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History and art

I have briefly looked at Ricks Europe 101 History and Art book... I am interested in that kind of stuff, the history of the paintings etc.. but do you think that while i am abroad that i will learn that kind of information anyways? Maybe in tours or something? Like without having a book like that. Or did anyone defiantly find this book really helpful.. Im just wondering if i end up buying this book, will it be not much use to me there, because i will be told it anyways?

Posted by
11507 posts

Brittany, this is an ideal book to buy USED, don't spend the huge bucks on a book that will not outdate it self,, history doesn't change from the 2006 edition to the 2007 edition. LOL
Check ebay and thrift shops.

PS You will not learn as much as you think ,, lol, many places in France gave out little brochures in english, but they had scant information,, and even places like the Lourve will not have signs explaining anything in english, and the audio guide( which comes in english) does not cover many of the exhibits.

I think you will enjoy sites more if you know some history, JMO..

PS Are you going on your own or on a tour? If not who will be " telling you stuff" ??

Posted by
9363 posts

Another good place to look for used books is (owned by cBay). Many times these are actually brand new books anyway, but sold for a much cheaper range of prices.

This book would be a valuable resource if you plan to visit art museums even if you have a guide or a tour. You could use it as background reading before your trip and look forward to finding a particular painting on your travels.

Posted by
1317 posts

Plus, for people who are into art and history, it's a fun read--Rick Steves style! If you haven't checked it out already, I also enjoyed Rick's Postcards from Europe--good if you like travel stories (the ones from Italy are especially hilarious).

I bought the Europe 101 book new, but only because I was at an Edmonds class and Rick was autographing them! The Postcards book I got from the library.

Posted by
51 posts

Pat: Yes i will be travelling there alone(not with friends/family etc). But i do plan to do some guided city/museum tours even if just by an audioguide.

Thanks you guys for your inputs.. im more sure now that it will be a useful little investement

Posted by
683 posts

Our library has a copy of this and several other RS books--perhaps yours does or some BC provincial library does. The used route is also good. Also, the book mite obviate the need for museum tours. The imfo we both gleaned from many sources made our art museum walks that much better

Posted by
506 posts

As much as I like the book situation, I also dislike carrying them around. There are a few options to consider - Museum tours - if you think you are really interested typically Audio Tours are available these days. At certain times I have found these particularly helpful.

Another thought are Podcasts - many museums now have free podcasts available. For example as I head to London tomorrow - I have downloaded several tours from the British National Gallery for their outdoor Grand Tour exhibit. Gives me the information about the art - much lighter.

Try iTunes or the museums themselves.

Posted by
108 posts

My mom got me that book before my first trip to Europe after High School way back in the '80s. I can honestly say it was one of the 10 greatest, most useful gifts anyone has ever given me. I still keep it around and pick it up ocassionally for a good read.

Absolutely read it before you go. Take it with you if you want to.

Posted by
12172 posts

The more you learn ahead of time, the more you will get out of your trip. I try to learn as much about history, culture and language as I can. It helps me understand the context of what I see on my trip. Rick's book is a very light overview of European history and culture. Once you read it you'll have a better idea what you would like to study further.

Posted by
192 posts

You might consider taking an art appreciation or an art history class before your next trip to Europe. Community colleges offer them as well as colleges and universities, and the cost isn't as high.

Posted by
5678 posts

Any library will benefit from a good tw0-semester art history book. If you want the biggests go with Stokstad from Prentice Hall (15 pounds). If you want one of the old stand-by's go with either Jansen's also from Prentice Hall or Kleiner's Gardner's History of Art from Cengage (formerly Wadsworth). Our (McGraw-Hill's) Adams Art Across Time is the shortest of the big books. Why get the new edition? So you can have the modern art. What's new in these books is the last couple of chapters.


Posted by
11507 posts

Brittany, I am sure you posted it somewhere, but I can't remember where, but I do have a suggestion for an excellant tour experience for you.
Fat Tire Bike Tours. They have serveral choices, we did the Paris by Night tour, and the Versailles tour.
Google them , they have an excellant web site.
You will have so much fun, plus learn a little as you go,, they are run by young Americans , so all in english, and the history is presented in bite size and amusing pieces.
The reason I ask when your trip runs is because I know they do not run year round, the weather in the winter would make a bike tour unpleasant I imagine.

Posted by
51 posts

pat, my trip starts in september, and goes throu until mid december. Thanks for the tip on the bike tours, they sound great. I will be in france in october, so the weather might not be bad for a bike tour.

Posted by
525 posts

Brittany, if you are in Colmar, rent a bike and tour the route du vin for a day. My husband and I rented bikes in Colmar and rode from town to town. A wonderful day of seeing castles and wineries.