This weekend, I was invited to the beautiful wedding of two close friends at the Château de Méry in Méry-sur-Oise, located about 30 kilometers or 45 minutes north of Paris on the SNCF (local train) in the Parc Vexin. With its traditional château and chapel and ultra-modern hotel on the château grounds, this made for the perfect wedding venue. Congratulations, my friends!
Château de Méry
As the wedding was in the evening, a friend and I decided to take advantage of the first sunny day in the Paris area in three weeks, so we headed to the Val d’Oise (Valley of the Oise River) in the morning. After leaving our bags at the château, we walked about 15 minutes through the town of Méry and across the Oise River to Auvers-sur-Oise, famous as the residence and final resting place of Vincent Van Gogh and his younger brother Theo. Auvers is a charming town of stone houses and gardens, with a number of cafes and restaurants. Head straight ahead, up the hill from the river, and you will immediately see the church made famous by Van Gogh’s painting (aptly named the Church in Auvers-sur-Oise), the original of which is in Paris’s Musee d’Orsay. A few hundred meters past the church, winding to the right and up the hill, is the cemetery where you can visit the two brothers’ graves. (There are no signs pointing you to the graves but they are against the stone wall all the way back and to the left from the main entrance to the cemetery.) When you leave the cemetery, continue following the marked chemins through the fields Vincent Van Gogh painted and also where he shot himself. All around Auvers you will see replicas of Van Gogh’s paintings of that same scene. Visit this site if you would like to learn more about Van Gogh’s time in Auvers and the paintings the town inspired. You can also visit Van Gogh’s room in the Auberge Ravoux (for 6 euros) or eat at the auberge’s restaurant.
Vincent & Theo’s Graves, Auvers-sur-Oise
After visiting the church and the cemetery, we were side-tracked by a pleasant walk in the nearby forest, then wound our way back on country roads to town and had lunch at the delightful all-organic restaurant, Le Chemin des Peintres, just downhill from the church:
Le Chemin des Peintres
3 bis, rue de Paris
Tel. 01 30 36 14 15
From the bridge at Auvers-sur-Oise, we followed the dirt path on the Auvers side of the Oise River north towards the town of L’Isle-Adam. Unfortunately, we did not have time to visit L’Isle-Adam on this trip, but we plan to return soon! Still, the walk along the river alone was well worth the time.
Returning to Mery, we walked through the grounds back to the hotel at the château. Château de Méry‘s grounds encompass 27 hectares (about 67 acres) and include trails, reflecting pools and large expanses of well-cared for green grass that you can actually walk and sit on (an abberation for France). We vowed to return for a picnic on the next sunny day we are able!
Getting to Méry:
Méry is easily accessible by local train (under 5 euros each way) departing from Paris’s Gare du Nord. Trains run about every half-hour on weekends, more frequently during the week. Click here for information on train times.