Le Parfum

Musée International de la Parfumerie, Grasse

When visiting Grasse you can stop at the historic perfume factories like FragonardGalimard and Molinard to learn about fragrance making, but you should definitely also have a look at the Musée International de la Parfumerie; a very unusual museum and a topic I had never explored before. As the small city of Grasse at the French Côte d’Azur is considered the world capital of perfume you can have a deep-dive here and fill your nose with lots of different scents.

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Musée Picasso

Musée Picasso, Antibes

You can’t ignore the beauty of Antibes at the French Côte d’Azur, the charming old houses in the city center at the coast of the Mediterranean Sea. Next to the cathédrale Notre-Dame de l’Immaculée Conception you’ll find the ancient fortress of the Grimaldi family from the 12th century. In 1608 it became owned by the French crown and since 1966 it houses the Musée Picasso, a nice art museum on Place Mariejol directly at the sea.

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Musée National Marc Chagall, Nice

Marc Chagall was a Russian-French painter born in Witebsk that today belongs to Belarus. He was travelling much and living at St. Petersburg, Paris, Berlin; in Mexico and the USA. He is seen as an expressionist and you can easily recognize his works because of his special colorful style and the symbols he continuously uses; elements coming from his hometown, the circus world and the bible. One of these is the goat that you can discover in many of his works, sometimes just as a tiny additional element, sometimes in focus playing the violin.

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Musée Océanographique

Musée océanographique, Monaco

What’s the most beautiful building at Monaco? The Cathédrale Notre-Dame-Immaculée, the Palais Princier or the Casino de Monte-Carlo? They’re all examples of beautiful architecture but I would rather nominate the Musée Océanographique, a historic museum building standing tall at the shore, high above the water in the city center of Monaco. It was created in 1889 by Albert I. of Monaco and inaugurated in 1910 in the presence of his German friend Wilhelm II.

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National Gallery

National Gallery, London

Throning above Trafalgar Square and Nelson’s Column you can find the National Gallery, a palace of art. Entrance is free of charge, on Friday evening the opening hours are especially long and you can loose yourself in the many rooms of this vast art museum. The exhibition contains more than 2,300 works from the 13th to the 19th century and was opened in 1824 which sounds early, but is rather later: while at Firenze, München and Paris large art collections were made available to the public the British royals kept their treasury for themselves for a longer time. These days the National Gallery of London could finally celebrate its 200th anniversary.

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National Portrait Gallery, London

The portrait section of art museums is typically one I walk through rather fast. Normally you’ll see there the classic oil paintings of people you don’t know; it is still art but less interesting to me. The National Portrait Gallery at London is very different as it combines portraits in various forms of paintings with photographs of different ages, busts and statues. Already close to the entrance you can meet Ed Sheeran, king Charles III and Nelson Mandela. You won’t only see portraits, but also different technologies to create them – and that is one reason why the National Portrait Gallery (NPG) is special.

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Courtauld Gallery

Courtauld Gallery, Somerset House, London

A visit to the Courtauld Gallery leads you into a very special building, the Somerset House. It was built in 1776 and was for long time the seat of aristocracy, later it was turned into a government building. Today Somerset House is a center of art which hosts an ice skating rink in winter and it is often used as backdrop in blockbuster movies. Since 1989 it houses the Courtauld Gallery which is focused on French impressionism and post-impressionism – a very good reasons to stop at Somerset House.

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Saatchi Gallery, London

If you’re into contemporary art, the Saatchi Gallery at London is for you. Located at Chelsea close to the Sloane Square station it offers rather small exhibitions in a beautiful building; some free of charge, some ticketed. It was opened by art collector Charles Saatchi in 1985 to make his own collection accessible to the public. The building itself is the former headquarter of the Duke of York. Artists exhibited here are British ones like Damien Hirst; but you can also find works of some German artists like Jörg Immendorff.

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Bo-Kaap, Cape Town

Between the city center of Cape Town and Signal Hill you can find a special city quarter that is mostly known for its colorful painted houses: Bo-Kaap. It has narrow and steep streets and is obviously not the prime location to built a city quarter on (even though it is really close to the city center); it is the place that the so-called Cape Malays were allowed to settle in. They’re a Muslim group whose ancestors were enslaved by the Dutch East India Company and brought to South Africa.

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(Natural) History

Iziko South African Museum, Cape Town

The South African Museum was founded in 1825 and is a wild mix of 1,5 million exhibits connected to South Africa. You can learn about regional stone carvings, sharks, land-bound animals, dinosaurs, the life of Nelson Mandela and visit a planetarium connected to the museum. In fact, the South African Museum is a combination of a natural history museum and an archaeology museum which feels a bit odd at the first moment as these types of museums are typically separated in Europe.

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