Visiting van Gogh

Still a little strange to think… but the town where Vincent van Gogh spend his last months, is just a 15 min. drive from my house. I visited the château before, but Saturday was my first visit to Van Gogh’s Auvers sur Oise. Me and my mother started at the church… with a lot of tourist groups. You had to use the quiet moments between two groups to enjoy the atmosphere and take some photo’s.

…and the side from which van Gogh made his painting.

The graveyard not far from the church. Two small stones for Vincent and his brother Theo, among all the crosses showing the last resting places of french families.

…here rest Vincent and Theo van Gogh

We could walk into the little attic room in this building where van Gogh stayed and died after committing suicide.

The house of Dr. Gachet, Vincent’s friend and physician. They currently display modern artist’s work here. In the garden was an exhibition of flowers made from recycled steel.

In the château of Auvers they take you on a trip through the times of the impressionists. Starting in Paris and moving  with them into the countryside.

and then the nice drive back to Cergy-Pontoise. Currently filled with the yellow patches of the canola fields…

We were going to see Van Gogh’s original painting of the church in Auvers in the D’Orsay museum in Paris yesterday, but the 1000 people in the queue and the rain, made us leave that for another day…

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Le château de Saint-Germain-en-Laye

My mother is visiting us for a few weeks. We don’t have the best weather at the moment, but according to the french people this is typical April weather. In one day (and each day) you will have rain and sunshine. Some days we were lucky to be inside when it rains, but the first day in Paris the rain caught us a bit and it was really cold. Later this week we will try again. For now we drove around close to where we live.

Wednesday we went to Saint-Germain-en-Laye, half an hour from us. The beautiful castle now hosts an archaeology museum. Everything from the stone age, iron age, bronze age and so on… The building itself is worth a visit and then there is the garden. We didn’t see all of it, it is just too big. A place to remember for a nice walk.

Le château

the chapel inside the castle

tulips…

…and the rest of the gardens

The gym supporter.

Over the last ten years, gymnastics has been a big part of our lives. We drove to practices every evening and we planned our holidays around competitions… and now in France it is still the same.
It has been more than doing gymnastics. The kids learned certain skills that has come in handy for them. Apart from being able to do flips at strange times and places, they learned discipline, to work hard for a goal, to support your friends even if they compete against you and to handle disappointments… like this one.

This weekend was the zone competition for Franci’s team, but on Thursday she broke a finger when playing handball at school. The other side of this story you already know… french doctors, emergency clinic, x-rays, but we are doing better every time. No problem…

We still went to the competition on Sunday. Franci was on the bench with the team, being the supporter with no nervousness this time in Combs la Ville, just south of Paris.

…but you can still have fun…

The first teams competed at 9am and the last ones finished at 7pm, so we had some time to drive around the area and ended up in Melun. A french king died there in the eleventh century. That we read on a sign, but will have to read the history to know more. It only tells you that the town is very old. : )

Héloïse  and Abélard… a love story from the 1100’s 

We went back to the competition in time to watch the other Cergy’m team, who did excellent and came second. They will compete in June in the France finals.

All the teams…

…then the coaches made an entrance… dressed in flowery girls leotards (yes, the men too) and gave the girls a good laugh, but Mandi thought its maybe too embarrassing for Fred to show any photo’s here. Audrey of course looked lovely : ) Ok, maybe just one to show you the surprise on the girls faces…

after all the fun and excitement we had to drive back to the northern side of Paris…


Spring is in the air…

Yes, its officially the end of winter. Temperatures are up and we can think of putting our jackets away. Maybe not too far yet… today is a bit chilly again. : ) The first sign that spring is coming are the daffodils. Many of them and everywhere.

and then some small bulbs trying to compete with them…

The streets are lined with pink blossoms. For them you have to be quick. I watched one long street with trees on both sides. A pink passage, but I waited too long. Greedy… wanted more pink flowers and then when I arrived with my camera the flowers were covering the street. C’est normal. Well, I didn’t get to photograph the long street, but still some nice pink trees.

…and some just show their soft, new green leaves…

and then the tulips arrive with their deep, bright colours and take over the show…

I will leave them for a next post. They need a bit more time to be at their best… : )

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