We flew to Europe to celebrate my 30th and had the loveliest time! We spent 3 days in Paris, then went up to Amsterdam for 3, then back to Paris for the final 2. As always, I prioritize where I’m staying, and found some GREAT spots, sharing the links to the airbnbs and hotel here. But first-
Where We Stayed
1. The first place was in Le Marais, located in the 4th arrondissement of Paris. It gives of classic Parisian vibes, but is also home to charming alleyways, quiet, narrow winding streets, boutique shops, restaurants and gay bars. It’s a fun area! The airbnb was located on the top two floors of a courtyard building and felt very safe and secure. There is a living room, kitchenette, one bed, two toilets (upstairs & downstairs) and one bathtub. Note- the upstairs is open concept so there is no privacy between the bed & tub. The windows opposite the bed and above the claw foot tub look out onto the rooftops. This was a dreamy spot! Here is the link.
2. The next place was a CHARMING hotel/bed and breakfast called Hôtel des Grands Ecoles (linked) located just across the Seine in the Latin Quarter. The Latin Quarter felt a little less edgey and perhaps a bit older crowd. The hotel was located inside a beautiful garden courtyard complete with a very fluffy cat and was just a 3 minute walk from the Cardinal Lemoine metro station. I’m not sure why, but this hotel gave me major Madeleine vibes. Each morning, they serve fresh croissants, jam, cheese and boiled eggs in the breakfast room. Don’t get me started on the rooms- the toile wallpaper with matching curtains absolutely sent me over the edge! So cute and so french! I forgot to take photos so the following are from their website.
3. The last place in Paris was probably my favorite. Not because of amazing interiors, but because of the view and the fresh baked goods the host provides each morning! Located in the 15th arrondissement, just south of the Eiffel Tower, the area is quiet and residential. There are two separate rooms and listings on Airbnb, so if one us booked check the other! Linked here. Note: normally I like to book Airbnb’s where you have the whole place to yourself and are not living in the apartment with the host. I made an exception for this place though since the guest area is upstairs (host was downstairs) and has its own private bathroom and balcony, seen below. The balcony opens off the bedroom, so the view is the same!
Activities & Tips
I am by no means an expert in either of these cities, so I feel weird giving advice like I would NYC, But here’s a list of things we did:
- walked A LOT- 45 miles over 5 days to be exact (bring comfy shoes!) waking up early and taking walks along the Seine and the small narrow streets around it was my favorite part of the trip.
- took the metro a lot too! Get a pass instead of buying single tickets if you plan on taking it often. The metro is so clean and efficient, much better than the subway and so easy to navigate.
- I generally tend to steer clear of tourist attractions but museums are the exception! My favorite was the Rodin, but I also went to the Musèe de Montmartre (although I found it a bit boring), Musèe d’Orsay, Hôtel de la Marine was AMAZING and comparable (so I hear) to Versailles. I advise booking museums in advance and NOT going on the weekends- things get so crowded
- stroll through parks and gardens
- eat all the french food at ANY sidewalk cafe but if you start to feel like you’re dying like I did and need some fruits and veggies, I went to this place and I’ve heard this one is good as well!
- take the 6 metro. It passes right by the Eiffel Tower and so many other sights. It’s like a million dollar tour for the price of one metro ride. If you want to do what I did, time it so you can pass by the Eiffel Tower (between Bir-Hakeim and Passy stations) when it sparkles at night. It sparkles for 5 minutes at the beginning of every hour after sundown, then for a final 10 minutes at 1am.
After a few days in Paris, I was ready for a break. We had originally planned to go to Bruges, but because of travel restrictions had to cancel. If you have never been to Bruges, you MUST go. It is by far my favorite place in Europe, truly magical. Amsterdam is not bad option at all though and I really grew to love it during this trip. I got lucky by finding this charming airbnb so last minute- it’s centrally located on canal, only a 15 minute walk from the train station, close to museums and you cannot beat being RIGHT on a canal. Under $100 a night, too! Linked.
Activities & Tips
I only had a few days in Amsterdam and was treating it as a break from Paris so I really didn’t do much aside from walking around! But I did go to these museums and recommend them:
- Van Gogh Museum
- Museum of the Canals
- explore the shops on Spiegelstraat (lots of delft, art, collectibles)
- rent a bike
- walk around aimlessly, no map!
That’s all! If I missed anything please leave a comment and I will address it!