European Holidays For Culture Vultures: A Guide To Summer 2022

Europe is home to some of the most renowned artists across the globe, and every piece of artwork, even the very architecture it is housed in, is a testament to the culture and history behind it. Europe is widely known for its historic, yet dynamic and avant-garde art scene, and is constantly changing its approach to the world of art.

It has been the birthplace of many foundational artistic movements, including the Renaissance (1350-1620), the Impressionist movement (1860-1886) and Cubism (1907-1917) among many others, and the diverse landscape and rich heritage continue to inspire new ideas to this day.

Here, we’ll look at three of 2022’s top holiday destinations and must-see exhibits for creatives, culture vultures, and those who simply fancy an ever-popular European roadtrip.

Home to Michelangelo, Botticelli, and Leonardo da Vinci among many other Italian innovators, Florence is essential for any art lover visiting the continent.

The city itself is a haven for architecture buffs and places Italian Renaissance art and architecture centre stage with some of the most glorious examples of religious art of the modern age, including Michelangelo’s David, and Giotto’s Madonna of San Giorgio al Costa.

The best way to view Florence is not by making an itinerary or working your way through a guidebook. Florence is a treasure hunt of a city, with architectural embellishments and lavish frescos tucked away in alleys and niches to be discovered unexpectedly. Make your way through bustling Italian plazas, and sun-scorched cobbled streets, and discover with your own eyes the art and culture of this vibrant Italian city.

If, however, you would like to pencil some exhibitions in the diary, the revolutionary works by Donatello are currently on show at the Palazzo Strozzi and Bargello Museum until the 31st of July.

Donatello’s works were highly influential across the Renaissance period, and the artist was commissioned by the great Medici family to create some of the most famous sculptures and architecture of the Renaissance era, including the Tomb of the Antipope John XXIII and the facade of the Santa Maria del Fiore.

The 22nd of September 2022 to the 29th of January 2023 will showcase the most extensive Italian exhibit of contemporary Icelandic-Danish artist Olafur Eliasson to date, at the Palazzo Strozzi. This exhibition plays with the effect of light, colours, and shapes to take the viewer on an inspirational journey through Eliasson’s creative development.

As the birthplace of Impressionism, Art Nouveau, Art Deco, and Fauvism, a major fashion design capital and a hub for writers and filmmakers alike, Paris has firmly cemented its role in the global creative industries and flourished in traditional and contemporary spheres alike.

Paris is home to some of the world’s most celebrated art collections, including the Louvre which is widely considered to be the greatest art museum in the world, with 40,000 works on display including the Mona Lisa and 9 million visitors every year. The Musée D’Orsay is also an essential visit, with one of the world’s largest collections of Impressionist and Post-Impressionist art, including art from famous Parisien artists including Monet, and ranked fifteenth in the most-visited art museums of 2020.

And of course, if your tastes are more modern, you can catch contemporary exhibits at the Saint- Germain, Belleville, and Marais galleries.

If you’re a lover of French cinema, you must not miss the Cinémathèque Française’s homage to actress Romy Schneider on the 40th anniversary of her death. The tribute will feature Schneider’s roles, lines, diary, images, and interviews for a deeper insight into Schneider’s life and creative processes. The exhibition will run from March 16th to July 31st 2022.

The Musée D’Orsay features a collection of hundreds of works by Edvard Munch, entitled A Poem Of Love, Life And Death from September 20th 2022 to January 22nd 2023. While many people are familiar with The Scream, this exhibition is an eye-opening look into Munch’s artistic career and reveals a depth and diversity to his works which often escapes the public eye.

This exhibition is an exciting array of paintings, sketches, prints and engravings which highlight his diverse artistic skills.

Briefly home to post-Impressionist painter Van Gogh, Amsterdam is famously one of the leading influences in art and culture and has several art museums including the Rijksmuseum, as well as over fifty theatres, a symphony orchestra and two ballet troupes.

