3 hours and a half train ride: Paris - Brussels - Rotterdam – Amsterdam. If you plan in advance, it’s easy to find 80 euros roundtrip tickets from Paris.
We found a nice appartment in the Jordaan (TripAdvisor or Airbnb).
You cannot go wrong staying in the Jordaan area. It’s a pretty adorable, quiet and trendy neighborhood, 5 min away from the train station, very centrally located. In the Jordaan, you get the feeling of living the local way ie far away from the red light district cohort. Older, wiser…………seeking broader experiences. You may still want to get stoned but you may also want to do more than just sit iddle in a coffee shop or on a rooftop.
The painting in our living room was quite unusual: peaceful and fat old ladies (sisters?), smoking joints/cigarettes/cigars (your pick) and playing cards. Setting the tone.
I really appreciated Dutch people’s openess, permissive and tolerant culture.
I liked that there are no shutters because I can see what’s happening inside the houses. As we were walking, I would stop and stare, admiring the life inside: people eating in front of their TV, drinking coffee while reading their newspapers, having breakfast with the kids. Admiring the furniture and interior design too: all-white appartment with high ceiling and red tulips by the window, all wood furnitures or very minimalist. Dutch have got style.
This seemingly lack of privacy (my french way of looking at things) I interpret it as Dutch openess and comfort (did not big brother emerge from a Dutch production house?) thus allowing me to stare at Dutch people’s homes in awe without them paying attention or closing the shutters (typically what French- me included- would do). Who would not want to get inside this cute and inviting house?
So now, few tips! For a 3 days trip in Amsterdam, you need:
- To know how to ride a bike
- TripAdvisor app, always have excellent advices for restaurants, brunch places…And google maps
- To eat and have fun: few suggestions (below), 100% locally-tested and loved!
1- Brunch place “Baton” in the Jordaan area to get your fix of illy coffee
…and delicious avocado sandwiches. Then, walk up to Van Gogh museum (30 min), you may want to stop by Vondelpark for a little read (buy yourself a book at the museum)
2. Puccini Bombini, next to Baton: high quality, home-made chocolate (to-die-for)
And amazing favours! Not cheap but delicious, really. Bring back a gift to your mom or your work colleagues.
3. In the evening, try the soup place “Seasons”.
The chef is like a Jamie Oliver of organic food! Soups are to die-for (obviously work better when it is -20 outside)
4. And for desert..the thirsty dog, a nice coffee shop, playing awesome hip-hop music.
The barmaid is a friendly, tall and bulky guy with a hat, who look like a NBA player. You feel totally safe and welcome at Thirsty dog.
5. Off the beaten track, secretly hidden: the Noordelicht café.
It’s a greenhouse transformed into a vibrant café place. To go there you need to get on a boat, quite the adventure. By night, it’s gorgeous and intimate. Say meow to the adorable cat’s owner welcoming visitors at the bar. Noordelicht café by night. You’ve reached the milky-way my friend!
6. Based on Heather’s reco, my friend Olivier says that the best Apple pie is to be found at Winkel Café
Ann Frank house
Quite intense, so be prepared. It’s totally worth the trip. She was my hero when I was 11. She is a messenger of peace with such a vibrant soul but her life- like many others- was stolen. There is a poignant movie scene of her father- the only survivor in the family- in which he says that ‘you never know your children.’ Ann Frank’s dad published all her writings. He is the reason why the world knows Ann.
And watch out for the bikers, they rule the town!
Feel free to add your suggestions: what else? where else should I go next time I’m in Amsterdam? Thanks!