A museum or gallery visit is a great place to begin when you arrive in a new city. Many of the world’s finest works of art, or other memorable creations, can be found in these magnificent buildings, all wonderfully displayed.
The days are getting longer, the sun is shining warmer, and the snow is beginning to melt. The aircraft that have whisked us to the warmer climates of Mexico and the Caribbean will soon be carrying passengers to quite another destination – the wonders of Europe, where exciting cities offer a myriad of sights and attractions to be discovered and explored.
When arriving in a new city, where do you start? A visit to the local museum or art gallery is a great beginning. Much of the city, region, and country is brought to life in each exhibit. You can learn about nature, architecture, history, culture, and the arts as you wander through the halls of these magnificent buildings. Many of the world’s most precious and most recognizable pieces of art can be found in the museums and galleries of Europe’s cities – masterpieces wonderfully displayed for all to appreciate.
The Louvre in Paris is one of the most famous of all museums in the world. Once a royal palace, the Louvre is home to priceless pieces like the Mona Lisa, Winged Victory, and Venus de Milo since 1793.
Treasures from around the world are housed at the British Museum in London. Free tours and talks are offered throughout the day. This summer you can enjoy a special exhibit titled “Life and death in Pompeii and Herculaneum” – artifacts from two cities buried after the eruption of Mount Vesuvius almost 2,000 years ago.
When in Rome…the Vatican Museums are a “must see”. Art collected by popes for centuries includes paintings, sculptures and other pieces. The Sistine Chapel, the Raphael Rooms, the Loggia and the Borgia Apartment are monumental works – frescos that fill the walls and ceilings of many sections of the Vatican. Please note that if you are planning on visiting the museum before the New Pope has been chosen, the Sistine Chapel will remain closed.
The opening of Amsterdam’s new Rijksmuseum takes place on April 13, after 10 years of renovation and restoration. Priceless artwork by Dutch masters including Rembrandt, Vermeer, and Jan Steen will now find their glory in the Gallery of Honor.
Tours and attractions can be arranged when you make your flight and accommodation reservations. One advantage is that some attractions offer a “Fast Track” or “Skip the Line” option when the entrance fee is prepaid overseas. This means significantly shorter wait times at many popular attractions like the Louvre Museum in Paris and the Vatican Museums in Rome.
You can also prearrange “Hop on – hop off” tours London, Paris and Rome.
Daily flights are offered to Paris, London, and Rome from Toronto. During the summer months Air Transat offers four flights weekly to Amsterdam. New this year, Air Canada’s “Rouge” will be offering direct flights from Toronto to Edinburgh, Venice and Athens.
Every city has a museum. In fact, many larger cities have several, each providing a unique glimpse of life on earth. Take the time to visit one on your next trip to Europe or anywhere. You just may get to the “art” of the matter.
Linda L. Loewen is leisure travel manager with Uniglobe Geo Travel in Winnipeg.