Sunday, October 2, 2011

September 11 - Versailles vs Van Gogh: 0-1

How big is the Palace of Versailles? 520,000 square feet according to the official website, not counting the gardens. I think that you can also see it from the missing it it's quite an achievement. And of course, that's what happened to us today. We were 4 adults (Linda, Joe, my mom and myself) and 3 kids (Cal, Gabe and Josh) and we all jumped on the train heading to this immense palace. 

We were so excited about this adventure and we kept talking about all the magnificent fountains and gardens and galleries that we would see...that we didn't realize we were on the wrong train! After about 50 minutes of chatting, we finally look around us and that's when the "inconvenient truth" was revealed. We got off the train but by that time, between going back to Paris and then get to Versailles, it would have been another 1 hour 1/2...we would have waist the entire morning and part of the afternoon. So we took our chance and we decided to go and visit the surroundings....I have only one word that can define our day: serendipity. Infact, I would never ended up here if not by mistake.  Well, it turned out that we were in Auvers-sur-Oise, a village famous for the amount of Impressionist artists who lived or visited the place (Pissaro, Cesanne)...the most famous was Vincent Van Gogh. 

Josh in front of the Hotel de Ville 

Then we went to the Auberge Ravoux, where V.G. died 1 day after shooting himself in the chest! Now the place is a restaurant and is obviously a local attraction. My suggestion to them would be: make a coffee bar!
This is where Vincent Van Gogh lived and died.

Of course it was raining, so we decided to stop by the Touristic Office....bad luck, it was "fermee' " since it was lunch time. You see? Everyone always makes fun of the Italians who take the "siesta": here we are, in France, and noone works at lunch time! 

We had a pic-nic in the covered patio. 

At 2 pm finally we begin our visit to the Museum Daubigny (honestly, not worth it! It's just a collection of 2008-2009 paintings inspired to the naif artists). The book shop is more interesting!

We stop by the Musee' de l'Absinthe: I got a bottle (did anyone ever taste it? You can find it in the USA since the ban has been lifted some years ago). You have to pour 1/5 in the glass, then lay a spoon on the top of the glass, put a cube of sugar then pour 4/5 of fresh water soaking the sugar and mixing. We tried it tonight: it's nothing more that an anise-flavoured spirit and since I'm not a big fan of anise, no harm!

The best part of the visit was the Chateau d'Auvers it hosted a spectacularly modern-stroboscopic-interactive exposition. I'm not sure what my son understood about the Impressionism, certainly he was impressed by the amount of rotating spot lights and interactive displays. Ok, ok, it did last a bit too long but it would have been longer in Versailles. 

We made a quick stop by the Eglise Notre you recognize it?

And then, just to complete our Van Gogh afternoon, we went to visit the place where he rests next to his brother. 

And that's about it!

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