Chez Bob was not the only lingering image from our 2007 trip to Provence. I was happy to return to the hauntingly peaceful Saint-Paul asylum in Saint-Remy, where Vincent Van Gogh voluntarily admitted himself and remained from May 1889 and May 1890.
This beautiful place began as an Augustine monastery in the 12th century, and was converted to an asylum in the 19th century. It seems like it would have been a therapeutic site for the mentally ill, with its abundant natural beauty and quiet setting outside of town. There is a palpable sense of peace in this place today.
The walls of the rooms contain fascinating information about the daily life at the asylum and typical treatments given to the patients. Van Gogh’s room has been set up as it would have looked when he was there. All is very well done.
I am back in Paris now, for my final two weeks until our return in January. Our time in Provence was as perfect as we could have hoped it to be. Good friends + abundant natural beauty + amazing and enduring feats of human accomplishment = a most fulfilling vacation. Of course, good food and wine didn’t hurt, either.