Just back from a wonderful 3+ weeks in France... so many things to see and be inspired by. Starting off a few days in Paris; this time I actually spent the bulk of my days at various art galleries & museums. In the past Ive preferred to wander the streets soaking in the atmosphere, taking a obsessive number of door & window photos and discovering boutiques and boulangeries. The Louvre got a full days attention this time, I had a wonderful day with all the old masters (all of them), ancient Egypt, Rome & Greece, Napoleon (just a bit of a complex!) and more.
The most confounding thing about my visit to the Louvre was the absolute stream off people that entered and made a beeline straight for Mona; completely ignoring the Botticelli, Raphaels, Mantegna's etc and other Leonardo Da Vinci's on the walls. Went to the Louvre, saw the Mona Lisa - tick. Ugh.
After Paris came three days in the Loire valley visiting Chateau's: Vaux de Vicomte, Fontainebleau, Cheverney, Chenonceau & Azay-de-Rideau. All equally worth visiting as they all had something different to be inspired by & learn about. Just looking at the ceilings alone was worth the trip.
If I had to pick my personal top 3, it would be Chateau Vaux, Fontainebleau & Chenonceau.