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Europe: London, Paris, Amsterdam, Madrid

geography

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Europe

Europe

London

Kings and Queens of England, the Rolling Stones, Charles Dickens, and Jack the Ripper all called London home and indeed this mighty metropolis does have something for everyone.  Everywhere you turn is a landmark famous from history or literature, every pub, nightclub or fashion boutique the potential origin of some world-wide trend.  London's extensive attractions are too numerous to list -- you'll just have to go and see for yourself.

Paris

Paris is exciting, Paris is romantic.  Paris has art, history, shopping, food, nightlife and entertainment of all kinds. You could spend years in Paris and still not experience everything this remarkable city has to offer.  Highlights of a shorter stay are certain to include the Louvre, Musee D'Orsay, and Pompidou Center museums, a trip up the Eiffel tower, visits to the spectacular churches of Notre Dame, Sacre Ceour, and Madelene, and hours spent in the shops and cafes of the famous Latin Quarter.

Amsterdam

To some, the name 'Amsterdam' conjures up images of picturesque canals, tulips, and Rembrandt.  To others, the notorious 'Red Light District' and Amsterdam's tolerant social policies evoke an 'anything goes' atmosphere of freewheeling excitement.  No matter what your preconceptions, however, Amsterdam is guaranteed to surprise and delight.

Brussels

Because Brussels in not flamboyant, it is easy to underestimate the depth and charm of this lovely and vibrant city.  Brussels offers spectacular squares, museums packed with treasures from around the world, boisterous nightlife, and world-class food in an understated style the combines the best of Northern and Southern Europe.

Madrid

Spain is a land of extremes.  Beauty and brutality have flourished side by side for  hundreds of years, leaving behind art, architecture, culture and traditions full of complexity and contradiction.  Madrid, Spain's wildly contemporary and bustling capital, encapsulates this dynamic tension, offering hints and glimpses of the glorious past from the Prado, one of Europe's great museums, to the bullring, where grace and gore combine in an unsettling spectacle.

Lisbon

Though the primacy of Portugal during the Age of Discovery five hundred years ago recedes farther and farther into the mists of time, memories of that era still echo through the narrow streets, grand squares, spectacular cathedrals, and charming courtyards of Lisbon, one of Europe's hidden treasures.  Enjoy a slice of living history, great food and drink, and the charm of a seaside city in the easy-going and picturesque setting of Lisbon.

Edinburgh

Like a superb single malt whiskey, Edinburgh is the product of a rich tradition, aged to perfection, smooth as silk, and may leave you feeling a little dizzy if you try to take it in too quickly.  But appreciating the splendid architecture, full festival calendar, and proud heritage of Edinburgh is no acquired taste.  This great city has become one of the premier destinations in Europe.

StdBtns

Sightseeing

This area explores the sights of the city

[M]

Museums

This area shows the major museums of the city, with movies and reproductions of pieces of artwork in each museum.

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Environs

The physical surroundings and beauty of the city.

[M]

Excursions

Detailed trips through the city

[M]

Shopping

Places in the city best known for shopping.

[M]

Restaurants/Hotels

Some of the best restaurants of the city are featured here.

[M]

Travel Information

 Sites of Travel & Leisure Information Services.

[A]

Services

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London

Sightseeing

Buckingham Palace [M]

If the royal standard is flying over fabulous Buckingham Palace it means the monarch is in residence. The London home and office of the Crown since Queen Victoria; there are no public tours of the palace.

Houses of Parliament [M]

Big Ben’s 316 foot clock tower is the most famous feature of this masterpiece of British Gothic architecture. The Houses of Parliament -- Lords and Commons -- meet here in the Palace of Westminster, an enormous structure of more than 1100 rooms.

Trafalgar Square [M]

Trafalgar Square in central London commemorates the historic Battle of Trafalgar, which established British mastery of the seas for 150 years. A statue of Lord Nelson, who died heroically in the battle, presides over the square from atop his 167-foot pedestal.

Piccadilly [M]

Swinging hub of London’s social life, Piccadilly Circus centers, appropriately enough, around the statue and fountain of Eros. Shops, restaurants, and theaters line the square, and the London Pavilion, now features Rock Circus, a presentation of the history of Rock and Roll.

Changing of the Guard [M]

The Changing of the Guard ceremony takes place daily in summer as the Old Guard, which assembles in the palace forecourt, goes off duty and the New Guard comes on.

Westminster [M]

Westminster Abbey contains within its walls some of the most glorious examples of medieval architecture in London. The Poet’s Corner contains the graves or memorials of many of the greatest writers in the English language — Chaucer, Milton, and Shakespeare are just a few of them.

Covent Garden [M]

Covent Garden, once the fresh fruit and vegetable market of old London, is now home to trendy shops and restaurants. London’s most beautiful theater, The Royal Opera House, which includes the Royal Ballet, is here, as is Drury Lane, the Royal Theater since the time of Charles II.

Tower of London [M]

An imposing and forbidding fortress of stone, the Tower of London is the city’s supreme medieval monument. Since its construction by William the Conqueror more than 900 years ago, it has served as a battlement, royal prison, and repository of the priceless Crown Jewels.

St. Paul’s Cathedral [M]

St. Paul’s Cathedral, designed by Christopher Wren, is one of the great churches of Europe. In 1981, it was the site of the royal wedding of Prince Charles and Diana.

Speaker’s Corner [M]

Ranting and raving, would-be orators, eccentrics and political animals of all stripes harangue onlookers about everything from hellfire to Utopia. The crowd, in turn, heckles the speakers mercilessly.

10 Downing Street [M]

Number 10 Downing Street is the Prime Minister’s residence and the government of England. From its Cabinet Room, the country has been run since Sir Robert Walpole accepted the house from George II in 1735.

War Room [M]

Visitors can view 19 rooms of Winston Churchill’s wartime bunker, the nerve center of the war effort from 1939-45.

Museums

British Museum [L]

The British Museum features a collection of antiquities from around the world.

Victoria and Albert Museum [L]

The Victoria and Albert Museum specialized in decorative and applied arts and design.

National Portrait Gallery [L]

Some of the most famous faces in English history are captured on canvas in the National Portrait Gallery. The members of Parliament, Queen Elizabeth I, and Randolph Churchill, are a few of the best portraits on display here.

Tate Gallery [L]

The Tate Gallery features exhibits of classical and modern art.

National Gallery [L]

The National Gallery is exceptionally strong in Flemish and Dutch masters.

Courtauld Institute [L]

Located in LondonUniversity, the Courtauld Institute Galleries display artworks from the Primitives to the Impressionists.

Environs

Scenes [M]

London is one of the world’s great cities, a busy metropolis whose empire was built on commercial enterprise and cultural strength at least as much as military might. Everything in London seems familiar, from the pubs and double-decker busses to famous monuments to the manners and accents of the people.

Theaters [M]

Welcome to the wild West End, heart of London’s world-famous theater district. West End theaters feature the newest big-budget plays and musicals, often with big-name stars during their first runs.

Pubs [M]

London’s cozy, wood-paneled pubs are a great place to relax with a fresh-drawn pint of full-bodied stout or lager, chat with friends, and enjoy a hearty meal of shepherd’s pie, fish and chips, or other 'pub fare.'

Walking Map [W]

Excursions

Salisbury [M]

Reaching upwards into the heavens, Salisbury Cathedral embodies the ideals and aspirations of medieval gothic architecture.

Greenwich / Cutty Sark [M]

In Greenwich, just outside London, visitors can see and explore the Cutty Sark, a fully-restored tall-masted clipper ship built in 1869 that once sailed the South China Sea, loaded down with tea from the orient.

