Van Gogh’s Café Terrace at Night… where is it?


Vincent thought strategically of what paintings he wanted in his studio to show Gauguin. He chose a theme – sunflowers – and set about painting them. He wrote to Theo, “Now that I hope to live with Gauguin in a studio of our own, I want to make decorations for the studio. Nothing but big flowers. Next door to your shop, in the restaurant, you know there is a lovely decoration of flowers; I always remember the big sunflowers in the window there.

If I carry out this idea there will be a dozen panels. So the whole thing will be a symphony in blue and yellow. I am working at it every morning from sunrise on, for the flowers fade so soon, and the thing is to do the whole in one rush.”

If you want to see a virtual tour of some of Van Gogh’s Arles paintings, have a look at these rooms at the Van Gogh Museum in Amsterdam.

So, we stood there in Place Lamartine, thinking about all of Vincent’s hopes and dreams for the yellow house.

The Night Cafe in the Place Lamartine

This is the Night Cafe. It was just around the corner from the Yellow House. It too is gone. It's a good thing we weren't looking for it.

The next place we wanted to find was the location of the Café Terrace at Night, which some people mistakenly call Night Café. The problem with this, is that Van Gogh painted another slightly lesser known interior of a café with a pool table in the middle and garish red walls which is known as the Night Café. Anyway, Café Terrace at Night is still an operating café now known as Café Van Gogh to help the tourists and rake in more bucks.

Café Terrace at Night

This is what we were looking for. We knew it still existed. We wanted to sit on the terrace and enjoy an over-priced drink. But that would mean we'd have to find it first.

This was a case of not being able to find something that according to the maps should be dead easy. After all, it’s on Place du Forum, surrounded by other restaurants and a hotel and is one of the biggest attractions in town. But could we follow the map to the café? Non!


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