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european vacation


hi guys! i hope you're all enjoying the holiday today. ac and i are getting geared up to leave for a much needed vacation on thursday so i though i'd reach out to you guys and see if you might be able to help us with some recs for the trip! we'll be in paris and amsterdam june 2-12 and would really appreciate any tips on great shops, restaurants and destinations you've visited (they don't have to be design related)! we're staying in the marias and then montmartre in paris and we'll be in amsterdam for my 25th birthday on june 9th, so if you know any fun restaurants or bars for that night, i'd be most appreciative. thanks so much guys, we're so excited!

[i'll be posting once a day while i'm gone, but the lovely kate klapfish of three square design will be doing the posting for me. i need a break from the computer so i won't be answering emails or blogging while i'm away for the week. ps: kate's a fantastic newsletter and web designer if you ever need someone!]



Anonymous Anonymous said...

Nice areas for shopping (in beautiful old part of Amsterdam):
- the '9 straatjes' (nine little streets) http://www.de9straatjes.nl/Historie/historie.html
- Utrechtsestraat, a very nice (but small though) shop there is Jan (http://www.nlstreets.nl/ENGshop.php?id=0054a)
- Haarlemmerdijk/Haarlemmerstraat

Restaurant websites (with reviews):

Restaurant De Kas is a nice restaurant with good quality food (http://www.restaurantdekas.nl/6openinghours_bookings.php)

Don't hesitate to contact me if you would like to have more (specific) info!


9:30 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

ok first... buuy the intramuros "DESIGN PARIS GUIDE" in the Virgin megastore.

Take your lunch time at COLETTE ad: 213 rue saint honore, buy some stuff

Take a dinner at GEORGE restaurant

9:34 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Eating in Amsterdam can be SO expensive! When my husband & I were there last year, our first day we spent 30+ Euros on a pancake breakfast (like 50$)! So for lunch, we had to find some place cheaper, and it was pretty easy - just walk a little further off of the large squares! We had great pizza for 6 Euros a piece! I wish I could remember the name of the place - it was awesome! Have fun!

9:46 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Yes, living in Amsterdam, I have loads! It's for one night only? Can you e-mail me what you like? In terms of type of food, atmosphere, style... marieke@treatsandtreasures.com

9:59 AM  
Blogger Miss Beaux said...


Atelier Lzc is a great design line out of Paris. They have a good list of retail outlets (under French retail shops and then you click through the map) Any boutique that carries this line is going to be tres fab.


Au revoir!

10:39 AM  
Blogger The HQ Duo said...

Hi Grace,

I was in Amsterdam last fall, and we stayed in a smaller town just outside of the city called Haarlem. It is a BEAUTIFUL town, you can get there from Amsterdam easily from the train station. There is a very cute street, just out the door from the train station in Haarlem (sorry can't remember the name), it has quite a few cute clothing, furniture and gift shopping, and some good restaurants too. Could be a nice day trip.

As far as Amsterdam goes, the Kurfurstendamm is a good shopping street (H&M, smaller shops, etc), and it backs onto a huge courtyard area where people congregate to people watch, have a coffee, etc.

As far as Paris goes, you're going to love every square inch anyways, so I won't even make any specific suggestions, just make sure to check out Colette, on Rue St. Honore.

Have tons of fun, and a happy early B-day!

11:05 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

If you at all like chocolate and sweets you must stop by Pierre Hermé in Paris and Ladurée for some macarons! Pierre Hermé is especially amazing, not to miss! They are both on the same street. Pierre Hermé is on 72 rue Bonaparte and Ladurée is on 21 rue Bonaparte. Plus, that whole area, the 6th Arrondisement, is full of design shops so it's great for walking. If you're staying in the Marais, on the right bank, you can walk across the Beaux-Arts bridge from near where the Louvre is and cross the Seine right into the 6th Arrondisement in the Left Bank, that's a great romantic walk I always take when in Paris. Take pictures! Bon voyage!

