My sister and I have 10 days to play with between flying in and out of Paris next May. I've been to Paris many times, and some of southern France (Nice, Arles) and London, but want to explore one or two more destinations in France or nearby. We will not have a car. Is Amsterdam worthwhile? I've only heard the stories of the drugs which is not of interest. Love art and walking and photographing beautiful scenery and architecture-- and good food of course. --April
I spent a week in Amsterdam and a week in Bruges last month and loved both of them. I had been to Amsterdam before and have not seen any "drug stores" while visiting tourist sites - but then again I was not looking for them. Stayed in B&B's in both towns. Happy travels.
Amsterdam has to be a 'Must See'. Yes there is cannabis on sale all over the city, but it is done respectably at designated outlets. It is bought and sold in exactly the same way you would buy and sell a new pair of shoes. More noticable is the sex trade. Sex is bought and sold in exactly the same way as shoes are, but it's limited to specific areas of the city. A visit to Anne Frank's house is a MUST for everyone. A canal boat trip is really fun. Van Moppes diamond factory is a unique experience. Great art at great museums a wide variety of good food and a really vibrant city life make Amsterdam an absolute must.
The rapid train between Paris and London via Belgium increases your options. But it can be expensive. Amsterdam and the areas around there are great. But if you're going to spend the cash to get from Paris to Amsterdam, it might be cheaper and more efficient to just fly straight into Amsterdam. Flying into Amsterdam is easy from most places in the US. So you can do Amsterdam on another trip.
Try northern France. Normandy and Brittany are fantastic. Mont Ste Michel is a sight to see. Check Rick Steves' books for more great sights to see in northern France.
If you enjoy countryside and chateaux, don't miss the Loire Valley, which is in easy reach of Paris. Some of the chateaux are just amazing. You'll want to check on the accessibility of it without a car, though. Alsace is nice, too, and it has a different feel to it than Paris or Provence with the timbered buildings. I would also second the Bruges suggestion. If you enjoy chocolate, Belgium has the best chocolate in the world, and it's quite affordable, unlike Swiss chocolate. Plus, Belgian waffles are absolutely amazing. Good luck choosing!
Go to Provence (again)! I admit that I am heavily biased because I lived in Aix for a month...but I still recommend it to you. Southern France (Marseille et al.) is only three hours by TGV. If you haven't seen Aix, you must must must go! Avignon is wonderful, too.
In case you're interested in other parts of France, Caen in Normandy and Strasbourg in Alsace are both very sweet. Both are relatively short (1.5-2.5 hrs.) train rides from Paris. Of course, leaving France altogether is an option, too. I have no personal experience relating to Amsterdam, but I'm sure it can be enjoyable.
Hi, What about a three day trip to the coast and stay in Bayeaux( train easy from Paris, about 3 hours) and do some day trips, Mont ST Michel , D day beaches, and other small coastal towns( I do not have a map in front of me, but what about St Malo also.
For an easy day trip from Paris( 30 or 40 minutes by train from Gare Du Nord) please check out Chantilly, the Chateau has a painting collection that should not be missed. Google Chantilly Chateau, they have a wonderful website. We went this past August and were so pleased ,, no crowds at all, very pretty, fabulous paintings, lovely gardens. Horse museum also there, I don't even like horses, but thought the museum and stables were interesting enough.