This beautiful 11th century Monastery of St-Paul-de-Mausole, named after the nearby Mausoleum, located in the outskirts of St-Rémy de-Provence was a refuge the great post-impressionist painter Van Gogh towards the end of his life. He admitted himself in May 1889 and discharged himself in May 1890. However, while here he enjoyed a relatively stable period in a tempestuous life.
The most striking feature of the Monastery is wonderfully tranquil and cared for cloisters. Adorned with roses and box hedges, visitors are free to walk around and enjoy. There are also extensive gardens and at the back a small field where Van Gogh used to work. Upstairs is a recreation of his rather austere bathroom and, quite poignantly, the bedroom in which the great man slept. Like me, you may wish to allow yourself a few moments reflection at this point. Perhaps consider what life consisted of for such a talented man who could never find inner peace.
While at the clinic he produced 100 drawings and 143 oil paintings including such masterpieces as The Irises, The Roadmenders and of course the remarkable Starry Night. Unfortunately you won’t find his work here any more because it’s now all around the world in famous galleries. However, you could buy a reproduction from the shop if you wish to be reminded of your visit.
He left St-Paul in May 1890 and journeyed to his brother Theo’s house at Auvers-sur-Oise near Paris where three months later he took his own life.
Don McClean’s memorable composition “Starry Starry Night”can be listened to and viewed here.