Happy fall, everyone! Did you miss me?
If you follow me at all on social media, you were able to get a glimpse into my European adventure with my best friend, Claire. I can’t believe how quickly time flew from the time we booked our trip in January to landing back in Chicago after 15+ hours of traveling and 11 days of sightseeing + fun. I can honestly say our 11 day getaway was a trip of a lifetime and I can’t wait to go back to Europe…Italy, I see you!
Part 1: Amsterdam
days weeks leading up to our trip consisted of me checking the weather daily, in all three of our destinations. With rain in the forecast for 80% of the trip, I was very nervous but (attempted) to prepare for the worst. We got very lucky and had two days of on and off rain during the entire trip. Amsterdam was definitely a city I didn’t know much about prior to getting there. I immediately fell in love with the never-ending canals and friendly locals. Did I mention I also fell in love with Winkel 43’s apple pie? Definitely a must have should you find yourself in Amsterdam in the near future.
We had several delicious meals in Amsterdam, one of them being a grab-and-go bag of frites from Vlaams Friteshuis Vleminckx. I know, I know….who goes to Amsterdam and gets fries? I’m not kidding though, as a fry lover, these were pretty damn good. The best part? The 15+ sauces to choose from (tip: unless you can read Dutch, ask for a few customer favorites). If you’re looking for a great burger, beer and atmosphere, head over to Smokin’ Barrels, which had a Big Star type of vibe.
Sights to see:
- Anne Frank House
- Canal Boat Tour (visiting during summer? G’s offers a boat brunch cruise)
- I Am Amsterdam Sign (did you really go to Amsterdam if you don’t post a picture there?)
- Jordaan Neighborhood + The Nine Streets
- Dan Murphy’s Pub (we seemed to find a favorite Irish bar in each city we visited)
Part Two: Paris
Let’s get right to it….I loved every second of Paris. From the second I spotted the Eiffel Tower through the trees by our AirBnb, I knew I could get used to being in Paris for a while (PS: three days was definitely not enough). My favorite Paris moments? Eating bread (#vacationgoals) with Claire at the Trocadero and watching the Eiffel Tower light show from the top floor of the Hyatt over (very) expensive drinks. If you should ever find yourself in Paris, make sure you take a boat tour along the Seine River. We were able to see the city on such a beautiful day and map out what exactly we wanted to do each day.
Other favorite points of interest:
- Shopping along the Champs-Élysées + Arc de Triomphe
- Entire city views from Sacré-Cœur + the charming Montmartre neighborhood
- Strolling the lively streets, bakeries and shops of Saint Germain
- I highly recommend Restaurant AG – the presentation, food and service were all outstanding
- The entire Les Invalides Center where Napoleon is buried
- Missing American food? James Joyce killed their chicken finger and fry game, especially after a few cocktails (yes, another Irish pub)
- Jim Morrison’s Gravesite (quick metro ride)
- Tuileries Garden
Part 3: Cannes & Monaco
We couldn’t have been happier to end our European getaway in the south of France. The weather was perfect, the locals were beautiful and we were a 30-second walk to the Mediterranean Sea. Most of our days in Cannes were spent beach-side with drinks in hand. It was a much needed part of the trip and somewhere you could completely be in the moment with and disconnected, yet absolutely content. We took a very scenic and beautiful day trip to Monaco-Monte Carlo where we relaxed on another beach with a view of yachts coming in and out of the port.
Things to do:
- Visit one of the many beaches along the Promenade de la Croisette
- We found it worth the extra 15-20 euro to rent beach chairs (and order drinks) at both beaches we went to
- Get lost on Rue Saint Antoine and the surrounding streets – amazing restaurants and local boutiques
- We said farewell to our trip over dinner at La Mirabelle – great food and even better service
- For dancing, cheap drinks and an all around fun night – we ended up going to Morrison’s (yes, another Irish bar) two out of the three nights in Cannes
- Avoid high taxi prices and take a very beautiful train ride along the coast to places like Cannes, Nice, Eze, and Monaco-Monte Carlo. We used the SNCF train line to get to Monaco.
- Visit Monte Carlo and go to the casino (10 euro to enter) or just check out the beautiful resort surrounding the casino
- Make your way to the top of the Palais du Prince for an entire view of the city
Have you been to Europe? I’d love to hear about some of your favorite cities!