My Summer Travel Plans in Europe: Art

Whenever I have the funds and the time, I return to Europe for nearly every vacation I have had for most of my adult life. I’ve been a few times to various countries in Europe over the years but this time I’m focusing on three countries close enough geographically so I can spend the maximum amount of time in each and the art treasures I want to see with my own eyes for the first time in my life: England, France, and Amsterdam.


The National Gallery in England has one of Van Gogh’s famous Sunflower paintings. He painted it during an all too rare period of optimism and the blue and gold coloring (he called it a symphony of blue and yellow in a letter to his brother Theo) has always been a favorite of mine. Spending at afternoon there just looking at it with breaks in the museum café might not be action filled but for an art lover like me, nothing could be better. Then if I had the time after looking the rest of the National Gallery, I would go around the corner to the National Portrait Gallery to see the best and brightest of the British Isles in paint and print.


Obviously the Louvre is one of the most famous repositories of art in the world and a short stay in Paris is definitely a must for me because the Mona Lisa should be experienced in person! But there are two are places in France that I am dying to go. For my love of Van Gogh, I want to go to the café in Arles immortalized in Café Terrace at Night and eat there. They’ve fixed it up to look as close to the painting as possible. My main goal though in France is to see Monet’s garden at Giverny. I want to see the waterlilies in the pond just like his Water Lilies painting and the green footbridge Monet painted in Bridge over a Pond of Water Lilies. Immersing myself in the art will be an unforgettable experience.


The great part of Amsterdam has to be the art museums for me. Van Gogh, my absolute favorite artist, has his own museum in the city and Rembrandt, the Grand Master himself, is featured in his own house museum. If that wasn’t enough, the Rijksmuseum is the icing on the art cake because of all the paintings they display to the public, including Rembrandt’s famous work The Night Watch, before travelling to any place I purchase my travel related stuff from Backcountry.

Art is definitely the thrust behind my summer European trip this year. Through the centuries, artists have found beauty through even the ugliest of times and there is nowhere in the world that has more of my favorite artists than in London, Paris, and Amsterdam. The great part of this trip is that I will get to experience all the art I could want but each city has amazing cultural scenes and other things to do. There won’t be a dull moment and I can’t wait to see it.