Amsterdam/Paris Trip Report

Mar 5th, 2001, 04:45 AM
  #1  
Meg
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Amsterdam/Paris Trip Report

We returned Saturday night from a fabulous trip. We flew to Amsterdam and stayed at The Bridge Hotel by the Magere Brug and Carre Theater for the first few nights, then took the train to Paris for two nights. In Paris, we stayed at Le Crillon (major splurge for us, but you only live once, right?) We spent the majority of our time in Paris checking out antique print and book shops. We returned to the Crazy Horse Saloon (enjoyed it just as much as the first time) and finally saw the Moulin Rouge show which we enjoyed and thought was so much better than the Lido (saw that last trip and were very disappointed - think: "bad Las Vegas".) Upon our return to Amsterdam, we stayed on a houseboat - it was a great experience. Since this was not our first trip to either city, we had a very low key itinerary. I think this was our first trip where we didn't set foot in one museum. We wandered the cities on foot a lot. The weather was cold - it snowed off and on in Amsterdam, but it never stuck. We ate at local places - enjoyed vlaamse frites, bakery breads (I highly recommend Le Marche on Kalvetstraat for breads/pastries/slices of pizza), and cheeses. The friends travelling with us had never been to either city, so they enjoyed the Rijksmuseum, Anne Frank House and the Naval Museum. They went to the museums right after they first opened and never had problems with lines. I think this was our first European vacation where we actually took the time to relax - slept late, spent the afternoons on the houseboat with cheese and wine and took naps. And we enjoyed the 50 tulips I bought in the market for about US$8 - just incredible! I think Amsterdam has finally surpassed Paris as my favorite city. The people are great. I guess my biggest piece of advice for Amsterdam is get a good map before you go and study it to get familiar with the street names. It is easy to get around and very walkable - places (Rembrantplein, Muntplein, etc.) are a lot closer than they appear on the map. Please let me know if you have any questions.
 
Mar 5th, 2001, 05:02 AM
  #2  
Dana
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Thanks for your info. I will be going to Paris at the end of March and then on to Amsterdam (first time to both cities). Notes like these make me even more excited to go!! 16 days and counting....
 
Mar 5th, 2001, 05:12 AM
  #3  
Meg
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Dana - you'll fall in love with both cities. We have gotten stuck in a rut - we are going to have to MAKE ourselves go someplace else next time. Have a great trip!
 
Mar 5th, 2001, 05:42 AM
  #4  
Jeff
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Meg: Could you please elaborate on your trip from A'dam to Paris. I assume it was by train: How much time did it take, and what was the cost. Thx.
 
Mar 5th, 2001, 06:50 AM
  #5  
Meg
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We took the train from Centraal Station to Gare du Nord. The trip was about 4 hours, 15 minutes. The tickets were more expensive than we remembered - first class one way was going to cost over 500 guilders. We ended up going second class for 676 guilders for the two of us - round trip - a huge difference. I think maybe the tickets were higher because they were having "holiday". The only downside was that we got stuck in a smoking car - and it was awful. I even smoke and it drove me crazy.
 
Mar 5th, 2001, 06:55 PM
  #6  
Susan
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Meg, thanks for your report.
We're going to Paris for a week in late May & then taking the Thayls to Amsterdam in early June for another week(1st visit to the Netherlands). We plan to purchase our train tickets in Paris rather than from the U.S. Do you see any problem in waiting rather than buying the tickets in the U.S.?
How did you arrange to stay on a house boat?
Since you've been there before, have you visited the Tropen, Van Loon, & Naval Museums? If so, would appreciate any info.
Any advice on day trips (not that we're allowing that much time)? We plan to spend our final 3 days in Haarlem to sort of wind down. Any comments on Haarlem?
Thanks.
 
Mar 5th, 2001, 07:20 PM
  #7  
Capo
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Hi Meg. Nice trip report...sounds like you had a wonderful time. Interesting that you now feel that Amsterdam has surpassed Paris as your favorite city. I completely agree with you that the Dutch people are great, and I love the canals in Amsterdam, but I could never see it surpassing Paris as my favorite city. But, that's what makes things so interesting, right? That we all have such diverse tastes and different favorites. Vive la difference! And thanks again for your nice report.
 
Mar 6th, 2001, 06:12 AM
  #8  
Meg
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We rented the houseboat through Amsterdam House (www.amsterdamhouse.com). It was such a convenient location (on the Amstel at Herengracht just across from the opera house.) Rembrandtplein was a five minute walk away. Waterlooplein (flea market, grocery, metro and tram stop) was just across the Amstel. Muntplein (blooming market) and Kalverstraat were less than ten minutes by foot. All around great!

I think the reason Amsterdam surpassed Paris for me is that my husband speaks no French whatsoever (He speaks some Japanese - of all things!), so in Paris, we tend to stick together for everything and not do our own things. In Amsterdam, we're both completely comfortable on our own - so we both enjoy that more. He doesn't have to shop with me, and I don't have to shop with him. I think also the snow made it really special this time. We live in New Orleans, so we just love visiting cold weather places.

We haven't been to the Van Loon or Tropen Museums. Our friends did visit the Naval Museum. The man enjoyed it very much b/c he's interested in ships and models, but he thought the English explanations each exhibit contained less info than the Dutch version - which makes sense to me. His wife was not interested in it at all, but he went to Anne Frankhuis with her - so they made a tradeoff.
 

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