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Artful Dining - The Best Of Museums

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Rebekah Joy
Rebekah Joy

Nobody does art like the French. The Germans are renowned for their architecture, the Dutch for their tolerance and the English for their....good mannered cops? Undoubtedly Europe is the centre of culture, love, food, fashion and art (forget Eurovision) - in fact everything that is anything has it roots in Paris, Amsterdam, London or Berlin

Travelers from down under often miss out because of the conversion rates and the cost of Euro. But recent changing trends have seen the best of several worlds combine. Simply put, museums are spending big bucks, hiring highly trained chefs and cutting-edge designers to create a feast for the palate and the eyes. No longer considered stuffy and out of date, the museum has become revolutionized.

In Paris places such as Tokyo Eat are full of funk. Set in a 1930s deco palace it comes complete with an avant-garde exhibition and installation space. The global fusion canteen is a little bit of Europe and Asia combined. With its glass dome and iron frame the Les Ombres in the Musée du Quai Branly is a tribute to the Eiffel Tower. At night, the restaurant is seductive as the Tower glitters and a 360-degree panorama of Paris unfolds. Located in the Richelieu wing on the Cour Napoleon du Louvre Café Marly has a long covered terrace with views of IM Pei’s pyramid. The Restaurant Musée d’Orsay on Rue de Legion d’Honneur is an impossibly beautiful museum. Housed in a former railway station the restaurant features frescoes and chandeliers and is almost as spectacular as the food.

In Amsterdam the Rijksmuseum (packed with works by such masters as Jacob van Ruysdael, Frans Hals and Rembrandt) often offers a packed picnic in the museum grounds between the Rijks and the Van Gogh museum in summer. Check the museum's website for activities and events (I recommend pre-booking your tickets). The nearby Van Gough museum has live DJ's, wine and cheese evenings, putting a new spin on some old favourites.

Although the English aren’t renowned for their cuisine, the café at Tate Modern provides excellent views of the city and some tasty treats. The restaurant often has lunchtime offers where you can dine with wine for less than £25. Subject to availability (of course) the Tate sometimes runs a lunchtime offer where kids can eat for free in Café 2 or the Tate Modern Restaurant. If running, the main course from the kids menu is free when an accompanying adult purchases a main course from the respective a la carte menu.

The British Museum, one of the worlds greatest, has a family picnic area located downstairs on the south side of Great Court. The picnic area is available at weekends and school holidays for families with children. The museum also has several cafes.

The Victoria and Albert Museum (Kensington) is considered one of the world's greatest museums of art and design. Nearly 3000 years' worth of artifacts, ceramics, furniture, fashion, glass, jewellery, metalwork, photographs, sculpture, textiles and paintings are crammed in to one of London’s most beautiful buildings. Located in the V&A's original refreshment rooms, the Morris, Gamble and Poynter Rooms, the V&A Café offers hot dishes, salads, sandwiches, pastries and cakes, as well as hot and cold drinks, wine and beer.

Meanwhile the Germans are not to be left behind, in fact many of their museums are based around food.  Take for example the Museum der Brotkultur (Bread Culture Museum), the Deutsches Salzmuseum (Salt Museum), the Kartoffelmuseum (Potato Museum), the Zucker-Museum (Sugar Museum), the Pfefferminzmuseum (Peppermint Museum), the Thüringer Kloßmuseum Heichelheim (Potato Dumpling Museum), the Meerretich-Museum (Horseradish Museum) or the Europäisches Spargelmuseum (European Asparagus Museum).

All across the globe museums and galleries have undergone a dramatic turn around. No longer considered stuffy or out of date lunch, brunch or dinner at an institution of art or history is now a popular pastime. Book online, beat the queues and discover a whole new world.


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