Special b'day -- Amsterdam or Paris?

Old Oct 30th, 2000, 03:04 PM
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Special b'day -- Amsterdam or Paris?

Hello! I'm planning the end portion of a vacation next May and need to decide between flying back from Paris or Amsterdam (either is convenient to get to). While I have been to Paris (only for 4 days, though), I'm trying to decide which city to visit for the last 3 days of my trip. It will be over a weekend that includes my birthday.

I would love to go back to Paris, but thought maybe I should try a new city. Since I haven't really seen anyone rave about Amsterdam, I was hoping for a bit more feedback about the city.
Old Oct 30th, 2000, 05:29 PM
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For me Amsterdam is a good place for the following:

1. shopping, mostly for clothes - Amsterdam has multiple long pedestrian strips lined with shops

2. eating - lots of fantastic multi-cultural eateries everywhere

3. drinking - grab a Heineken al fresco just about any time of year, at night the place really comes alive

4. art - van Gogh for modern, Rijksmuseum for the great masters

5. day trips - Belgium and Germany besides Holland itself are accesible

Of course it also has grungy guys on the Dam hawking drugs to anything that moves and remotely appears under the age of 40. It also has a lot of cheap porno shops. That reminds me of number 6 - (*&~!@#. Oh, better not go into that one. ;-)

Old Oct 30th, 2000, 06:01 PM
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I'm sure that Paris will win this popularity contest, so I'll be contrarian and put in a good word for Amsterdam. I love walking around the canal ring and going to the museums (Rijksmuseum, Van Gogh, Stedelijk, Historical Museum, Jewish Museum, several small canal house museums like the Willet-Holthuysen, etc.). It's not as grand as Paris (and not nearly as large); it's more of a manageable experience. If you really loved Paris, there's no reason not to go back, but if you want to try someplace new, Amsterdam is more than worth a try. It would be good to stay in a canal house hotel to get that picturesque feel.

As for the much-cited sleaze, I've been there a number of times and never found it all that difficult to avoid the sleazy areas. By the way, there's sleaze in Paris, too, if you know where to look for it.
Old Oct 31st, 2000, 03:12 PM
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Hard to tell--I wasn't crazy about Amsterdam, but am always of the opinion that it is good to explore the world and see new places. I'm glad I went but would never particularly be interested in going back. It's okay for a couple days, though. I was surprised at how dirty it was, I just hadn't expected that, trash on the street, in the gutters, etc, around the main city thoroughfares and squares. Also, the street and area where the famous old church is (can't recall its name) was rather grim and dirty, also. I liked the Rijksmuseum and Van Gogh museum and Anne Frank's house; Rembrandt's house was okay but nothing special, I wouldn't go out of my way to go there (not much furniture in it). The people were very nice and friendly, but a couple days was enough for me. I am a real classical music aficionado so that was special for me, to go to concerts at the Concertgebouw as it is so famous, but that wouldn't mean much to most people. I would probably go to Amsterdam since you haven't been there, and it sounds like a convenient opportunity to see it. I think it is good for drinking beer and eating--good Indonesian restaurants; I did not notice this pedestrian shopping strip thing but I do not usually shop for clothes, anyway, when traveling, and I doubt if I would in the Netherlands. I think May might be a good time to go there as it should be nice walking around with the flowers and flowering trees, etc.
Old Oct 31st, 2000, 08:39 PM
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I have lived in both Paris and Amsterdam. I prefer Amsterdam for many reasons.
-People speak English and are extremely friendly
-The city is small and easy to get around
-I find the architecture more interesting
-The French Fries cannot be beat!!
-The museums are all close together and they each have extraordinary collections
-The markets are great (you can find fabulous cheeses here)
-Going out is a blast and the bars are easy to find (liedseplein and rembandtsplein are two areas full of bars and restaurants)
-Don't forget to try an Indonesian Rijstaffel as well as poffertjes at a pancake house (mini-pancakes). At McDonalds try the new Mckroket (a dutch fast food yum!)
-The Canals are beautiful, especially at night.
-Paris is a wonderful city, but if you've been there before, I really suggest trying something new. Amsterdam is a simple, well-laid out city. Great for a three day trip.
Old Nov 1st, 2000, 04:50 AM
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And we are all the same people !
Old Nov 1st, 2000, 05:05 AM
Mary Ann
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Hi Nikki
We have been to both cities and they each have their own Charm. We last visited Amsterdam in 1997 for 3 wonderful days in August, including my Husband's birthday. Among other things, we toured the Heineken Brewery (not far from the Riks). It cost about $1.50 per person. They have a tour, go on your birthday and (especially if you get your tickets in advance and go early) get in the first group. When you are done, you end up in a charming brew hall with complimentary beer and some chips, etc. When all the groups arrive, they ask for birthday people (our 21 year old daughter knew this in advance). There were 4 (out of about 100+). 3 were in their 20s then Jim in his 50s. They had to chug a "happy birthday" special mug, which you get to keep. Really kind of a different way to start your birthday.
As mentioned above, there is also canal tours, the Anne Frank house was very moving, shopping, cafes, markets, Riks Museum, Diamond tours, and just walking the streets. It is actually a more doable city in just a few days than is Paris (looking at just the city itself and not environs). Have a great time which ever you choose.

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