11:29 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Well, its been years since I was in Paris, but I was fortunate enough to get a grand tour of the Opera House, including the famous underground lake, and even walked about on the roof! Amazing architecture. Oh, and of course, the Musee D'Orsay (much better than the Louvre in my opinion). Have fun and eat a pain chocolat for me!

11:31 AM  
Blogger nadejda said...

have a nice holidays and happy birthday
P.S my birthday is on june 13th

12:01 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

First of all I love the books "style city amsterdam" and "style city paris". These will give you lots of breat boutique shopping, design and restaurant ideas for both cities.

Now for some more general sightseeing info. I'm living in The Hague and have only had day trips to Amsterdam, but second the "negen straatjes" as a great place to shop.

If you're going to go to a lot of museums (Van Gogh, Rijksmuseum etc) and will be in The Netherlands for a few days, it's probably worth buying a "museum card". It's valid for a year but only costs E25 + admin costs of E4.95 - considering the two museums above cost E9 and E10 respectively - it's not that hard to get your money's worth. Check out this museum website for more museum info http://www.museum.nl/museumnl/handler.cfm?event=englishmap
If you want to see the Anne Frank House and I believe it is worth it you should get there early (9am), but if I remember correctly you can't use the museum card there.

Personally, I love Delft for a day trip - only 45 mins or so on the fast train www.ns.nl for timetables and fares - the porcelain factory tour is interesting. If you stop off in The Hague on the way you could go to the Escher museum - love his block prints as well as his well known gravity defying images - and the Mauritshuis to see "The Girl with the Pearl Earring".

Paris - we were there in Jan and I dragged my husband around the shops I'd found in the style city book. My favourite was lily latifi http://www.lilylatifi.com/uk/index.htm

I also really enjoyed a tour of the Garnier Opera House - amazinng decoration - and the Galeries Lafayette are great if you look up.

Hope this helps - I love reading your site so it's great to be able to give something back!

1:50 PM  
Blogger Chico said...

hi i write from Chile and i´ll be going same thursday to spain on holidays with my wife. I´ll be there the whole June ahead so please if you happen to go to Madrid visit us at our house!!
Carlos & Catherine

1:51 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Some places i know off in Amsterdam. Hope this helps:

Lloyd Hotel, Amsterdam: A must see. Ex-prison, redone by Droog design, theme rooms, Try the room at the top floor!

Frozen Fountain: Design muzeum/store.

Flea market near the Neumarkt: Very cool flea market offering from clothes to second-hand bike and little antique stool.

Balthazar's Kitchen: Great little place with great atmosphere and food (tel 420 21 14, Elandsgracht 108, Open Wednesday to Friday)

Brasserie Harkema: Great for Brunch (http://www.brasserieharkema.nl/index_eng.php)

Have a great time :o)

2:14 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

in Paris, in the Marais, I always stop at the Muji store for stationery (rue des Francs Bourgeois --there's also one in Les Halles). tea at Mariage Freres on rue de Bourg Tibourg, drinks at L'Etoile Manquante on rue Vieille du Temple and people watching at Les Marrionniers on rue des Archives.

in the 1st, rue Montorgeuil has a fantastic open market.

across the river is a great little restaurant called Le Petit Prince on 12 rue Lanneau. it can be a bit hard to find but it's worth it.

and pick up a Pariscope at any kiosk for weekly events. if you're a film geek like me, there are lots of little cinemas on the left bank, and on Wednesday evenings at Centre Wallonie-Bruxelles, one street over from the Centre Pompidou (on Wallonie-Bruxelles), there is the experimental film screening series, Scratch, which always promises something unusual.

have a great trip!

2:20 PM  
Blogger Unknown said...

When in Paris of course you HAVE to go to La Durée near Place de la Madelaine and buy some macarons in pink boxes. Trés chic!