The Rijksmuseum is the national museum of the Netherlands and showcases over 800 years of Dutch art history, including the great Dutch artists Rembrandt, Van Gogh and Vermeer. The collection consists of over 1 million objects with a maximum display of 8,000 pieces, and includes influential works such as The Milkmaid by Vermeer and Rembrandt’s Night Watch.

This year’s lineup will include the works of English modernist sculptor Barbara Hepworth (3rd June to 23rd October 2022) which explore her post-war period, as well as exhibitions of Modern Japanese Lacquer art (1st July to 4th September), XXL Paper artworks (1st July to 4th September) and early photography of Japan (1st July to 4th September).

For something quirky, you could drop in to the Crawly Creatures exhibit, which focuses on the beauty and brutality of the insect world, featuring artists including Albrecht Dürer, Wenzel Jamnitzer, Jann van Kessel and Maria Sybilla Merian, or Clara the Rhinoceros, which focuses on the life and depictions of one of the first rhinoceroses to be brought to Europe (30th September 2022 to 15th January 2023).

Travelling Travails

During the COVID-19 pandemic, many countries introduced restrictions on who could enter or exit their borders. And while restrictions have now eased across much of the world, it is well worth checking to see what you may be required to do before you are able to travel from your home country to one of Europe’s cultural hotspots.

Additionally, if you are travelling from the UK, you may have additional obstacles to navigate that relate to Brexit.

While much attention so far has focused on the difficulties caused to trade and the movement of goods, Brexit has also introduced some additional criteria that people must meet if they are to travel to certain EU states, and this is something UK tourists will need to deal with prior to their trip.

The Best Job In The World?

1999 was probably the worst year of my professional life. Unsatisfying office jobs followed by long periods of unemployment and claiming benefits. I’d also missed out on an opportunity to train as a Microsoft certified programmer because I was unable to find a placement. The dream of making my way into the world of employment had turned into an absolute nightmare, at times I felt like a total failure.

Towards the end of 1999 an opportunity arose for me to work in a casino. I’d always loved card games after seeing the glitz and glamour of casinos in James Bond movies. Dissatisfied with life in Northern Ireland, at the age of just 20, I packed a couple of suitcases and ended up going to the Isle of Man to train as a croupier (casino dealer) in January 2000. 18 months later I was working on my first cruise ship, and 18 months after that I was boarding the QE2 (the most famous ship of them all) to do a world cruise.

For a young man from a housing estate in Antrim, Northern Ireland this was beyond even my wildest dreams. On a ferry from Belfast to Liverpool in 1997, I’d once seen a pontoon table and croupier and dreamt what it may be to work as a casino dealer on the high seas.

Everything aboard the QE2 was as you would expect, starting with Captain Ron Warwick, who looked exactly what the captain of the QE2 should look like (Google the name if you don’t believe me). Passenger facing crew were immaculate in their appearance. I could probably have shaved with the crease on my pressed tuxedo shirts, and on a number of occassions when I had been sunburnt in port, I could feel the creases cutting into my tender skin as I dealt the cards that evening in the casino.

The great thing for croupiers on cruise ships is that they only work when the ship is in international waters, in port, the casino must close, and casino staff are free to do pretty much whatever they want. Casino staff have a cabin steward who cleans their cabin and takes away their dirty laundry and brings it back fresh each day. We did a 103 day world cruise which included stops in places like Hong Kong, Sydney, Cape Town, Hawaii, Mauritius, Nagasaki, Tahiti and Singapore to name a few. I managed to do some amazing excursions like diving in the great barrier reef, quad biking in the Namibian desert, and dining in all sorts of fine restaurants, trying delicacies like Springbok, Kangaroo, Crocodile and Kobe beef. We made stops in 5 continents, crossed the equator and even experienced living a Tuesday in consequetive days when we crossed the world timeline. Imagine that, you go to bed on Tuesday night, wake up the following morning and its Tuesday again, but this was far from groundhog day.