Shopping

Camden Lock Flea Market [M]

On weekends, the funky neighborhood of Camden Town is the site of the Camden Lock flea market. Bargain hunters and fans of hand-made crafts, hard-to-find collectibles, and souvenirs at a discount will find the market certainly worth the trip.

World-Class Shopping [M]

From the famed clothiers of Saville Row to the booksellers of Charing Cross Road to the fine fashions of Simpson’s Piccadilly, London is one of the world’s great shopping destinations. Harrods, the quintessential London department store, offers a dizzying selection of items, and London’s antique stores offer treasures not found anywhere else.

Restaurants/Hotels

Bibendum Restaurant [M]

English cuisine has gotten a bad rap over the years, but restaurants like the Bibendum are aiming to wipe the slate clean. Light, tasty, innovative dishes are the order of the day here, where diners can enjoy the best foods and wines in an atmosphere of class and tasteful luxury.

Pelham Hotel [M]

For visitors who want to enjoy their stay in the lap of Victorian luxury, here’s a possibility. As you can see, its rooms are exquisitely furnished with beautiful antiques and the accommodations offer enough space for the most demanding traveler.

Anthenaeum Hotel [M]

Conveniently located in the West End theater district, the Athenaeum offers comfort and luxury in a stylish, contemporary setting. The rooms are large, airy, and well furnished, offering all the comforts and conveniences a modern traveler could desire. The service here is first-rate.

Travel Information

Address

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Paris

Sightseeing

Arc de Triomphe [M]

The Arc de Triomphe, built to commemorate the military victories of Napoleon, is one of the enduring monuments of Paris and France. The inlaid sculpture glorifies the empire of reason which Napoleon tried to impose on Europe.

Champs Elysees [M]

The Avenue Champs Elysees is surely one of the world’s most famous boulevards. Running from Place de la Concorde to the Arc de Triomphe at Place Charles De Gaulle, the Champs Elysees features some of the world’s most exclusive (and expensive) boutiques, cafés, and theaters.

Eiffel Tower [M]

Originally constructed amid ferocious controversy in 1889 to commemorate the 100th anniversary of the French Revolution, the Tour Eiffel is now universally embraced as the unofficial symbol of France.

Notre-Dame [M]

This text is yet to be written, or even recorded.

Napoleon’s Tomb [M]

Defeated, exiled and disgraced, Napoleon’s body was returned to Paris for burial, and his tomb remains on display in the Hotel des Invalides.

Palais Royale [M]

Built as a home to Cardinal Richelieu in the 17th Century, burned as a symbol of a hated empire in 1870, the Palais Royale has served many functions in its long history. Today it is home to the Council of State and closed to the public.

Place de la Concorde [M]

The Place de la Concorde occupies a central place in the layout of Paris, and this striking public square commands spectacular vistas up and down the major arteries of the Right Bank.

Opera [M]

The Opera Garnier is the most dramatic example of the opulent architecture of mid-19th century France. Though largely replaced as a working opera house by the Opera Bastille, the Opera Garnier’s unique architectural charm make it a favorite spot for visitors.

Pompidou Center [M]

More than any other building in recent memory, the Pompidou Center at Chatelet Les Halles represents the continued ability of Paris to shock, innovate, and charm the world with its style. The outlandish superstructure of the Pompidou Center houses an impressive collection of art and rotating special exhibits.

Tuileries [M]

For a respite from the fast pace of city life, try a stop at the Tuileries gardens. Showing the art of the French garden at its most elegant, the Tuileries gardens extend west from the Grand Louvre down the right bank of the Seine.

La Madeleine [M]

The classical facade of La Madeleine dates from the mid-1700s, but the building was not consecrated as a church until 1842. Inside are several notable alter pieces and a great organ.

Saint Chapell [M]

The high Gothic beauty of Saint Chapell almost defies description. Built in the 13th Century by Louis IX (St. Louis), the cathedral was originally the repository of holy relics prized by medieval monarchs, and the house of worship for the royal court.

Museums

Louvre (Sculpture) [L]

From the sculptures of the Pharoahs and the monumental Assyrian griffin-like reliers of three and four thousand years ago to the classic order of ancient’s Greece’s Venus de Milo or the magnificent sensuality of Michelangelo’s Dying Slave, the Louvre stands without peer as holding the world’s greatest collection of art sculpture.

Louvre (Paintings) [L]

The collection, probably the richest in the world, include: Leonardo da Vinci, Botticelli, Raphael, Manet, Cimabue, Titian, Goya, Velazquez, Rembrandt, Gainsborough, Reynolds, Fra Angelico, Mantegna, Pisanello, Bellini, Ghirlandaio, Veronese, Correggio, Caravaggio, the father-son Tiepolo’s, David, Ingres, Gericault, El Greco, van Eyck, Rubens, Delacroix. The works included here are by Botticelli, Leonardo, Manet and Raphael.

Musée d’Orsay (Cézanne, Renoir, & Others) [L]

This former railroad station today houses one of the most important art collections in the world. None even rival it in its holdings of French art produced from the late 1840s to the early 1870s, and from Impressionism to the birth of Modern Art, around 1905. This icon area includes works by Cézanne, Degas, Manet, Renoir, and Seurat.

Musée d’Orsay (Monet) [L]

As the true founder of the Impressionist Movement, Claude Monet’s paintings reveal an original approach to the places he visited. Works shown in this icon area include Le Dejeuner, 1873; Poppies, 1873; Open-Air Study, Woman Turned to the Right, 1886; Rouen Cathedral, 1894; Haystacks, 1891; Japanese Footbridge, 1900; Water Lily Pond, 1899.; and Houses of Parliament, 1899-1901.

Musée d’Orsay (Van Gogh) [L]

In the winter of 1888, while Cézanne was painting in seclusion in Aix and Seurat was attracting attention in Paris, a young earnest Dutchman left Paris for the south of France in search of that region’s intense light and color. While the entire range of his work can be appreciated in the d’Orsay, at least seven of them are available here in this icon area.

Cluny [L]

The National Museum of Cluny owns one of the world’s finest collections of arts and crafts of the middle ages.

Picasso Museum [L]

The Picasso Museum features the artist’s personal collection of his own paintings, sculptures, collages and constructions spanning his entire prolific career, plus the work of his friends, influences and contemporaries, Cézanne, Renoir, Matisse, and Rousseau.

Environs

Scenes [M]

A living, breathing city of two million and the capital of France, Paris has always had one foot firmly planted in the here-and-now, and the other in its glorious past.

View from Samaritaine [M]

The roof of Samaritaine offers a spectacular view of the heart of Paris, from older buildings of the Isle de la Cite and Notre Dame cathedral, clear across to Basilica of Sacre Coeur on the high ground of Monmartre.

Cafés [M]

Café culture is an integral part of Parisian life. From elegant watering holes to bohemian hang-outs, cafés are where Parisians relax over a café au lait or light snack, read Le Figaro or Paris Match, and discuss everything from art to politics.

Palais Royale [P]

The grounds of the Palais Royale are off limits unless you happen to be a member, employee, guest, or close personal friend of the French Government, but it is possible to view the enclosed courtyard from the street. The palace was originally constructed for the powerful French Cardinal Richelieu in the 17th century and it retains much of its classical charm.

Champs de Mars [P]

Champs de Mars is a natural resting point on a walking tour of the Left Bank. A bench on its green lawns offers an excellent view of the Eiffel Tower and, at the other end of the park, Place des Invalides, the former military hospital which is now houses a museum and the tomb of Napoleon I.