2:45 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I found Prinsengracht the loveliest of Amsterdam's canals - you can while away hours wandering up and down the canal, stopping in at whichever of the shops that take your fancy. I can't remember any shops specifically, but there were definitely some interesting design and antiques places.

As Danielle de Lange says above, Restuarant de Kas is a great restaurant - it has a real wow factor. For cheaper eats, the Lust diner (Lust means 'appetite' in Dutch!) at Runstraat 13 is a great relaxed little place serving good salads and sandwiches.

In Paris, the Picasso museum is one of the best art museums I've visited and well worth finding time for if you can.

I'm sure you'll have a great time in both cities, whatever you do!

2:52 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

You can't miss Musee Picasso and the Musee Rodin... two of best in Paris!
Place des Vosges and Montmatre are must sees. As is the bookstore Shakespeare & Co. in the Latin Quarter right across the Seine from Notre Dame. Great art and design are everywhere in Paris. You can't go wrong there.

4:37 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Boekie Woekie, books by artists, Berenstraat 16, Amsterdam--Lots of pretty postcards & printing press in the back. Try to find Droog. Red light district is an amazing tourist event--busloads of senior citizens: I saw
an old lady with a walker hobbling through. The cannabis store on that street is like a modern museum & pharmacy.

4:59 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

i've never been to europe so i'm useless, but i just want to wish you both a very happy vacation! have fun, eat well, shop a lot, don't work, and be safe. :)

5:52 PM  
Blogger design*sponge said...

thanks so much guys! and thanks so much for the birthday wishes :)

d*s (and ac)

6:50 PM  
Blogger IMEDAGOZE said...

I went to Paris and Amsterdam when I was little, can't remember a thing, other than Printemps in Paris and the red light district in Amsterdam. geez...

anyway, just want to wish you a HAPPY BIRTHDAY, grace! Trips to Paris and Amsterdam are sure one real exciting way to celebrate a birthday! Enjoy your holiday!

7:40 PM  
Blogger Lindsay said...

Two recommendations for Paris:

1) Eat at Bistrot Victoies (6, rue la Vrillière, right behind the Place des Victoires) ... it has the perfect Parisian atmosphere and delish food. (Photo )

2) Go into the Catacombs -- a tunnel of walls made out of skulls! How can you resist that?

8:41 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

There is a great store called Kazana in Paris and Amsterdam. It has some amazing jewelry for responsible prices. The address in Amsterdam is:

80 Leidsestraat

There are lovely winding streets by the Sacour on the top of the hill in the monmatre. Little restaurants and places to buy gifts. You should try going to the Rodin museum while in Paris, the gardens are beautiful and it is wonderful it see his stuff in person. Also go to the Musee D'Orsay.

Amsterdam is amazing, so much fun.. the museums are fantastic and you can get lost amongst the winding beautiful streets. Check out Topshop, they are lucky enough to open one in Amsterdam...raid it if you can.

10:02 PM  
Blogger chewingthecud said...

In paris, don't miss colette on rue st. honore. there's a great museum bookstore at rue de Rivoli, by the Musée des Arts Decoratifs. As a matter of fact, visit the musée too (interior design, furniture, wallpaper, textiles... you'll love it!) Another fav museum is the Musée Histoire Naturelle. There's also the Paris flea markets at Saint Ouen. My fav market is on Montorgeuil. There is also a great little brunch place there: La Pain Quotidien. (It's actually a chain, but very charming.) Le Marais has many cute boutiques, one of which is Jamin Puech for handbags (I forget which street), and St Germain has great restaurants. Costes Hotel on rue St Honore for drinks. Oh, so many places to ramble about... You'll most probably be getting around by metro so be sure to get a booklet of tickets "un carnet" for cheaper rates. Get a copy of pariscope or zuban for weekly events. happy birthday grace!!

10:26 PM  
Blogger Pamphilia said...

