Born in the Netherlands, Vincent van Gogh famously moved to the Provençal town of Arles in 1888—attracted by the beautiful landscapes and unique light—and his timethere marked one of his most creative periods. Here are a few ways to follow in van Gogh’s footsteps through Provence.
The top destination on art lovers’ itineraries is the UNESCO World Heritage Site of Arles, where van Gogh lived alongside fellow painter Paul Gauguin after leaving Paris. It was here that he produced memorable works like The Yellow House and The Night Cafe. The famous yellow house where the artist resided was destroyed during World War II, but fans can still visit many of the real-life locations immortalized in his works on a variety of art-centered tours.
From May 1889 until May 1890, van Gogh was a self-admitted patient at the Monastery Saint-Paul de Mausole—an asylum in Saint-Rémy-de-Provence. It was during his time in psychiatric care here that van Gogh produced artworks including The Starry Night and Self-Portrait—both now widely considered masterpieces. Aside from attracting art aficionados on van Gogh tours of the region, the historic town hosts a thriving market popular with locals and visitors.
Located in France’s Alpilles mountains, the medieval clifftop village of Les Baux-de-Provence is home to winding cobbled streets, historic ramparts, and original 16th-century houses. What the village lacks in direct links to van Gogh himself, it more than makes up for in spectacular scenery. Gazing out over the cliffs to the rolling hills, olive groves, and vineyards beyond, it’s easy to see how van Gogh was so inspired by the countryside of southern France.