Place de la Concorde [P]

One of the central intersection of Paris’s Right Bank is Place de la Concorde. It’s worth braving the traffic to get to the Egyptian Obelisk in the center, which offers vistas up and down the Champs Elysees from the Arc de Triomphe to the Louvre.

La Defense [P]

In contrast to the picturesque historical Paris familiar to most people is the aggressively modern working Paris, the Place de la Defense business park west of the main part of the city. The centerpiece of Place de la Defense is the Grande Arche, conceived as a modernist answer to the Arch de Triomphe.

Excursions

Chateau Chantilly [M]

One popular day-trip from Paris is the lovely Chateau Chantilly. 30 miles north of Paris, this elegant country estate features buildings in an assortment of architectural styles. Inside the Chateau is a fine collection of art, and the grounds are littered with statues and sculpture

Shopping

World-Class Shopping [M]

Shoppers can take their pick of styles from Yves St. Laurent, Edouard Rambaud, or shop till you drop in the enormous Galleries Lafayette. Shoppers flock to Paris for the unusual, as well, like the Left Bank bird market, or the many book stalls along the Seine, which offer vintage postcards, used paperbacks, and collectors items side by side.

Restaurants/Hotels

Hotels [M]

Paris abounds in first class accommodations, like Hotel Montelambertand le Grand Hotel with its impressive facade or even the Hotel Meuricethe Gestapo headquarters during the German occupation.

Travel Information

Address

This icon will drive [1] a locator and services text caption and [2] if clicked will go directly to the Amex T&L complete text for the particular city.

Amsterdam

Sightseeing

Houses Along Canal [M]

When these houses were built, back in the 1600’s, the government taxed the owners based on frontage, so the rich merchants who built them decided to build upwards. Thus, most of these opulent homes are tall and narrow, with a wide façade indicating a truly wealthy owner.

Concert Gebouw [M]

The acoustics in this elegant concert hall is among the best in Europe. Holland’s foremost orchestra, the Concertgebouworkest, performs free lunchtime concerts every Wednesday.

Walletjes/Red Light District [M]

Many years ago Amsterdam legalized prostitution. By locating all the sex shops and prostitutes in the notorious Red Light District, or Walletjes, officials ensured that anyone interested would know where to find it, and other residents of the city would not be bothered.

Haarlem [M]

Located 14 miles west of Amsterdam, Haarlem is a quiet town with a lot to offer. The major sights here are the Frans Hals Museum, the Teylers Museum, and the Grote Kerk.

Museums

Anne Frank House [M]

During the German occupation in World War 2, this secret door behind a bookcase hid eight Jews for 25 terrifying months. One of them, Anne Frank, kept a diary of her experiences and observations. The Anne Frank house, with all her personal momentos, has been preserved as it was before her execution.

Van Gogh Museum [L]

Opened in 1973, about 200 paintings and 500 drawings by Vincent Van Gogh are housed here.

Rijksmuseum [L]

Works by the Dutch master painters Rembrandt, Vermeer, Van Dyck, and others can be found in Amsterdam’s excellent Rijksmuseum.

Environs

Grachten [P]

A distinctive feature of Amsterdam that makes it one of the world’s most beautiful cities are the fabulous canals, or grachten. The main canals radiate out from the center of the city, where the periodically intersect smaller grachten laid out in concentric circles so that the city plan somewhat resembles a spider web. The townhouses that stand behind the trees were once home to the wealthy merchants of the 16th and 17th century.

Red Light District [P]

During the day, Amsterdam’s famous, or infamous, Red Light district looks like just another city neighborhood. The streets and buildings are in character with the rest of the city, the area is home to “non-red light” businesses, and regular citizens of Amsterdam walk the streets and go about their business.

Walking Maps [W]

Shopping

Diamonds [M]

Since the diamond trade was introduced to Amsterdam in the 16th century, the city remains one of the world’s most important diamond centers. Most factories and diamond shops offer demonstrations of diamond polishing.

Restaurants/Hotels

Restaurant Speciaal [M]

This restaurant, the favorite of the Russian KGB chief, is known for the Indonesian dining tradition of rijsttafels, a tradition imported from the former Dutch colony. A variety of fish, meat, and poultry dishes line the tables, and beer is the usual choice to chase down the spicy fare.

Travel Information

Address

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Brussels

Sightseeing

Grand Place [M]

This square is one of the most scintillating urban squares in the world. You go there to gaze at the Hotel de Ville or simply to admire the extraordinary Baroque sculpture of the guild houses themselves.

Architecture [M]

The buildings on Grand Place were mainly built in the late 17th century. The man who introduced this rich Italian Baroque style to Flanders was the Flemish artist Peter Paul Rubens.

Erasmus House [M]

This 15th century brick house is the home of one of the great figures of the Renaissance, Erasmus. The walls are crammed with reproductions of portraits of Erasmus by Holbein and Durer.

Mannekin Pis [M]

Brussels is especially proud of Mannekin Pis, this fountain of a small boy relieving himself in public.

St. Michael’s [M]

With its splendid twin towers and soaring interior, Brussels Cathedral is one of the triumphs of Flemish Gothic architecture. Modeled on the Gothic cathedrals of northern France, the cathedral was begun in 1226.

Museums

Royal Museum of Fine Art [L]

One of the great picture galleries of the world, the Royal Museum of Fine Art combines the Museum of Ancient Art and the Museum of Modern Art. The two buildings are linked by an escalator.

Museum of African Art [M]

In this museum, a 70-foot long canoe fashioned from a single tree trunk and the variety of African masks are probably the most impressive examples of Congolese workmanship within this superb collection of African art.

Horta Museum [M]

As an Art Nouveau architect, Victor Horta’s genius lay in his ability to create a sense of opulence and spaciousness where little space existed. His family house and studio, now the Horta Museum is suffused with the alluring sensuality of Art Nouveau.

Royal Museum of Art & History [M]

The vast museum of art and history is packed with a diverse collection of archeological finds, mosaics, sculpture, tapestry, glass and porcelain. The collection is largely composed of Belgian antiquities, but there are sizable sections devoted to Egypt, the Classical world, the Middle East, the Orient and the Americas.

Autoworld [M]

At Autoworld, you can stroll leisurely through a private collection of gleaming vintage cars and trucks. Inspect a Model-T Ford, a Dusenberg or a Cadillac. There are 450 automobiles to choose from.

Environs

Art & History Museum [P]

The vast Royal Museum of Art and History is packed with a diverse collection of archeological finds, mosaics, sculptures, tapestries, glass and porcelain. Many of the antiquities are of Belgian origin, but there are also large exhibits from Egypt and the Middle East, Asia, and the New World.

Autoworld [P]

If you like cars, you should definitely make time to stop at Autoworld. One of the vast iron and glass halls of Leopold II’s 1880 Palais du Cinquantenaire is crammed with a private collection of 450 gleaming vintage cars and trucks, including many rare beauties.

Shopping

Shopping [M]

From TinTin, the famous Belgian cartoon character to more traditional dolls, Brussels is a shopping mecca. From handkerchiefs and doilies to wedding veils and vast tablecloths, all intricately worked, Belgian lace is one of the most popular souvenirs, and there is a huge selection.

Travel Information

Address

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Madrid

Sightseeing

Palace [M]

Madrid’s spectacular Royal Palace is a glittering jewel of 18th century architecture located in the heart of the city. The interior features elaborate crystal chandeliers, rich ornamentation, and elegant design and decor.

Spanish Bullfight [M]

Today, as for thousands of years, audiences can witness the somber spectacle in Spain’s largest bullring. Spanish bullfighting is drenched in ritual, from the sound of the trumpet to the movements of the matador, but each event inevitably ends with the torture, taunting, and death of the bull.

