Day 44, July 24 – Thursday – Conflans, France

We sailed this morning around 7:30 for Conflans–Saint-Honorine. It is in this area that the Seine, the Epte and the Oise rivers which are referred to as “Rivers of Light” are near each other and it was here that the Impressionist artist flocked to paint landscapes and scenes that have become recognizable around the world. We had a walking tour of Auvers-sur-Oise, the village where Vincent van Gogh came to live after his release from the asylum in nearby Saint-Remy. Van Gogh remained here for three months, until his suicide in 1890, and during this time he created some of his most brilliant pieces. He produced almost 80 paintings in this three month period including Wheat Field With Crows, one of his last works.

During the morning cruise we saw the Château de La Roche-Guyon which was built in the 12th century, controlling a river crossing of the Seine, itself one of the routes to and from Normandy. The Abbé Suger described its grim aspect: "At the summit of a steep promontory, dominating the bank of the great river Seine, rises a frightful castle without title to nobility, called La Roche. Invisible on the surface, it is hollowed out of a high cliff. The able hand of the builder has established in the mountainside, digging into the rock, an ample dwelling provided with a few miserable openings". In the mid-13th century, a fortified manor house (the château-bas) was added below.

The Chateau has had a long and interesting history. After D-Day, German Field Marshal Erwin Rommel defended Normandy against the Allies in World War II from a bunker located here. The castle also was Rommel’s headquarters

I don’t remember the town, but an interesting church.

Another view.

From the wall in Conflans.

A street view.

Van Gogh trail through Auvers-sur Oise.

Cathedral he painted.

His work compared to the original. These were some of Van Gogh’s darkest days.

Inside the cathedral. This is our local guide’s church. Her children were baptized here and one child was married here.

It’s a beautiful old church.

Van Gogh and his brother Theo’s grave.

The wheat field where Van Gogh did many of his last painting and near to where he attempted suicide which ultimately did result is his death.

Wheat Field With Crows

We saw many units like this which contained advertisements. This is the only one I saw which was a pay WC. It cost .50 euros.

Conflans has a large contingency of retired barges which have become sort of a retirement community for old barge operators. Many are highly modified with gardens and play areas for children. There is even a barge chapel, shown above.

Just an interesting color..

The barges are parked upto six deep.

This is the home for many people.

A sunken and apparently forgotten boat (except for the birds).

The local cathedral as seen from the shore.

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