select - Museum Cities
Written by Brian Johnston Illustration by Melanie Armstrong
Societies have been amassing collections of objects since the earliest times, demonstrating an ageless human capacity for wonder and curiosity. Here are three cities where even the most jaded of visitors will surely find museums to intrigue and tantalise their minds.
Paris boasts outstanding museums, and first-time visitors will certainly want to take in the Louvre and Musée d’Orsay. But some of Paris’ smaller museums are just as rewarding: the Musée National du Moyen Age (medieval art and history) and Musée Carnavalet (history of Paris through the ages) prove that good museums don't have to be crowded. Other museums are devoted to just one artist, such as at the pretty Musée Rodin, where the gardens are full of sculptures, including the famous Thinker. Among the more bizarre Paris offerings is the Musée des Egouts, which highlights the urban sewer system, surely the world’s only museum entered through a maintenance hole. Still, you’ll be far from the madding crowds and, by the time you’ve finished, you’ll certainly know everything there is to know about life in Paris.
Some of the world’s greatest museums showcase the best of French and European culture and art.
Located on a hairpin bend of the Seine River, Paris lies in the centre of northern France.
HOW TO GET THERE
Qatar Airways has twice daily flights from Doha to Paris.
Not only does the American capital offer some of the best museums in the world, but many of them have free admission. That includes all 19 museums of the Smithsonian Institution, which exhibit everything from fashions to sapphires and spacecraft. Then read the Declaration of Independence at the National Archives, admire the furnishings of historic Decatur House, and investigate the gadgets at the International Spy Museum.
More museum collections than any other city on Earth cater to an eclectic array of interests.
Washington, DC sits on the Potomac River, surrounded by the states of Virginia and Maryland, on the mid-Atlantic coast.
HOW TO GET THERE
Qatar Airways has daily flights to Washington, DC.
The treasures of the Egyptian Museum are unparalleled: busts of the beautiful Nefertiti, gilded statues, and the ghoulish mummies of some of the pharaohs (Ramses II is so well preserved you can admire his ginger hair and toenails). In particular, leave time for one of the world’s most outstanding sights: the gallery of Tutankhamun. The famous solid-gold death mask and gilded sarcophagus of the boy-king are the culmination of a display that also includes everyday objects such as clothes chests, saddles, and jars. Another very worthy museum is the Coptic Museum, where you’ll find plenty to admire from this often overlooked corner of Egyptian culture, including sumptuous icons, woodwork, textiles, and ancient papyrus books. You’ll also find a collection of rather odd museums in the old Citadel, including the Police Museum and Military Museum.
Artefacts from thousands of years of ancient Egyptian civilisation are quite simply breathtaking.
Cairo is in northern - or Lower - Egypt and straddles the Nile at the start of its delta region.
HOW TO GET THERE
Qatar Airways has daily flights from Doha to Cairo.