Museums

The Prado [L]

The Prado is one of the great museums of Europe, with an emphasis on the work of the Spanish masters Goya, Velazquez, and El Greco.

Queen Sofia Art Centre (Picasso’s Guernica) [M]

This former 18th century hospital focuses on contemporary art, dating from the mid-19th century to the present. Some of the best works here are by Picasso, Miró, Tàpies, Dali, and Gris.

Environs

Plaza Mayor [M]

The Plaza Mayor is a picturesque square in the heart of Madrid, where visitors can enjoy a break from the frantic pace of the city and bask in the glories of the 17th century art and architecture.

Excursions

Toledo [M]

Toledo in its entirety is a national historical monument, kept frozen in time as a living museum of the past. Toledo features one of Spain’s greatest cathedrals, a gothic masterpiece of architecture tightly woven into the center of the medieval city. The cathedral also features El Greco’s spectacular work, “Burial of Count Orgaz” from 1586 in the sacristy.

Travel Information

Address

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Lisbon

Sightseeing

Belem Tower [M]

At the mouth of Lisbon’s harbor stands Belem Tower, ancient symbol of Portugal’s mastery of the seas. It appears the same to visitors today as it did to sailors seeking their fortune during the Age of Exploration five centuries ago.

Monastery of Geronimo [M]

The Monastery of Geronimo was begun in 1502 to honor the discoveries of Vasco de Gama. Today it is considered the pinnacle of Portuguese architecture.

Portuguese Bullfight [M]

Raw excitement and danger are never far from the surface during a Portuguese Bullfight, one of the world’s last true blood sports. But unlike the Spanish version, in Portuguese bullfighting, the bull is not put to death.

Museums

National Art Museum [M]

With possessions ranging from Brazil to Mozambique to Macao in the orient, gold and treasure flowed into Lisbon. The treasure accumulated during the heyday of the Portuguese empire -- including many beautiful gold craftworks from around the world -- can be found in the National Art Museum.

Carriage Museum [M]

One of Lisbon’s unique attractions, and another link to a bygone era, is the Carriage Museum. Here visitors can find a variety of 70 decorative carriage designs from the 17th to the 19th century.

Environs

Nightlife [M]

Lovely Portuguese ballads, called Fado, are performed in Lisbon’s many nightclubs. Nightlife often gets off to a late start, and many clubs expect patrons to order dinner when seeing a show, so the price of an evening out can get expensive.

Video Walk [M]

Travel through time on the streets of Lisbon as vintage trolleys, the word’s third largest suspension bridge, medieval cobblestone streets of the alfama, and grand squares and boulevards mingle to form one of Europe’s most welcoming cities.

Scenes [M]

Home to kings and for many years the center of a vast trading empire, Lisbon today offers and intriguing blend of past and present. True to its cosmopolitan origins, the monumental architecture of Lisbon reflects both European influences dating back to the Roman empire, and the Moorish style of North Africa.

Vistas [M]

A few minutes’ climb up the hills and towers of Lisbon is rewarded with these amazing vistas overlooking the city and the harbor. Because of the year-round balmy coastal climate, clear skies and beautiful sunsets often serve as the backdrop to the romantic cityscapes of Lisbon.

Excursions

Sintra [M]

A short side trip from Lisbon is the small town of Sintra, nestled against the north coast of the serra. Sintra for six hundred years was a favorite retreat of Portuguese royalty seeking a respite from the crowded streets of Lisbon. It serves the same purpose for travelers today.

Travel Information

Address

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Edinburgh

Sightseeing

Edinburgh Castle [M]

The awesome stone fortress commands the high ground overlooking the city, on the site of Edinburgh’s original settlement centuries before Christ. A national historical site and a working military barracks, the perfectly-preserved castle is Edinburgh’s number one attraction.

Georgian House [M]

The Georgian House, a national historical sight, provides an absolutely authentic look into the life of a well-to-do family in 18th century Edinburgh.

Palace of Holyroodhouse [M]

The Palace of Holyroodhouse, home to Scottish royalty since the 15th century, has seen its share of intrigues. Holyroodhouse played a part in the lives of the Scottish royalty who had the misfortune of becoming entangled in the affairs of England.

Royal Mile [M]

The relentless urbanism of Edinburgh is best appreciated in the Royal Mile, a section of town dating from the 18th century when Edinburgh was the most densely populated city in the world. Seven story buildings, skyscrapers of the day, line the crowded streets.

High Church of St. Giles [M]

The High Church of St. Giles is the mother church of Scottish Presbyterianism and the centerpiece of Edinburgh High Street. The great Scottish reformer John Knox preached from the pulpit this 15th century cathedral, and the great church, which has withstood many political and ideological upheavals.

Museums

Georgian House

The Georgian House, a national historical sight, provides an absolutely authentic look into the life of a well-to-do family in 18th century Edinburgh.

Excursions

Hadrian’s Wall [M]

Nearby Edinburgh is one of the great monuments of antiquity, Hadrian’s Wall. In the first century AD, finding the ferocious clans of Scotland unconquerable and their land uninviting, the Roman Emperor Hadrian ordered construction of a wall from coast to coast, demarking the northernmost frontier of the Roman Empire.

Travel Information

Address

This icon will drive [1] a locator and services text caption and [2] if clicked will go directly to the Amex T&L complete text for the particular city.

Museums

Van Gogh Museum [M]

Van Gogh, Wheatfield with Crows, 1890 [I]

In 'Wheat Field With Crows,' Van Gogh reconstructs a familiar rural landscape scene as a violent and disorienting pattern of angular streaks of paint. The abstracted forms of black crows flying above carve out holes of negative space that seem to puncture the sky and create patterns of interference on the canvas.

Van Gogh, The Potato Eaters, 1885 [I]

'The Potato Eaters' is Van Gogh's first major work, the culmination of years of artistic training and study. Its poorly reception by dealers and even friends deeply wounded Van Gogh, and for a time he muted his style to conform to expectations. Today, seen in light of his later work, it can be appreciated as a powerful prelude to the jarring and nightmarish world he would bring to life in his greatest pieces.

Rijksmuseum

Botticelli, Tent of Holofernes, 1495 [I]

Toward the end of his life, Botticelli stripped his ornate style down to the bare essence, depicting stark scenes of violence with a single focus of attention at the center of the painting.

Dehooch, Linen Closet, 1663 [I]

Dutch Baroque painter Pieter De Hooch celebrates the sublime joys of the well-ordered household in his 'Linen Cupboard,' painted in 1663. The painting's quietude, subdued palette, and secular subject matter exemplify the differences between the northern European style and the more extravagant and colorful Italian art.

Rembrandt [M]

Prosperous middle class merchants often pooled their wealth to subsidize a group protrait, such as this one by Rembrandt.

Rembrandt, The Night Watch, 1642 [M]

Rembrandt immortalized a group of his patrons in his masterpiece, 'The Night Watch.' This amazing composition is alive with energy and reveals Rembrandt’s incredible facility in depicting realistic light and detail. Nuances of costume and expression capture the essence of each of his subjects.

Rembrandt, St. Peter’s Denial [M]

Rembrandt’s popularity and financial success during his lifetime allowed him the freedom to explore his own themes and develop works not beholden to any patron’s particular tastes. This piece explores deep emotions with a darkness and intensity that a sponsor would have found troubling.

