Saturday, September 7

Two days in Amsterdam {Travel report}


After my short week at Lesage in Paris, I join my husband who had arrived in Amsterdam for a short stay in the city. It was our first time in The Netherlands, and we easily and quickly fell in love with Amsterdam and its canals, parks and overall relaxed lifestyle. We had booked our accommodation via AirBnB [read my post about it here], and we were very pleased with both the apartment and its location - at walking distance to the city center.

Since I was there for only two days, I chose to wander in the streets rather than have a list of must-see spots. I'm sharing my finds in this post together with a couple of tips. Enjoy!

♡ Shopping & Eating

You may want to explore Rozengracht/ De Clercqstraat, which have plenty of shopping opportunities, from prop styling heaven Pick & Spend to trendy design shop Nordic New (see photo sbelow).

Props heaven at Pick and Spend

Pick and Spend was a pretty amazing place to browse as they have clothes as well as accessories and home decor/ props both vintage and new. I would have liked to bring back one of the huge red letter in metal, or the industrial standing lights that were on display. If you are a prop stylist, I highly recommend you to visit this place.

Nordic New, on the other hand, had a Scandinavian vibe with minimalistic furniture by renowned design companies such as Normann Copenhagen, Tom Dixon, Muuto,  etc... That's were I first spotted the cord lamp by Design House Stockholm, something I've since then put on my wish list...


Shop scandinavian design at Nordic New

I spotted a couple of party shops as well, but I didn't get any chance to get in. We were passing either too early or too late and they were closed... However I purchased very pretty paper garlands, honeycombs and more at the local supermarket. Dutch people must like to throw parties, I think!

Cute cafés/ restaurants abound on these streets too, and since we were staying in this area we did try a couple of them. Highly recommended is Cafe Louter for coffee in the morning, dinner or drink - I'm sure their lunch is as good! We had tuna served with veggies and a vegetarian bulghur dish that were pretty amazing. Add a terrace + local draft beer + a view on the canal and Amsterdam has conquered your heart!

Mazzo and Cafe Louter

I had saved a mini-design guide of Amsterdam found in a French edition of Elle Deco, where they recommended MAZZO, an italian restaurant located in Rozengracht 114. A trendy place where to have a break after a bit of shopping, lovely cappuccino and friendly service too...
We had dinner once at Fier Amsterdam, which is close to Cafe Louter, and had an amazing mussel dish on the menu that evening. Needless to say, we thoroughly enjoyed it with a delicious italian white wine. Another win! Fully packed with locals, always a good sign...

*Tip:  rent a bicycle along Rozengracht at Amstel Bike. Good price and friendly staff!


Next on your list if you ever go to Amsterdam is the upscale JOORDAN area, with its canals, art galleries, trendy shops, cool cafes and restaurants. There you will also find the Anne Frank Museum - which we couldn't visit as the waiting line was sooo long, and the cheese museum* and enjoy the relatively quiet and narrow streets and great architecture.

Stop at The Otherist, in Leliegracht 6, a cabinet of curiosités, with items beautifully curated by the owners. There is an online shop as well, make sure to check out what's in store. I got the mini deer  wall trophy made of cardboard for the kids room, loving it!

* Tip: taste the local cheeses, delish!!


Now here is something I wish I would have had on my list of must-see places, and I hope you will put it on yours now. The MOOOI gallery really looked amazing from the outside, but was unfortunately closed on Monday. Who is MOOOI anyway? Born from the fruitful collaboration of world-famous designer Marcel Wanders & Casper Vissers, its portfolio includes Wander's designs as well as a range of nationally and internationally recognized designers. Dreamland!

Another prop-styling heaven found while wandering in the streets near MOOOI is De Weldaad, where you can also find items by Danish brand House Doctor. I loved that products were displayed by colors, mixing the old and the new to create a very unique and desirable atmosphere. 

Interior decor frenzy at De Weldaad...

One of the areas of Amsterdam that we least explored and enjoyed was the Red Light District. Too crowded by too many tourists, dirty and with plenty of main street shops, I didn't feel like spending any of my time there. However I am sure you can find little gems, maybe in the backstreets... We bumped into Wonderwood while escaping the crowd and it looked amazing. Look no further if you are a fan of plywood classics, vintage or re-editions, that is the place to go!

Design classics at Wonderwood

Museums + a day well spent...

Highly recommended as well, are tours of the renowned Van Gogh and Rijks museums. We were particularly blown away by the Rijks which has been recently renovated and we wished we could spend more time there. 

My tips for one fun day at the museums:

1. Book your museum tickets online - in advance, planning to spend the morning at the Rijks [from 9am, book here] and part of the afternoon at The Van Gogh museum [book here - you will have to choose your timing, 2 hours are sufficient for the visit]. 
2. If the weather permits, rent a bicycle the day before you plan to go to the museum. That's an easy, fast and reliable way to visit the city + environment friendly.
3. Try a hot-dog on your way from the Rijks to the Van Gogh museums!
4. Once you are over with your visits, get back on your bike and head to Vondelpark, which is located nearby. Take a ride in the park, or lie down in the grass. Enjoy the fact that you are spending such a beautiful day in such a nice city!
5. If you have some time left before bringing back your bike - if you have rented it for only 24 hours,  head to Rozengracht 251 and have a delicious Dutch snack/ dinner at Moeders*, a local eatery by the canal that we didn't have time to try but was packed every day.

* moeders means mothers in Dutch

Conclusion... 

Amsterdam has so much to offer, it would request me to live there for a while to unveil all of its secrets!  Until this happens, there is an interesting book that was written by stylist and blogger Pia Jane Bijkerk that I encourage you to buy. Pia shares in the book, Amsterdam Made by Hand, her favorite haunts in the city. All beautifully handmade treasures of course!

Soon, I will share my finds in Copenhagen, where I spent three days exploring the nordic city... A lot more to discover! Stay tuned...






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