Museums That Don’t Suck

By Sara Wiseman

Learning can be fun! The words seem to automatically be accompanied by rainbows and a cartoon raccoon reading.  I hate museums but there are quite a few in Europe that don’t suck. Here are my top five museums in some of my favorite European locations:

1. Catacombs of Paris


No doubt about it, this place is super creepy. And I may just be dark and weird but it’s also extremely cool. Visitors to the Catacombs of Paris plunge beneath the Earth hundreds of feet and toward the remains of about six million people.

Bones and skulls stacked by the dozens can really change your perspective on things in general. There is tons of information along the stroll through the Catacombs and any visitors to the city need to check out this creepy gem.

2. Macchine di Leonardo 

Leonardo Da Vinci was a genius and the ultimate Renaissance Man. There are a few museums dedicated to him around Europe and the one I visited in Rome was pretty amazing. Check out models of his inventions. Although mostly unfinished work, it’s nearly impossible to imagine what this man would have accomplished with all of the time and resources in the world. On a disappointing note: Tom Hanks was nowhere to be seen.

3. Mont Saint-Michel


Alright, if ever in France, a visit to Mont Saint-Michel should be mandatory. Although it can be kind of a pain in the ass to get to, the payoff is amazing. Mont Saint-Michel is a tidal island that formerly served as a monastery and has an incredible history.

Walking through the museum of the abbey was one of the coolest things I’ve ever done. The stones are mossy and chilled and the towering Gothic structures had me humming the theme to “Lord of the Rings.”

4. Monet’s Gardens

It may sound awfully boring but going to the house of Claude Monet and walking through his gardens was absolutely amazing. Seeing his famous landscape portraits literally come to life before you was crazy. The pastel colors melted away and the reality set in that this famous artist actually lived, breathed and worked here.

The museum aspect of this location is minimal (my style) but still incredibly informational.

5. Vatican Museum

You can’t visit Rome or Italy without checking out Vatican City and the Vatican City Museum. The artwork in this museum is breath-taking. The lines here can be super long and the crowds can make you want to scratch your own eyes out. But, you can get over that as soon as you look up. The wonder of Michelangelo’s work can leave you in awe of the capability of man and also make you wonder what you’ve been doing with your life thus far.

For any interested, a good movie to check out before visiting for a little background is “The Agony and the Ecstasy.” It gives viewers and idea of the struggle Michelangelo endured to create such a masterpiece.


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