During our past almost 5 years in Paris, we've discovered a new interest/hobby… Fine Art.
We've been members of the Louvre and d'Orsay and look forward to each visit.
One of our goals was to visit The Hermitage Museum in St. Petersburg, Russia. Their collection is regarded 3rd in the world after
the Louvre, and Victoria & Albert Museums. During our research for travel to St. Petersburg, we became discouraged by the Visa
requirements and their associated costs, as well as the language difference. We found a promotion on Royal Caribbean Cruise
Lines for a 5 night itinerary that included 3 nights in St. Petersburg. We could base ourselves from the ship and take the shore
excursion to The Hermitage. Perfect!
The Hermitage visit was marred by the lack of maintenance of the building and its prized art collection. Crowd management was
non-existent, and caused a few frightening moments when moving from one room to the next, as the doorways were the
original width for the groups of 40-60 people passing through them in both directions at the same time. Our tour guide had
quite a job keeping our group of 40+ together. We finally dropped off the back when we reached the excellent French
Impressionist collection and managed to find our way back to the group meeting spot on our own. Thanks to a fairly poor
museum floor plan map in French that Lisa picked up as we entered the museum.
After our experience we appreciate the excellent planning and maintenance of the museums in Paris. Something we sort of took
for granted prior to our visit.