The role in the casino was not about taking passengers’ money like in a land-based casino, it was about providing them with fun and entertainment. The passengers were friendly and pleasant, many of them being extremely successful people (I understand the lowest cabin cost for a world cruise on the QE2 was about $50,000 in 2003). A lot of the passengers had never played in a casino and were fascinated to learn and experience the one onboard. Just getting to know some of these people was an experience in itself, and a large part of the role in the casino was simply to entertain them whilst they were in the casino.

There were also celebrity passengers. We would finish work and go to the crew/members bar where we would have guest entertainers like the late Des O’Connor and the magician, the late Paul Daniels down to have a drink. God bless them both.

Was my job the best job in the world? Maybe not for everyone, but it was beyond even my wildest dreams and the 6 month experience, as well as the amazing people I met will be something I treasure forever. I was very lucky to have lived this experience and will always be incredibly grateful for it.

Many years have passed since then and I’ve always missed the buzz of casinos which is how Fun 21 Casino Hire was created in 2021. My celebrities now are anyone who hires the No Money Fun Casino that I provide for parties and celebrations, and I aim to give the same experience that you would expect onboard the QE2.

Pavers for your Driveway, Patio or Pool Deck

Installing a new paver driveway or replacing old concrete walkways are a great way to beautify a home or business in Jacksonville. While it will not only beautify your property it will help increase property value. Pavers come in many different designs, colors and textures, allowing you to fit any theme or personal design look.

Paving stones have always been a popular hardscaping choice among homeowners because they’re extremely durable, last a long time, have a great look and have many different uses around the property. Whether you’re looking to redesign a pool deck, walkway, driveway or improve the patio, pavers are an ideal solution.

Our Favorite Paver Manufacturers

As a homeowner, finding the best pavers for a driveway, pool deck or walkway is an important step in starting your project. There are many different paving manufacturers to choose from, and finding the right one is often a difficult task.

At Jacksonville Pavers, we’ve installed thousands of pavers on thousands of properties. Here are the top pavers for a driveway, pool deck or patio:

Angelus Paving Stones

Since 1946, Angelus has been one of the top permeable paving manufacturers. Their wide selection of permeable paver colors, textures and styles will give you many versatile design solutions.

This manufacturer is a top choice to consider if adding permeable pavers for a new driveway on your Jacksonville property.


Whether you’re looking to add some old world charm or contemporary flare, Belgard offers a variety of concrete pavers perfect for driveways, walkways and patios. Their pavers come in different styles, shapes and tones to help you add zest to your property.


Pavers can be installed to enhance the look and feel of almost any outdoor area. Here are different ways you can use paving stones to customize the look of the common areas on your property:



Pool decks


Outdoor steps or walls

Parking lots

You can choose from particular brands and colors that you can have when making upgrades to your home.

We can help provide some guidelines to help narrow down the long list of paver materials and provide you with reputable, high quality pavers in Jacksonville.

Having A Company Design And Install Pavers in Jacksonville

Installing new pavers for outside areas on your property is an important investment. It’s easy to find dozens of paving companies in Jacksonville and the surrounding area, but choosing the right one is often more difficult. Knowing what to look for in a paving contractor is an important first step in choosing the right company for your next project.

At Jacksonville Pavers, our team of paver designers have years of experience helping not only individual property owners, but even homeowners associations find the right pavers for their projects.

We know that every paver project is unique, and we have the experience handling large projects with a personalized touch. We’ll guide you through the entire process from choosing the best pavers to design and installation, and we’ll answer all of your questions along the way.

When you work with Jacksonville Pavers, we encourage you to browse through paving manufacturers catalogs, see physical samples and look at other projects in the area. We’ve installed tens of thousands of projects in Jacksonville, Orange Park and the surrounding areas of Florida, and we’d love to help you with yours.