Paris is much more than a handful of central arrondissements plus Montmartre. A walk through the outer, more residential quarters of the city can unfold a charm all of its own, and even the areas... Read More
Paris is much more than a handful of central arrondissements plus Montmartre. A walk through the outer, more residential quarters of the city can unfold a charm all of its own, and even the areas beyond the peripherique ring road, the suburbs and villages of the much dreaded banlieue, can be surprisingly full of interest.
For one of the most rewarding daytrips outside of Paris, go to the village of Auvers-sur-Oise (RER lines A or C to Pontoise, then change into a line H train in the direction of Persan-Beaumont). Auvers-sur-Oise is the place where Vincent van Gogh came to be cured from his self-destructive melancholia, painted some of his most famous pictures, killed himself and was buried, side by side with his saintly brother Theo.
The village has since been converted into something like a shrine for poor Vincent: not enough that all the places where he painted have been signposted, giving you the opportunity of looking at his motives from exactly the right angle, the entire village has been preserved in the most authentic state possible, and with a little imagination, you can easily edit out the few changes that have been made in the last 130 years or so and travel back in time.
The highlight of any journey to Auvers-sur-Oise is the trip to Vincent's and Theo's grave in the local cemetery, a 10 minute walk away from the village centre. So simple and modest, it's heartbreaking.