Paul Gauguin and his dream hell
The French painter ended up on Hivo Oa island, after living in Tahiti, the paradise he sought for inspiration, but which he found overly contaminated. On the Marquesas, he painted, while syphilis consumed him, until his death. He was buried in the cemetery in Clavary de Atuona, the island’s capital.
French painter Paul Gauguin lived and died on these islands, seeking to flee civilisation and create more primitive artworks. Another resident, singer-songwriter Jacques Brel, used to sing his famous song Ne me quitte pas (Don’t leave me) while flying his plane through starry nights over the Pacific Ocean.
To get there, you have to fly to Tahiti, the big sister of the islands that comprise French Polynesia, and perhaps the best known. The Marquesas are also a member of this French overseas collective, although their traditions are different. From Tahiti, flights go to Nuku Hiva and Hiva Oa Islands, or if time isn’t an issue, catch the cargo ship used on the Aranui cruise, which takes 14 days to land in what many visitors consider the end of the world.