When Van Gogh moved to Paris, he lived with his brother Theo. In June 1886, they moved into an apartment on Rue Lepic. The house had a sweeping view of the city, which Theo described in a letter. He concluded, 'The different effects produced by atmospheric variations make it a subject for I don't know how many paintings.'
Vincent van Gogh used the view from this appartment as inspiration for this painting. He adopted a rather unusual approach to the view. On part of the canvas, Van Gogh used the stippling technique he had learned from the Pointillists. On other parts, he painted loosely and freely. Van Gogh probably felt that laying down the little dots was too rigid and time-consuming. He preferred a more spontaneous way of painting.