|We arrived in Mantes la Jolie, our docking port for our trip to Auvers-sur-Oise. Mantes dates back to the 6th century ans was destroyed 3 times within a 40 year period.
From here we took an hour bus trip through the hilly country side that is classified as a National Park. There were many farms...sugar beets (Do you know it takes 9 square meters to produce 1 kilogram of sugar?), winter wheat, field corn.
Our Dutch guide was the guide for the 60 Minutes crew when they did a story on Van Gogh. She lives in Auvers.
Auvers-sur-Oise is the city where Van Gogh spent his last 70 days of his life. This is where he committed suicide. He created 78 paintings during this time. He created what is considered to be one of his greatest works, "The Church of Auvers".
Auvers-sur-Oise is located in a northwest suburb of Paris, population 7000, 16.9 miles from center of Paris. It dates back to the 5th century BC. Most of the houses now were built during the 18th and 19th centuries on 12th and 13th century foundations.
During the 19th century many painters lived and worked here. Vincent Van Gogh came here to be treated by Dr. Paul Gachet. Our guide informed us that her house is across the street from Dr. Gachet's house.
Photos of the paintings Van Gogh did in Auvers are displayed at the actual site.
We visited the room where he lived and died while in Auvers. We passed by the famous church of Auvers on the way to the cemetery to see the graves of Vincent and his brother Theo.
The cemetery used to be next to the church, but following an epidemic of cholera it became too small. The remains from the old cemetery were moved up the hill to the new cemetery and buried in one place under a marker.
The graves here are 30 meters deep with family members buried on top of each other. Once it gets full, the remains from the first three levels are put together into one coffin.
We had a great guide. She was knowledgeable and made the tour interesting.
We returned to the boat for lunch and immediately set sail for Vernon.
The sun was shining and we headed to the top deck, bundled in several layers and a blanket we enjoyed the scenery blow by. We traveled through some locks, though not as impressive as those on our last cruise. We traveled from kilometer 108 to 148.
There were many white chalk cliffs on the right bank. In the cliffs can be seen openings of caves that served as dwellings and chapels. The material for the Arc of Triomphe came from the quarries in this area.
At kilometer 133 is La Roche Gayon with castle ruins and a round keep. It was once the most important castle on the Seine. Built in the 11 th century it protected France from the Normans. Below the ruins are caves and doors which concealed stables and staff quarters. Corridors lead to a second castle at village level built in the 13th century. In 1944 Rommel had his headquarters here.
At kilometer 147, we pass by Giverny where we had visited Monet's house.
We arrived at Vernon.