Rembrandt, The Syndics, 1662 [I]

'The Syndics of the Clothmakers’ Guild,' also known as 'The Staalmeesters,' is one of Rembrandt's finest works in a genre in which he is the undisputed master: the group portrait. Commissioned to immortalize this group of prominent Dutch businessmen, he has actually created a permanent moment in time where the viewer is drawn into their world.

Rembrandt, Jeremiah, 1630 [I]

In 1630's 'The Prophet Jeremiah Mourning Over the Destruction of Jerusalem,' Rembrandt has taken a somber moment from the Old Testament and wrung from it every drop of pathos and desolation. The richness of detail and the masterful use of light and shadow to frame the solitary Jeremiah propped against a pillar of the ruined temple drive home Rembrandt's unparalleled skill at bringing historical and biblical events to life.

Frans Hals, The Merry Drinker [M]

In Hals’ 'The Merry Drinker,' the personality of the subject shines through so well that you almost feel he is in the room with you.

Frans Hals, Woman’s Portrait [M]

Northern painters favored muted colors and soft lighting, compared to the extravagant Italian style.

Frans Hals, Man’s Portrait [M]

Hals was enormously popular as a portrait painter to the Dutch merchant class for his ability to ascribe nobility to their bearing while capturing their likeness with uncanny precision.

Ruisdael, View of Haarlem, 1670 [I]

Ruisdael painted a type a landscape which was influential to 19th century Romantic artists in England and France. The realistic features of the land suggest human existence, as in this “View of Haarlem.”

Vermeer, Kitchen Maid, 1660 [M]

The best works of 17th century master Johannes Vermeer seem to glow with their own inner light. His scenes of everyday life, like this Kitchen Maid, reveal both a virtuosity of technique and deep sensitivity to the human condition.

Royal Museum of Fine Art

David, Marat, 1793 [M]

The lyricism and melodrama of David’s 1793 masterpiece, 'Death of Marat,' made him an early exponent of the Romantic movement.

Weyden, d’Antoine, c. 1450 [M]

Van Der Weyden’s 'Portrait of Antoine' laid the foundations of the Flemish portrait style.

Memling, St. Sebastien [M]

The Martyrdom of Saint Sebastien was a common theme of Renaissance painters, including this 16th century piece by Memling.

Bruegel, Census at Bethlehem [M]

Look out for this tiny painting by Pieter Bruegel the Elder the Census at Bethlehem, set in a Pajottenland village on a crisp winter’s day. Bruegel hints at the transience of existence by showing children playing games on thin ice, and birds pecking crumbs near a makeshift trap.

Rubens [M]

Pieter Paul Rubens studied the work of Renaissance masters Titian and Caravaggio and brought their style of dramatic realism back to Antwerp at the start of the 17th century. His mature style exaggerated the flamboyance of the Italian masters and evolved into the Baroque.

British Museum

Exterior & Cloister [M]

The Cloister recreates the gothic splendor of a medieval monastery.

Elgin Marbles [M]

One of the treasures of the British Museum is this series of relief sculptures which once adorned the frieze of the Parthenon in Athens. Known to the world as the Elgin Marbles, these sculptures are some of the finest surviving examples of Greek art, dating from 440 B.C.

Assyrian Reliefs [M]

Britain’s good relations with Turkey during the 19th century made it possible for the British Museum to acquire an excellent collection of Assyrian art, including these monolithic statues from the royal palace of King Ashurnasirpal II, who reigned in the 9th century BC.

Hellenistic Temple [M]

The design and engineering achievements of the ancient Greeks allowed them to build temples that were both grandiose and structurally sound. The facade of the British Museum itself reflects the influence of Greek architecture like this temple.

Hellenistic Woman [M]

The ancient Greeks used principles of balance and proportion to create beautiful and lifelike human forms.

Egyptian Sculpture [M]

At least twenty-five hundred years before Christ, an advanced civilization in Egypt carved these ageless works of stern beauty and mystery out of solid blocks of stone.

Rosetta Stone [M]

The discovery in 1797 of the Rosetta stone, inscribed in Greek and Egyptian hieroglyphics, was one of the most important archeological finds of all time. The stone provided scholars with the key to unlock the mysteries of an ancient civilization.

Isaac Newton Sculpture [M]

This baroque sculpture depicts Sir Isaac Newton, the 17th century English mathematician who discovered gravity and added immensely to our understanding of physics.

Mummies [M]

If you’re overcome by an urge to see your Mummy while in London, this is the right place. The four-thousand year-old remains of Egyptian kings continue to fascinate visitors to this day.

Botticelli, Allegory of Abundance, 1480 [I]

Only a few of Botticelli's drawings have survived to the present day, including this marvelous study for the 'Allegory of Abundance.' Botticelli’s mastery of the human form, drapery, expression, and composition are evident even from his sketches.

Leonardo da Vinci, Man Wearing a Helmet, 1480 [I]

Because of the incredibly broad range of his interests, Leonardo did not leave behind a large body of paintings, and some that have survived are incomplete. 'The Adoration of the Magi' gives us a unique insight into the master's technique, showing how he marked off areas of light and shadow, molded his figures out of clusters of forms, and employed flawless linear perspective to add depth and realism to his backgrounds.

Michelangelo, Crucifixion with Virgin and St. John, 1555 [I]

Michelangelo's religious feeling deepened late in his life, and this new-found faith shines through in a series of drawings executed around 1550. In 'Crucifixion with Virgin and St. John,' Michelangelo's spare line brings out the harrowing and tragic nature of the Passion of Christ.

Michelangelo, Crucifixion, 1540 [I]

Michelangelo's contribution to the art of drawing is as significant as his sculpture, painting, and architecture. This 'Crucifixion,' showing a heroic and defiant Christ on the cross, was executed around 1540 for Vittoria Colonna, a noblewoman with a deep interest in religious subjects.

Victoria and Albert Museum

V & A Exterior [M]

The Victoria and Albert Museum specialized in decorative and applied arts and design.

Tiger Statue [M]

Tipoo’s Tiger, commissioned by an anti-British sultan in 1790, shows a Bengal tiger mauling a British soldier, symbolizing Indian resistance to the empire.

Victorian Room [M]

The Victorian Room is a stirring example of the best of 19th century British architectural and decorative style.

Decorative Art [M]

Exhibits trace the evolution of decorative art from the ancient to the modern.

Modern Design [M]

This exquisitely ornamented vase is from the Design collection.

National Portrait Gallery

National Portrait Gallery [M]

With text

Tate Gallery

Tate Exterior [M]

The Tate Gallery features exhibits of classical and modern art.

Constable [M]

The Romantic artist John Constable captured the lyric beauty of the English countryside in the idyllic painting 'Salisbury Field.'

Degas Sculpture [M]

This dancer ‘s lines and demeanor remind us of Degas’ own remoteness and detachment; even his apparent haughtiness.

National Gallery

Botticelli, Mystical Nativity, 1490 [I]

As the year 1500 approached, many anticipated the coming of the Apocalypse as prophesied in the Book of Revelations. This end-of-the-century Apocalyptic mood informs the dark and dense 'Mystical Nativity,' with its imagery of angels rapturing the faithful away to the heavens as the power of God renders final judgment upon the sinful.

Botticelli, Adoration of the Magi, 1465 [I]

'The Adoration of the Magi,' dating from around 1465, is one of the first original works produced by Botticelli toward the end of his apprenticeship. The complicated composition is ambitious for the young artist, but he had not yet developed the skills and experience to bring it off flawlessly.

Botticelli, Mars and Venus, 1488 [I]

In this wonderfully rich and balanced composition, Botticelli depicts a spent and sleeping Mars, God of War, conquered by Venus, Goddess of Love. The fully richness of Botticelli's flowing line is revealed in the amazing detail of the scene, which is packed with mythological symbolism and veneration of nature.