One of my favourite Parisian neighborhoods is all along the Rue du Charonne and side streets (Rue du Lappe, Rue Keller, etc) near the Bastille in the 11th Arrondissment. The area near Oberkampf, a bit closer to the 12th is similar. Both are very chic, lots of independent designers and boutiques and cafes, and not as touristy as the Marais, which alas, is getting a bit too high street these days, though it's always beautiful. And in the 1st, JAR's perfume and jewelry boutiques (if you can get an appointment) are amazing experiences (on the Rue Castiglione and in the Place Vendome).

10:53 PM  
Blogger Delphine said...

Happy birthday!

My favourite walk in Paris begins rue du Pont Louis Philippe and ends in the marais while taking rue Francois Miron...Not only you will see beautiful shops (from exquisite stationary to whimsical design) but also nice architecture...Enjoy!

To my point of view the best pastries are at Pierre Herme, 72 rue Bonaparte, left bank. Chic, yummy, and inventive.
Bon voyage!

1:00 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

i just came back from paris where, i also stayed in montmartre, it was also my first trip.

i can't stress enough how staggeringly beautiful the sainte-chapelle cathedral is. i went on a cloudy day, and for about 30 seconds while in the main hall the sun came out and scattered brilliant jewels of color across every surface. words do not do justice. it is magical. (well worth the wait if there is a line)

hot chocolate at cafe de flore. best ever.

l'eclaireur, several stores, one in the marais, interesting aesthetic.

while in the marais, check out the musee carnavalet. fantastic themed rooms

drinks on the roof of the pompidou at night.

the catacombs are terrifyingly macabre yet fascinating. (make sure your ipod is stocked with plenty of sabbath and metallica, for your stroll through the city of the dead!)

i also heard that l'orangerie gallery just reopened, where monet's water lillies reside

2:31 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Oh Im going to Paris to, with my boyfriend - alnmost at the same time. We arrive the day before your birthday!

2:38 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...


Amazing chocolate shop - Puccini Bomboni - 2 shops - one on singel, one on staalstraat


new cool design/interiors shop on the leliegracht - Egg Mercantile (they have Atelier LZC, someone else mentioned)


new style 'tapas' at Envy - beautifully designed LOONGG dining room
on the prinsengracht


3:12 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

hey, i was only in amsterdam for a day and a night but i happened to wander into a really cool understated bar/cafe across the road from the ann frank house on the same side of the street... it was called werck - i stopped in for an afternoon drink and a snack and it had a really nice atmosphere...

5:24 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

While staying in Montmartre, force yourself to get up no later than 5 o'clock one morning, and hit the street for your first cafe au lait. This is the hour when all the workers--the backbone of the district--are having theirs, and the fish, game, and fresh produce are arriving at the markets. It's like going back in time half a century at least, and an experience that's both real and magical. Bon voyage!

7:48 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...


Cafe Fouquet's on Champs-Elysées is a must in Paris! A celebrity favorite, it has attracted Chaplin, Chevalier, Dietrich, Churchill, Roosevelt, and Jackie Onassis. Each table is dedicated to a famous person who are regular to this restaurant. The food was amazing!

Happy Bday and have a safe trip guys.


8:33 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

It is a shame that you will miss:

But as mentioned earlier - Frozen Fountain - Prinsengracht 645 - Amsterdam - http://www.frozenfountain.nl


--Razzmatazz - Wolvenstraat 19 - Amsterdam - http://www.razzmatazz.nl

--SPRMRKT - Rozengracht 191-193 - Amsterdam - http://www.sprmrkt.nl

--POST AMSTERDAM - Oosterdokskade 5 - Amsterdam - http://www.postamsterdam.nl
Visit the museum - shop for design goods - and on the top floor you can eat and party at night with a excelent view on Amsterdam

--Kitsch Kitchen - Rozengracht 8-12 - Amsterdam - http://www.kitschkitchen.nl

--Koot light design - Raadhuisstraat 52-54 - Amsterdam

--Wonen 2000 - Rozengracht 202 - 210 - Amsterdam - http://www.wonen2000.nl

--Shoebaloo - Leidsestraat 10 - Amsterdam - www.shoebaloo.nl
for female shoes and for male at - Koningsplein 7

--Galerie Binnen - Keizersgracht 82 - Amsterdam

--Droog Design - Staalstraat 7a - Amsterdam

Well there is offcourse a lot more but for now!!

