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High School Research Paris/Rome

My daughter will be a high school senior this year and is writing a research paper on art styles and history. Our only travel option is between 12/21/19 - 1/3/20 - for roughly 8-9 days in that window. We've pretty much decided on Paris and Rome. Looking for suggestions on which city first - based on best museum entries and holiday celebrations. Looking online has me a little overwhelmed. We went on a group school trip to Rome two years ago in April - that's our only Europe trip experience. This trip will be just the two of us, so we are planning solely for her research - and some rich memories!
Any advice is welcome! Thank you so much!!

Posted by
839 posts

Now here's a topic with no shortage of opinions.......and here's mine....."We've pretty much decided on Paris and Rome".......if "pretty much" means there is room for adjustment, I would substitute Madrid for Rome if the sole focus of your adventure is the researching of art styles and history.
There is not a significant component of "modern art" i.e. post 1850 in Rome. With three outstanding museums within an easy walk in Madrid, the research could include important work of the 20th century in addition to those found in Paris.

Posted by
301 posts

Does she have a personal favorite(s) artist/painting? That should guide your plans. Also be sure to check museums for closures ( including holidays), special exhibitions or if certain pieces are out on loan. What an incredible experience! Touring art galleries with my own artist daughter has been a joy...doing the background reading/research between now and then will enhance the actual experience.

Posted by
8889 posts

Saturday 21st December 2019 to Friday 3rd January 2020, 8-9 day window within those 12 days.
If you are travelling in that period you need to research Christmas and New Year closures in your chosen cities, they would loose you valuable days.

Posted by
2 posts

Blue439 - Thank you for the information on Madrid. As I'm not the artist, this is info I need!

Posted by
11294 posts

I agree that if a major purpose of this trip is art research, your daughter needs to figure out which art styles and periods she is interested in, so she can determine where the museums are that house these artworks, so you can then determine which cities to visit. I also agree that Madrid is great "one stop shopping," but no city has everything. For instance, if she wants to focus on Art Nouveau, then Madrid shouldn't be a focus city.

Furthermore, once you've picked your cities, you'll need to narrow down the particular museums. In some cities like Paris. the major museums are largely focused on specific time periods (for instance, the Louvre has stuff up to about 1850, while the Musée D'Orsay has stuff from 1848 through World War I, and the Museum of Modern Art in the Pompidou has stuff after that). In other cities, what each museum has is not as structured, so you have to check for specific pieces or periods.

Also be careful of closures during the holidays. For instance, the Prado is only closed three days a year, but those days are December 25, January 1, and May 1 - so your trip will fall over two of them! And most museums aren't open daily like the Prado is. Again, if she wants to see specific museums, she should carefully check their closure dates to avoid disappointment. I say this as someone who was in Nancy, France, on a Monday and a Tuesday. The main museum I wanted to see turned out to be closed every Monday and Tuesday, so I never go to it! Mondays are particularly difficult for art museums, even during non-holiday periods.

Posted by
6781 posts

Blue439 brings up a good point. In Rome, the Vatican Museum alone covers art from a long span of time, but also includes a lot more than just “art,” and is really immense. Our visit there was in December, but earlier, 2 weeks earlier than your trip, and there were a lot of other people in town.

As for Madrid, not certain which 3 museums Blue439 means, but probably the massive, amazing Prado, then the Reina Sofia, with Picasso’s Guernica and other more modern art. But there’s also the surprisingly good, not so huge but still excellent Thyssen-Bornemisza museum.

As for which city first, for what it’s worth, Madrid is farther west but on same time zone as Paris. So the sun won’t be coming up in late December until surprisingly late in the morning, and it might be dark at breakfast. So whether you want that at the beginning of your trip, maybe jet-lagged anyway, or later on, when you’ve adjusted a bit, might make some difference.

Posted by
613 posts

In the west, the Roman Empire lasted 500 years. British Empire, 200 years, French Empire was Fake News, but the Austrian Empire went for 800 years, ending only 100 years ago. That's the basis of all EU history, the empires. Austria was also the richest of the empires and the most artistic, especially if you consider "the arts" (painting, etc and architecture and music) and not just paintings. One could easily do a paper or a book on how the art (interior paintings & architecture) of Vienna's gothic St Stephen's Cathedral transmogrified into the Charles Church. It has to do with Rome, Prince Eugene of Savoy, salt, the "Iron Mountain", Turks, and the Great Hungarian Plain

An Austrian was the richest musician in history. Collectively the 4 Beetles eventually surpassed his fortune, but for a single musician, the Austrian is still #1.

One could also consider food as an art in the Empires. Austrian food is both comfortably familiar and jarringly different-- KFC and French Fries were invented in Austria.

Your entire trip isn't enough time to sort out Vienna's history and art, so make Vienna all or at least one stop.

Posted by
776 posts

Seems like the first thing you two should work on is limiting the huge topic. Since, you've already been to Rome, I, too, would suggest Madrid where you'd get the fabulous Prado for everything, the excellent Thyssen for its moderns and the Reina Sofia for Guernica among many other wonders. In addition, the Sorolla museum features many John Singer Sargent like portraits (there was an exhibit in Paris on the two) that make wonderful costume studies. Look at the collections on line and find what pleases you. I spent much time in Rome checking out the Italian futurists among other Italians but these movements are off the beaten track of painting and maybe not material for your daughter's research.