Program 265a: Paris Art Scene; Irish Writers; Michelangelo's Florence

Release Date: 03-09-2013

On Air Description

The arts are part of everyday life in Europe.  On this week's Travel with Rick Steves, we'll hear how language is a high form of art in Ireland, where the works of its poets and playwrights add color to even the nation's parks and pubs.  We'll get tips for enjoying more of the speciality museums of Paris.  And we'll explore how growing up in Renaissance-era Florence shaped Michelangelo into one of the greatest artists of all time.  

Discover how the arts can make every place special. . . on the next Travel with Rick Steves. 

Notes to Stations

  • This is a re-edit of Program #265, which first aired Nov 5, 2011.  The segment C interview also aired on Pgm #216, August 14, 2010.
  • If you plan to fundraise a regular weekly edition of Travel with Rick Steves, in addition to using the show's fundraiser modules, you can contact producer Tim Tattan for suggested places to shorten segments for clean ins and outs.


  • Tour guide Elisabeth Van Hest, based in Paris
  • Tour guide Barry Moloney, based in Kinsale, Ireland
  • Washington University (St. Louis) Art History Professor William E. Wallace, author of "Michelangelo: The Artist, The Man, and His Times" (Cambridge University Press)
  • Gene Openshaw, co-author (with Rick Steves) of "Europe 101: Art History and Art for the Traveler" (Avalon Travel Books)

Related Links


Recommends must-sees in Florence. "The Accademia (with Michelangelo's monumental David and the Prisoners who forever will struggle to escape their rocky bonds) is not to be missed. But another less-visited Michelangelo creation which impressed us is the Laurentian Library staircase." (Shari in Cedar Rapids, Iowa)  

Incidental Music

  • Han-Na Chang, cello, "Sicilienne," from "Le Bourgeois Gentilhomme (Faure)," The Swan / EMI Classics
  • Iaora Tahiti, "Te Nui E," Drum Beats of the Pacific (collection) / Hula Records
  • Excerpts from the orchestration to "Al Atlal," conducted by Ryad El Sonbath, on a performance by legendary Egyptian singing diva Om Khalthoum / Optimum Media (Egypt)
  • Boston Symphony Orchestra, Charles Munch, cond., "'Finale: Maestoso, Allegro' from 'Symphony No. 3' (Saint-Saëns)," Out Classics (collection) / RCA Victor
  • Enzo-Enzo, "La meme lune que moi," Deux / RCA Victor Europe
  • * Orchestre du Capitole de Toulouse, Michel Plasson, conductor, "En habit de cheval: Fugue de papier (Satie)," Satie: Orchestral Works / EMI Classics
  • Agatsuma, "Accustom," Beams / Domo Records
  • Barry Foy, and unspecified musicians from a Seattle-area Irish music session, "Reel #2" / (custom recording)
  • Michael MacLiommoir's reading of the W. B. Yeats poem "Under Ben Bulben" is included on the recording The Poetry of William Butler Yeats / Saland Publishing
  • James Galway, with The Chieftans, "The Fields of Athenry," The Celtic Minstrel / RCA Victor
  • Cairde na Gael, "The Wind that Shakes the Barley," Cairde na Gael / (self-released)
  • Cherish the Ladies, "The Cat Rambles to the Child's Saucepan, et al," A Thistle & Shamrock Christmas Ceilidh (collection) / Green Linnet Records
  • * Auréole, "The Wind that Shakes the Barley," Celtic Grace: Airs, Dances and Ballads from Ireland / E 1 Music International
  • Ex Umbris, "Petit Riense, Rostiboli (Ambrosio)" The Renaissance Album (collection) / Windham Hill
  • Choir of King's College, "Tu Es Petrus (Palestrina)," Essential Renaissance, disc 1 (collection) / EMI Classics
  • Ricercare Ensemble für AlteMusik, Zürich (Jordi Savall, cond.), "En vray amoure (composed by King Henry VIII)," Essential Renaissance, disc 2 (collection) / EMI Classics
  • Frescobaldi, "Canzon decima detta la Paulina," The Original Sound of L'Oiseau Lyre (sampler) / Editions de L'Oiseau Lyre-Decca (Germany)
  • Le Concert d'Astrée (Emmanuelle Haïm, cond.), "‘Toccata' from ‘Orfeo' (Monteverdi)," Essential Renaissance, disc 2 (collection) / EMI Classics

Dated References

  • Elizabeth notes at 10:01 that the French government allocates 2% of the cost of a building to fund public art and "culture."
  • At 11:19, Rick notes the "Primitive Art" museum opened a few years ago at Quai Branly.
  • Elizabeth corrects Rick at 14:55 that entrance to the Pompideau Center museum is no longer free for enjoying the view, but that a Museum Pass will give you access. At 17:08, Elizabeth says that the Louvre is open late on Wedesdnays and Fridays until 9:45pm, but that you need to expect being vacated from the exhibit halls a half hour before closing time. Starting at 17:47, Rick and Elizabeth discuss how the Eiffel Tower is now taking individual reservations online.
  • Starting at 24:30, Barry and Rick discuss literary tours in Dublin, particularly the Dublin Literary Pub Crawl.  Barry also recommends the Dublin Writers Center for contemporary author readings at 25:07.  At 25:23, Barry references the recent "Boy in the Striped Pajamas" John Boyne book and film (released in 2008).
  • At 25:40, Rick estimates the population of Ireland at around 4 million.
  • Barry compares Barack Obama's oratory skills to 19th century Irishman Daniel O'Connell's public speaking skills at 28:56.
  • At 30:05, Rick and Barry discuss events in Dublin to re-create James Joyce's "Bloomsday""" on June 16 each year.
  • Barry refers at 35:20 to Ireland as "a neutral country" with an unarmed police force.
  • At 56:12, Gene says he would recommend taking a visitor to the chapel behind the main altar of the church of Santa Maria Novella near the Florence train station to view Michelangelo's frescoes.