just outside of the asylum.

"I’m going to work some more outside, the mistral’s blowing. It usually dies down by the time the sun’s about to set, then there are superb effects of pale citron skies, and desolate pines cast their silhouettes into relief against it with effects of exquisite black lace. At other times the sky is red, at other times a tone that’s extremely delicate, neutral, still pale lemon but neutralized by delicate lilac. I have an evening effect of a pine again against pink and green-yellow."

Where is Van Goghs Road Menders in Saint Remy

Road Menders

The asylum that cared for 18 patients in 1889 is at a 15 minute walk from Saint-Rémy. Vincent only visited this small town a couple of times. The beautiful boulevard around the centre still has impressive plane trees. The road work underneath autumn trees with yellow leaves was painted twice by Van Gogh.

Follow in Van Gogh’s footsteps in the South of France.

Enjoy your trip in the Provence! The photos on this page were taken in March and April. I would love to see your photos of the locations taken at other times of the year.

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      13-05-2022 17:14     Comments ( 11 )
Comments (11)
 Greg Cahill -  15-07-2022

That was great to see - I really enjoyed that. I didn't realise that the Cafe terrace scene was so unchanged - amazing. I'm staring at your version of it above my head as I type.

 Erik, Van Gogh Studio -  11-07-2022

Muchas gracias Megan! Fotos de Nuenen aparecerán aquí pronto.

 Erik, Van Gogh Studio -  11-07-2022

Hi Cheryl, The South of France is stunning in September, enjoy!!

 Erik, Van Gogh Studio -  11-07-2022

Hi Jim, Great to hear you also visited the locations. In May I took photos of the locations in Nuenen. Will publish soon. And thank you for the Starry Night compliments!

 Jim Pinkerton -  08-07-2022

Hi Eric, I can't tell you just how much we enjoy the painting of Starry Starry Night you did for us. It is just perfect. Everyone that has come over to see it has commented as to how original it looks. I really love the pictures you have of all the locations that Vincent painted. We have been fortunate to have visited most of these locations when we were in France. Jim Pinkerton

 Cheryl -  08-07-2022

Absolutely amazing!! thank you !! I hope to see some of these places in September!

 Roxart -  10-06-2022

Amazing

 Erik, Van Gogh Studio -  09-06-2022

You are welcome Megan! Now/then photos from Van Gogh locations in Nuenen will be posted soon too.

 Erik, Van Gogh Studio -  09-06-2022

Enjoy Arles Teresa!

 Teresa Engebretsen -  05-06-2022

I am headed to Arles in a few days! I know well most of the places you photographed and am happy to see the others! Merci!

 Megan Mena -  04-06-2022

Gracias por tomarse el tiempo y llevarnos a esta recorrido maravilloso de Van Gogh, la explicación que da algunas de sus pinturas, incluyendo el estado de ánimo del artista, me parece maravilloso, sé que no podría viajar hasta esos lugares, pero le agradezco que lo haya hecho, gracias. Saludos