Botticelli, Portrait of a Young Man, 1488 [I]

As his reputation grew, Botticelli was in great demand as a portrait painter. His portraits are generally of members of the Florentine aristocracy, since only the wealthiest families could afford his services. This 'Portrait of a Young Man' from 1489 is typical of the portrait styles of the day, though the superb modeling of the light and the delicacy of the line reveal Botticelli's masterly hand.

Constable, Hay Wain, 1821 [I]

Along with Turner, Constable was the greatest landscape painter in the early 19th century. The “Hay Wain” sums up his ideals and achievements.

Leonardo da Vinci, Virgin and Child with St. Anne, 1501 [I]

While the toll of the years has diminished the luster and vibrancy of Leonardo's 'Virgin and Child with St. Anne,' nothing can diminish the perfection of the composition and the expressiveness of this masterpiece. Leonardo uses light to shape the images and bring out the human feeling in his subjects, and sets the entire subject against the grandeur of nature.

Leonardo da Vinci, Madonna of the Rocks, 1490 [I]

Leonardo Da Vinci introduced a new language of dynamism and tension into the vocabulary of Western art. The figures in 'Madonna of the Rocks' have a geometric balance that grounds them in the painting, but the maze of gazes and gestures leads the viewer's eye in circles around the canvas. Leonardo's frequent use of awesome landscapes as backgrounds reflects his view of nature as the truest expression of the divine.

Michelangelo, Entombment, 1506 [I]

While Michelangelo was awaiting a shipment of marble to begin the monumental tomb for Pope Julius II in 1506, he passed the time by executing the 'Entombment,' which was left unfinished when the artist moved on to other projects. This is the only known work in which Michelangelo worked entirely using oil paint.

Raphael, St. Catherine, 1507 [I]

This radiant painting of Saint Catherine is one of a series of beautiful and colorful works from Raphael's stay in Florence that document the emergence of his mature style. While striving to capture the full sense of ecstasy of St. Catherine, Raphael deliberately blunted some of the cruel and violent elements of the martyrdom scene to avoid creating too much tension and take away from the work's fundamental balance and order.

Raphael, Knight’s Dream, 1504 [I]

This extremely early work from 1504-05 shows Raphael's early interest in figurative and mythological subject matter, and introduces a theme of pregnant women which recurs in his work up until his commission in Rome.

Raphael, Virgin and Child, 1505 [I]

The oddly-postured figure of St. John the Baptist on the left side of this early-period 'Virgin and Child' is the clearest link to Raphael's mature work. The attention to detail in the furniture and the landscape background indicates Raphael's interest in Flemish painting at the time this piece was executed.

Raphael, Crucifixion, 1503 [I]

'The Crucifixion' from 1502-03 is the first work signed by Raphael. The painting originally formed the central part of an altarpiece for the Church of San Domenico in Citta di Castello.

Renoir, The Seine at Asnieres, 1879 [I]

Renoir’s colorful pastoral scene in “The Seine at Asnieres,” also known as “The Skiff,” hints at a discrete homage to fellow impressionist Claude Monet. The feathery brushwork of the foreground, clearly delineating the boat against the water, gives way to a haze of abstraction as the background recedes.

Renoir, The Umbrellas, 1883 [I]

Critics have noted that the subdued palette and repetition of circular motifs throughout Renoir’s “Les Parapluies” or “The Umbrellas,” shows the influence of Japanese art, which was beginning to be seen in the West for the first time.

Van Gogh, Cypresses, 1889 [I]

'Wheatfield with Cypresses' was completed in 1889, and shows Van Gogh at his most lyrical. The bright and warm palette and the fluidity of the brushwork help give the scene an otherworldly tranquility and beauty.

Courtauld Institute

Renoir, Theatre Box, 1874 [I]

Renoir’s “Theatre Box,” or “La Loge” was one of the most popular works with critics of the famous Impressionist Exhibition of 1874. In the work, Renoir skewers bourgeois pretensions and fakery with a devastatingly accurate view of a superficial society woman bored out of her mind at the theatre.

Manet, Folies-Bergère, 1881 [I]

Though already a mature stylist, Manet enthusiastically took up the conventions of the new Impressionist movement to create this masterpiece, 'Au Bar Du Folies-Bergere.' Manet combines the Impressionist use of fragmented brushstrokes with the confrontational immediacy of his own style to ingeniously implicates the viewer, who is actually pictured in the painting as the reflection on the far right of the canvas.

The Prado

The Prado [M]

The Prado is one of the great museums of Europe, with an emphasis on the work of the Spanish masters Goya, Velasquez, and El Greco.

Bosch, Garden of Earthly Delights [M]

Perhaps no painting better captures the toils and triumphs of human existence with more poignancy and humor than the 15th century Dutch artist Heironymous Bosch’s gothic triptych, 'Garden of Earthly Delights.'

Fra Angelico, Annunciation,1445 [M]

Fra Angelico’s glorious Annunciation is only one of many Italian masterpieces found in the Prado.

Velázquez, Maids of Honor, 1656 [M]

The pointed realism of Velázquez’s Maids of Honor , a portrait of the Spanish royal family, embodies the Enlightenment values of truth, order, and individual dignity.

El Greco, Christ Carrying Cross [M]

El Greco was a master of moods and dark tones, heavily influenced by Byzantine art and iconography, as shown in his classic Christ Carrying Cross.

Goya, 3rd of May [M]

One of the first artists to confront the viewer with overtly political subject matter, Goya expresses his outrage at the brutalities of the Napoleonic Wars in Execution of the Rioters, Third of May, 1808.

Goya, Saturn Devouring Son, 1822 [M]

'Saturn Devouring One of His Sons' is a horrifying example of Goya’s dark later work.

Botticelli, Nastagio I, 1490 [I]

Four panels tell the story of Nastagio degli Onesti from Boccaccio's medieval story cycle, the Decameron. In this first panel, Nastagio takes to the woods to mourn for his beloved, who refuses to marry him, when he suddenly discovers a naked young woman being pursued by a knight and a dog. This disturbing scene was commissioned by Lorenzo di Medici for his son's wedding in 1483, and it apparently hung in the wedding chamber.

Botticelli, Nastagio II, 1483 [I]

The grisly second panel of 'Nastagio' shows the knight disemboweling the young woman and feeding her guts to the dogs. This, it turns out, is the hellish punishment on the young couple for their sins. She, out of hard-hearted spite, spurned his offer of marriage. He, in despair, committed suicide, a mortal sin. They are doomed to repeat this ballet of death for eternity.

Botticelli, Nastagio III, 1483 [I]

In the third panel, Nastagio returns to the home of his beloved, where the scene of the knight and the maiden is being played out again. Nastagio tells his would-be fiancé of the horrible fate endured by this couple to caution her against the consequences of her own rejection of him.

Botticelli, Nastagio IV, 1483 [I]

Nastagio's fiancé heeds the warning that her spiteful rejection of him may lead to hideous consequences, and the happy couple ends up getting married at a splendid feast held under a magnificent classical arcade. The figures at the celebration in this final panel resemble the actual guests and participants in the Medici wedding, including Botticelli’s patron, Lorenzo the Magnificent.

Raphael, Cardinal, 1510 [I]

This portrait of a Cardinal was once thought to have been from a later period in Raphael's career, but it is now dated 1510-11, making it one of the masterpieces of his middle years. The composition resembles the portraits of Agnolo and Maddelena Doni in the way in which the subject is posed and the use of light to reveal the features and personality in the face.

