Vincent moved to Paris from Antwerp in February of 1886 to live with his brother and pursue painting. After living in a cramped apartment until June, they move to Montmartre, an artist's community up on a windmill covered hill overlooking the center of the city and its environs beyond. Paris in the 1880's has seen the machine age begin and train travel has made the cool suburbs accessible during hot summer days. Factories and smokestacks have begun to encroach on the outskirts as the city expands beyond its old ramparts.
Vincent moves to Arles, an ancient Roman city in Provence, not far from Marseilles but more inland and on the Rhone river. He rents a large room near the train station and the cafe he paints at night is right around the corner. He enjoys Sunday bullfights in the old colliseum and paints the tomb-lined road of Les Allyscamps, studded with Roman sarcophagus. The harsh seasonal winds in Provence, called mistrals, challenge his work outside from time to time but it is in Arles where he masters the sunflower and some feel the cypress and the olive tree as well as the southern light inspires him to new and brash color combinations.
Montmartre in the 1880's was an artist's community and a place for Parisians to let their hair down and dance the night away in one of the many cabarets. At one time there were over a dozen working windmills on this breezy mountaintop which overlooks the city center and all of Paris. Vincent lives and paints in Montmartre, depicting the windmills and small gardens which remind of his home in Zundert, Holland. In the summer he walks down the hill to the west to Asnieres and paints during the day, then packs his still wet canvases under his arm and trudges back up the hill home each day.
Auvers is a village on the Oise river about 35 kilometers from Paris. In the 1880's it was a sleepy little hamlet with homes of thatched roofs and fields of wheat and other crops in the vast stretches of farmland outside of town. The still standing Ravoux Inn is where Vincent stayed, a short walk from his physician and friend, Dr. Paul Gachet. Vincent spends the final six months of his life in Auvers, painting haystacks and cottages and portraits whenever he can find a model. Vincent and Theo are buried next to each other in the cemetery of Auvers Sur Oise.
Paintings created in Asnieres Sur Seine, a town in the suburbs of Paris within walking distance of Montmartre.