An essential stop on the route of painter Vincent van Gogh’s
life was, somewhat surprisingly, the mining region of Borinage, close to Mons. His stint as a preacher in the village of Cuesmes lasted a little over a year, yet was essential in the artist figuring out his life’s calling. Today, the modest house the young Van Gogh lived in, the Maison du Marais, has been turned into an intimate museum that shows his thought process at the time, through reproductions of his letters and one of his original works. It’s clear that the hardships of the coal miners and farmers in the region would come to have an enormous influence on the painter’s later themes.