Louvre (Sculpture)

Venus de Milo [M]

Speaking to us through the ages, the Venus De Milo perfectly embodies the balance, beauty, and order of Classical art and the aloof dignity of Hellenic civilization, circa the second or third century BC. Venus was found in 1820 by a peasant on the Greek island of Minos and immediately recognized as a transcendent masterpiece of Western art.

Winged Victory [M]

The Winged Victory of Samothrace, believed to date from the second century BC, dominates the grand staircase, which was rebuilt in the 1930’s for her display. Winged Victory commemorates a naval victory, and was crafted in the style of the ship’s figurehead. Though time has left its marks on her, nothing can dim the power and fluidity of this eternal work.

Assyrian Gallery [M]

The ancient Middle Eastern kingdom of Assyria produced these strange griffin-like statues over 3000 years ago, but modern visitors can still experience their wonder in the Assyrian Gallery of the Louvre.

Egyptian Gallery [M]

When Napoleon took an interest in ancient Egyptian art and monumental sculpture, many of the treasures of the Pharaohs found their way into the Egyptian collection of the Louvre. These mysterious and beautiful artifacts of a lost civilization continue to hold a grip on the imagination more than 4000 years after they were made.

Sculpture Gallery [M]

Breathtaking sculptures spanning centuries of European history, religious and secular subject matter, and artistic styles ranging from Romanesque to Baroque line the sculpture gallery of the Louvre.

Michelangelo, Dying Slave, 1516 [I]

'Dying Slave,' one of a projected series of slaves of which only two were completed, shows the extent to which Michelangelo embraced the classic Greek idealization of male beauty. The sculpture is pristine in its finish, lyrical, sensual, exquisitely balanced, and, to the modern eye, unabashedly homo-erotic. It was originally intended to adorn the tomb of Pope Julius II, the great unfinished masterpiece of Michelangelo's career.

Michelangelo, Rebellious Slave, 1516 [I]

The companion piece to 'Dying Slave,' 'Rebellious Slave' is less finished, but in its roughness, it has a powerful primal energy. As the impetuous and insubordinate slave twists and struggles against his bonds, Michelangelo captures the dramatic rippling and flexing of his muscles and maximizes the tension of the scene.

Louvre (Paintings)

Leonardo da Vinci, Mona Lisa, 1507 [M]

Perhaps the most famous -- and certainly the most visited -- resident of the Louvre is the beguiling, enigmatic Mona Lisa, captured in all her fascinating ambiguity by the Italian renaissance master Leonardo Da Vinci.

Leonardo da Vinci, St. John the Baptist, 1516 [I]

Leonardo's skill as a painter was such that he was able to translate the complexities of his personality almost flawlessly to the canvas. Paintings such as 'St. John the Baptist' seethe with tension and inner ambiguities. John gestures upward towards heaven, but his eyes beckon the viewer inward as if to share some playful secret. The cross looms in the background, but all else is darkness and mystery.

Leonardo da Vinci, Portrait, Isabella d’Este, 1500 [I]

Leonardo was not above doing the occasional portrait for a wealthy client. Here, unlike in his famous 'Mona Lisa,' he makes the interesting artistic choice of showing the subject in full profile, strikingly set off against a black background. Despite not confronting the viewer directly, Isabella’s gaze and the flowing lines of her hair, jewelry, and tunic create a fluid motion that is striking and dynamic.

Leonardo da Vinci, Study of Drapery, 1473 [I]

During the Renaissance, art was not simply expression of inner creative impulses but actually a science of representing the world. Because improper understanding of the world led to art that 'didn't look quite right,' artists like Leonardo closely studied physical and optical phenomena such as perspective, reflection, transparency, and drapery to discover rules and systems. This type of discovery led eventually to modern scientific experimentation.

Botticelli, Gift of Flowers from Venus, 1482 [I]

This work celebrating the ideal of courtly love was painted on the occasion of the wedding of Lorenzo Tornabuoni in 1486. Botticelli completed many commissioned works for the aristocracy and wealthy merchants of Florence during his career.

Botticelli, Liberal Arts, 1486 [I]

The cultivation of learning was at the center of Renaissance culture, and according to the rediscovered virtues of antiquity, all knowledge was founded upon the seven Liberal Arts. Here Botticelli gives pictorial representation this ideal by showing his patron, Lorenzo Tornabuoni, being led into the center of the circle of the Arts by the goddess Venus.

Botticelli, Venus and the Graces, 1470 [I]

A companion piece to 'The Liberal Arts,' 'A Young Woman Receives the Gifts from Venus and the Three Graces' celebrates the feminine aspect of learning and knowledge, personified by the Three Graces. The work was received by the Louvre in 1882 badly damaged, but the essence of Botticelli's style and unique treatment of mythic iconography is still evident.

Manet, Irma Brunner, 1800 [I]

This portrait of Irma Brunner, otherwise known as 'The Lady in the Black Hat,' is one of Manet's most famous paintings.

Manet, Madame Manet, 1874 [I]

A wildly controversial figure in his day, Manet blazed the trail followed by the Impressionists and Post-Impressionists of the later 19th century. The apparent flatness and carelessness of his style, evident in this pastel of his wife on a couch from 1874, infuriated critics who demanded realism and higher purpose from artists.

Raphael, Madonna and Child with Young St. John, 1506 [I]

A wonderfully-detailed landscape background and use of muted color to accent the vibrant red of the Virgin's tunic highlight Raphael's 'La Belle Jardiniere,' from 1506.

Raphael, Castiglione, 1514 [I]

Baldassare Castiglione, a writer and philosopher at the court of Ubino in the early 15th century, was the author of The Courtesean, an early volume on the tastes and culture of the Renaissance. While the identity of the subject is certain, the authorship of this portrait is not. It has been attributed to Raphael, and the warmth and expressiveness of the features reveals the hand of a master, though the subdued palette of blacks and grays is uncharacteristic.

Musée d’ Orsay (Cézanne, Renoir & Others)

The Renoir Gallery [P]

Introduced to Impressionism in 1875 by Monet, Auguste Renoir became a major figure of the impressionist movement of the late 19th century, but his style developed out of the more realistic Romantic period. The Renoir Gallery presents many of the artists’ best works from various periods in his career, including the well-known “Moulin de la Galette” or “Young Girls at the Piano,” and others.

Renoir, Moulin de la Galette, 1876 [M]

Renoir captures the subtleties of expression, lighting, movement, and the overall mood of this festive scene in Moulin de la Galette. Renoir’s groundbreaking use of color, free brush techniques, and masterful command of a complex composition make this an essential work of the Impressionist movement. He found the dappled sunlight in Montmartre.

Renoir, Young Girls at the Piano [M]

A beguiling combination of innocence and sensuality pervades Renoir’s masterful “Young Girls at the Piano.” The quick brushstrokes of the Impressionist style give this piece a dream-like, otherworldly quality.

The Cézanne Gallery [P]

Critics in his own time laughed at the square fruit and blocky abstractions in Paul Cézanne’s paintings, but it was clear that Cézanne was taking the first tentative steps away from naturalistic realism and discovering new ways of representing objects in three-dimensional space. In the Cézanne Gallery can be seen many of the works that have led him to be dubbed the “father of cubism” and the forerunner of the modern style of Picasso and Matisse.

Cézanne, Achille Emperaire, 1867 [M]

In this pre-Impressionist portrait, painted in 1867, Cézanne used dark earthy tones, heavy lines, and long brush strokes to carve forms out of the surrounding space.

