Travel Muse: 5 Destinations That Inspired Famous Works of Art

If you’re an art buff, or even just the sort to enjoy a beautiful painting, you may have stared into the brush strokes of a Gogh or Monet piece and wished you could actually go there. Well, surprise! Maybe you can. A number of the most famous works of art have been based on real settings, meaning that your next vacation could take you somewhere acrylic or oil based — except perhaps somewhat less messy. So instead of wandering through an art museum on your next vacation, buy a ticket and wander through the painting itself — or as close as you can get.

cafe terrace

1. Vincent Van Gogh’s “Cafe Terrace”

Though Van Gogh was of Dutch origins, he spent a great deal of time in France, and this specific painting was made in Arles at the Place du Forum in 1888. You can still go there and wander through the area, and even stop in at the cafe the painting was based on. Of course, there’s more to Arles than just this patch of coffee shops, and if you’re interested in continuing the art experience, you can head to the Musee Reattu, a modern art museum that houses two Picasso paintings and many other worthwhile works. You can also rent a bike and cycle through vineyards and countryside, some of which, according to Lonely Planet, was featured in other landscape paintings from Van Gogh.

Recommended activity and food to complete the experience: Have a cup of coffee at the terrace and take in the local corn fields and scenery. Later, eat hefty amounts of toxic paint and stop in at a nearby psychiatric hospital — or just cut off an ear if you want to go the classic route.