Enjoy Amsterdam

For Paris is Collete the PLACE to BE - - - - - - take your credit card and enjoy - http://www.colette.fr/

Adios Maurice

8:36 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

A fantastic area for fabric shopping is near the base of the funicolare leading up to the Sacre Coeur and Montmartre. You could spend hours (guilty) browsing through the shops down there. I picked up a business card for one of them - Ronsard Decors - at 16 Rue Seveste. If you're going by metro, take the Anvers exit.

If you're interested in french provincial fabrics, check out Souleiado at 78 rue de Seine on the left bank just south of the Louvre (walk across the Pont Des Arts). There is another shop across the street that also deals in provincial items.

Finally if you are a book lover, stop by Shakespeare and Company at 37, rue de la Bûcherie just south of Notre Dame. You can check it out over at virtualtourist.com: http://www.virtualtourist.com/travel/Europe/France/Ile_de_France/Paris-99080/Things_To_Do-Paris-Shakespeare_and_Company-BR-1.html

Have fun!

8:44 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Hi! I read your blog everyday and i love it!!!
Unfortunatelly I can't give you tips from Paris or Amsterdam, but be sure when you come to Portugal I will give you lots of contacts of great shops and nice places to visit here.
Big kiss and hope you have a great and fun holiday,

Marta :)

8:53 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Hey Grace,

If you have never been (or better yet, never heard of it) try the Supperclub in Amsterdam for your birthday.

It has changed a bit over the years (for instance, there are now multiple locations) but the Amsterdam location is the original. When I first went there 6 years ago it was unlike anything I have ever experienced... and it really is an EXPERIENCE, more of a performance than a meal. I would recommend avoiding the website - just go with an open mind - there is no menu (they ask if you have any allergies), and it is a minimum 4 hour experience. You gotta try it!

Jonge Roelensteeg 21
1012 PL Amsterdam
+31 (0)20 3446400

9:59 AM  
Blogger Mer said...

Hi Grace!

I'm so jealous! I grew up in Amsterdam and actually wrote a travel guide on the city, so I'd love to give a few suggestions. I'm sure you're already aware of the really great design destinations, but if you're looking for some more off-the-beaten-path items, there are some things you should keep an eye out for! One of my favorite places (although I haven't been in a couple of years) is called Cafe Latei--it's a combination thrift store and restaurant. You can see a pic of the inside here: http://www.latei.net/binnen.html . There are a number of excellent antique/thrift stores in Amsterdam that carry a range of really interesting things, old and new. I remember one right near the Bril Museum (Glasses Museum--an interesting place in an of itself to have a look!) that was just PACKED. I also recall a shop in that area (or around the Singel Canal) that had a number of midcentury pieces from Studio Fris, many of which are really beautiful. Keep an eye out for Studio Fris, actually, just in general. If you're looking for interesting vintage postcards and books (as well as another interesting place in and of itself), check out the Oudemanhuispoort (this will be in any guide).

As far as sights go, a couple that you might find interesting that you probably haven't had suggested to you are Museum Amstelkring (http://www.museumamstelkring.nl/), also known as Ons' Lieve Heer op Solder. It's absolutely fascinating. Also, from a design standpoint as well as a cultural one, you might consider checking out the Jewish Historical Museum (http://www.jhm.nl/). The building is designed beautifully. Also, they had a fascinating exhibition on the artist Charlotte Solomon last time that I think you'd really like. The Portuguese Synagogue is also in that area--as is the Waterlooplein Market. Oh, and lastly! A couple more interesting things worth checking out--

1) NeMO--the New Metropolis Museum designed in and out by Renzo Piano.
2) The Resistance Museum--my favorite in the city.
3) There's a portueguese restaurant in that neighborhood, as well, that's FANTASTIC. I have to run now, but will remember the name and send it later!