Cézanne, Apples and Oranges, c. 1900 [M]

The work of Cézanne prefigured the radical deconstruction of reality practiced by the cubists of the early 20th century. In 'Apples and Oranges,' he invites us to view this standard still life as thick layers of overlapping space, compressed and flattened onto the canvas.

Degas, Absinthe Drinker, 1876 [M]

The arching sensitivity of Degas to his tortured heroine shines through in 'The Absinthe Drinker.'

Manet, Dejeuner sur l’Herbe, 1863 [M]

While his contemporaries were shocking the world with the stylistic innovations of Impressionism, Manet’s subject matter in his famous Dejeuner Sur l’Herbe raised eyebrows throughout Europe.

Seurat, Cirque [M]

Seurat took the innovations of Impressionism to their logical intellectualized conclusion, pioneering a style called 'pointillism,' which used pin-prick brushstrokes of pure color to build elaborate compositions. This painting, 'Circus' makes no sense viewed close up, but reveals itself at a distance of several feet.

Musée d’ Orsay (Monet)

The Monet Gallery [P]

Monet’s long life from 1840-1926 made him one of the most prolific painters of modern times. The Monet Gallery presents a representative cross-section of his works and includes many of his masterpieces. The Gallery includes an especially large selection of Monet’s treatments of Rouen Cathedral, showing how his versatile impressionist style could capture subtle and extreme changes in light and color during different times of the day.

Monet, Le Dejeuner, 1873 [M]

Monet’s best work seems to transport the viewer into a world of fleeting and half-remembered dreams. 'Le Dejeuner' captures the magical light of midmorning as it plays over an idyllic garden setting.

Monet, Poppies, 1873 [M]

Lost in a blur of hurried brushstrokes, the figures in Monet’s 'Coquelicots' seem to merge with the surrounding landscape.

Monet, Open-Air Study, Woman Turned to the Right, 1886 [M]

Working in quick, often indistinct brush strokes, Monet was able to capture complex scenes as fuzzy snapshots, or 'impressions,' frozen in time. 'Woman with Parasol' shows this technique could also communicate intense passion.

Monet, Rouen Cathedral, 1894 [M]

Rouen Cathedral shows Monet’s ability to create forms from effects of light. This was painted just before Cézanne visited Monet in Giverny and as Monet’s rheumatism worsened. Cézanne was a great admirer of Monet’s and felt that Monet was the only Impressionist painter who belonged in the Louvre. The feeing was mutual; Monet himself owned 12 Cézannes.

Monet, Haystacks, 1891 [M]

The Impressionist were sometimes derided by their critics as champions of style over substance. In 'Haystacks,' Monet’s radical vision of light and form transforms banal subject matter into a work of transcendent beauty.

Monet, Japanese Footbridge, 1900 [M]

Reflecting the interests of the Romantic painters of the mid-to-late 19th century, Monet often depicted scenes of nature, many from his own water garden and Japanese footbridge. The bridge is an ironic symbol of Monet’s place in art history, spanning the gap between representational art and the radical experiments of the 20th century.

Monet, Water Lily Pond, 1899 [M]

This work is a textbook example of Monet’s mature style. Monet disdained classical art’s obsession with detail, preferring to capture the essence of an entire scene as an accumulation of color and motion often unrecognizable on a small scale.

Monet, Houses of Parliament, 1899-1901 [M]

Monet had to expand the vocabulary and palette of painting to achieve the mastery of light, distance, and indistinct forms demonstrated in 'Houses of Parliament.' The stylistic innovations of the Impressionists were among the most important in art history.

Musée d’ Orsay (Van Gogh)

The Van Gogh Gallery [P]

The many fans of the famous one-eared Dutch post-impressionist Vincent Van Gogh are in for a treat in the Musée d’Orsay’s Van Gogh Gallery. The effect of so many of Van Gogh’s most colorful and energetic paintings in one room is almost overwhelming, but each work here deserves a close look and careful study.

Van Gogh, Starry Night over the Rhône, 1888 [M]

Thick layers of primary colors build into a frenzy of intensity, motion and sheer passion in Van Gogh’s haunting landscape, Starry Night over the Rhône. Though he sold only two paintings during his lifetime, Van Gogh’s works have since become the most prized and expensive treasures of the art world.

Van Gogh, Self-Portrait, 1889 [M]

The tortured genius Vincent Van Gogh transfixed the art world with his troubling, uncompromising vision. Over his lifetime, he painted many self-portraits, including this masterpiece, completed in 1889.

Van Gogh, Cottages with Thatched Roofs, 1890 [M]

Working his paint until it twitches and boils with motion, Van Gogh was able to invest his works with incredible energy and fluidity. The landscape in Cottages with Thatched Roofs seems to churn on the canvas.

Van Gogh, The Church in Auvers [M]

The intensity of Van Gogh’s best work is almost unbearable. In D’église d’Auvers, the stones and mortar of the church bend and curve, the grass and trees shimmer, and the entire world of the painting seems to undulate in feverish convulsions. Rarely has art depicted a world so disorienting.

Van Gogh, His Friend [M]

In Van Gogh’s hands, the paintbrush was often employed like a blunt instrument, carving deep grooves and hard edges into thick accumulations of pigment. This technique applied to a portrait of his friend is harrowing in its raw expressiveness.

Van Gogh, Dr. Gachet’s Garden [M]

Van Gogh seemed to be less concerned with representing the world in his art than in conveying his inner feelings. In 'The Garden of Dr. Gachet,' he was able to communicate his own sense of the beauty and color of the scene, while the actual objects he represents are abstracted almost beyond recognition.

Cluny

Gallery from above [M]

The Cluny Museum building incorporates ancient Greco-Roman baths dating from 200 AD and the flamboyant gothic Hotel De Cluny.

Lady & the Unicorn Tapestry [M]

This famous tapestry of the Lady and the Unicorn, with its expressive faces, muted colors, and wealth of detail, represents the mixture of fantasy and lyricism that we now associate with the age of chivalry.

Lion Tapestry [M]

Rich in symbolism and striking in composition, the Lion Tapestry is another example of the combination of craftsmanship and artistic inspiration possessed by the anonymous geniuses of the Middle Ages.

Jester Statue [M]

Gargoyles like this Jester figure prominently in medieval art.

Bronze Flower [M]

Impeccable craftsmanship and a dizzying wealth of detail combine to make this Bronze Rose a treasure of ancient art. The Cluny displays handcrafts and metalwork excavated from sites all over Europe and the Middle East.

Chess Players [M]

Can you solve the mystery of this intriguing gothic painting, 'The Chess Players'?

Stained Glass of Devil [M]

Satan was a real presence in the lives of people during the Middle Ages, and he is frequently depicted in medieval art, as in this frightening stained glass window.

Sculpture: Angel 1 [M]

Angels and heavenly spirits were popular topics for sculptors and painters of the Middle Ages, as in this angelic ensemble.

Sculpture: Angel 2 [M]

Time and vandalism have not diminished the authority evident in the hard expressions of these stern Biblical figures.

Picasso Museum

Head of a Woman, Sculpture [M]

'Head of a Woman' demonstrates that Picasso’s contribution to modern sculpture was as influential as his painting style.

Trois Figures Dans Un Arbre [M]

Muted colors can’t contain the primitive passions of 'Trois Figures Dans Un Arbre.'

L’embrace [M]

Picasso’s lifelong fascination with the dark and violent side of sexuality is evident in 'L’embrace,' a stark and challenging piece from his surrealist period, painted in the Summer of 1925.

Reclining Nude [M]

By the time he painted this sleeping nude in 1932, Picasso had developed a mature technique for expressing complicated erotic themes.

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