I took a weekend trip to Amsterdam in the middle of March. The train from Paris takes about three hours but it feels a lot shorter with the comfortable seats, wifi and complimentary coffee. Here is a short guide of some of the places I visited and would recommend.
Apple pie at Vinkel (Noordmarkt 43) is a must. Have it with a cup of coffee and if you feel guilty afterwards, take a bike ride through the city. You can rent a bike almost anywhere and I have never seen a place with so many people on bikes. It’s really not just a stereotype.
Wild Zwignen (Javaplein 23hs) for dinner was my favorite. It felt like a restaurant in New York City complete with a daily changing menu sourced from local and fresh ingredients, an open kitchen so you can watch the chefs prepare your meal and a wooden table with your name written on it in chalk. The personal touch and the three euro house wine made this my favorite restaurant during the visit.
Amsterdam has an interesting retail scene. The Dutch seem to have a shop for everything from traditional ceramics (great gifts and souvenirs for friends) to imported Japanese paper products (because that’s always on my list when I’m in Europe…) Nevertheless, fashion is mixed between local designers and my favorite Isabel Marant and Balenciaga. Visit Buise (12 Cornelis Schuystraat), Ennu (15 Cornelis Schuystraat) and Van revenstein (Keisgracht 359)) for international designers and Sprmrkt (Rozengracht) and Sukha (Haarlemmerstraat) for an eclectic mix of local talent.
The art scene was really more than I had expected. My favorite places were the Stedelijk Museum for modern and contemporary art, the Rijkmuseum for some classic still lifes and the Foam photography museum which hosted a Russian exhibit upon my visit.
Don’t miss the Bloemenmarkt held on various days throughout the week. This was a mindblowing experience and probably my favorite part of the city. I have never seen such beautiful flowers! There are a few parks around Holland that display entire flower shows but to get a taste of the country’s pride and joy, visit this market.
The Vondelpark is the city’s biggest park and is popular with locals who bike ride and run here daily. Have a picnic with some stroopwafels you can buy at a food market (or anywhere else for that matter) on a sunny day.