10:01 AM  
Blogger rena said...

we did a paris/amsterdam/antwerp trip a few years ago. i will see if we still have the guidebooks...anyway you have to go by Puri Mas, a restaurant, and eat rijstafel. http://www.purimas.nl/rijsttafel.htm
oh my this was a really fun meal. have a great time and happy birthday!!

10:14 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Chez Paul is a great restaurant in Paris. An old boyfriend recommended it to me, and I discovered that my friend who lives in Paris is a regular!

12:35 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I second the nomination for eating Rijsttafel in Amsterdam! You do not know what you have been missing not eating fried coconut all this time. Also, the Concertgebouw has the best acoustics in the world, which sounds kind of academic until you actually hear music there--it's just incredible.

In Paris, the best falafel in the world is to be found at L'As du Fallafel in le Marais (the Jewish section and, as others have mentioned, where a lot of the best shopping is: Muji, the galleries of St. Paul., etc.) Also shop along Rue du Bac between Musee D'Orsay and Bon Marche for the real frenchy boutiques. (and the top floor of Bon Marche is all fancy craft supplies). There is so much else to recommend! But I should stop now. Have a great trip!

12:47 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

You must go have dinner at Refuge des Fondus. I think it's an either you love it or hate it place, but I'm betting the majority of people love it. If drinking wine out of a baby bottle, stepping on the table to get to the other side, tags all over the walls, and other similar oddball things interest you, then please go check it out.

1:27 PM  
Blogger Mer said...

The restaurant I was thinking of in Amsterdam is called La Sala (Plantage Kerklaan 41, Amsterdam, 020-6244846). It's right near the zoo and in the neighborhood of the Jewish Museum/Resistance Museum/Synagogue. It is very--as we like to say--gezellig!

1:55 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

for the best hot chocolate ever go to:

226 rue de Rivoli
1st arrondissement
011-33- 01-42-60-82-00

3:34 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

palais de tokyo (in paris) is very cool.


3:36 PM  
Blogger Aude said...

Some recommendations about Paris: for design shops, take a look at Ugly (1st arrondissement), Rivoli 101 the shop of the Decorative Arts Museum next to the Louvre, Sentou of course; for restaurants, bars etc, one of my favorite is Les étages, a bar in Saint Germain, Le Pré Verre a wonderful restaurant (booking is necessary) in the 5th restaurant, you can also stop by Sadaharu Aoki for a yummy & trendy patisserie (the place is good looking too)! Bien venue à Paris !

4:31 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...


It was great meeting you at ICFF. Hope you have a great trip!

Here's a must eat for Paris. L'Entrecote in the 17th (271, boulevard Pereire). All they have on the menu is steak and pomme frites, and ordering is as simple as telling them how you want your steak cooked. When we were there in 2004, the prix fixe was 22 Euro. It's so popular that you have to get there before 5 to avoid waiting in line.


6:13 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

In Amsterdam, you must visit the Van Gogh Museum. Go there in the morning, because there's usually a long line. Then bring your lunch or have a cup of coffee/beer at Vondelpark. The park looks normal but once you're in there with the local people, you'll feel so relaxed and want to move there. Make sure to check out the houses around it.

In Paris, go to La Cigale(http://www.lacigale.com/), it's the most beautiful restaurant I've ever seen; it also has a long history. A lot of people asked me where to find souffle, but French people don't usually eat a lot of souffle. But if you like souffle a lot, go to Le Souffle - 36, rue du Mont-Thabor. It's close to the Louvre; enter between Vendome and Concorde. Everything on the menu is made in the form of suffle; from main course to dessert(of course!)

Bon voyage!

10:28 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

If you are in amsterdam, visit madamme Tussaud !

12:30 PM  

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