Amsterdam and Paris Vacation Recap

My 10 Day Vacation to Amsterdam and Paris

As you might know, my husband is a CPA, which means he’s VERY busy for the first few months of the year until April 15th. I love to travel, but he’s definitely more of a world traveler… he studied abroad a few times, has backpacked through Europe in his early 20s, he loves planning all the destinations and logistics, and he’s MUCH better at packing.

As his “reward” and stress-relief for getting through tax season, we’ve been taking a big springtime trip. But the idea for this trip actually started about 8 or 9 months ago when I read the book Why French Women Don’t Get Fat. It’s part diet book, part lifestyle book. Basically, it’s about how the French live their lives, enjoying the pleasures of food in good company and not letting negative food thoughts deter their enjoyment.

Reading this book did not make me want to try leek soup (a meal the author suggests and provides a recipe for), but it did make me want to stroll down the streets of Paris, sit down at a cafe, and enjoy a good cup of coffee, wine or dessert with my husband. No stress, just the pleasure of his company 🙂

So we booked it!

While remodeling our house a few years ago, we accrued a lot of airline miles and I swear half the fun for George is finding the best flight for least amount of miles. So what he found were business class seats (woohoo!) for a 10-day trip leaving April 22nd arriving in Frankfurt and departing from Paris. So we decided to take a train to Amsterdam as soon as we landed and spend some time there for 4 nights before taking the Thalys high-speed train to Paris.

First of all, I feel like the worst mother ever because not only did we leave on Easter morning, we also missed our 2-year-old’s birthday! When we booked this trip several months ago, we didn’t realize Easter was so late this year. And as long as my parents were flying in to watch our kids, we had a small Taco TWOsday birthday party on the Saturday evening before we left. And with our pre-Easter celebration and birthday party planning, I didn’t get around to packing until the night before we left (but at least I threw in the important things first… running shoes, headphones, resistance loops, and collagen peptide packets).

The Flight

We headed out to the airport around 8:30 in the morning, checked in, then immediately headed to the airport lounge. Luckily everything was running right on time and we had plenty of time to relax before our flight. The flight and the connection went flawlessly. I ate my healthy meals that I diabetic meals pre-ordered ahead of time (no, I’m not diabetic, but in my healthy I travel tips I talk about how these are usually leaner meals), reclined my lay-flat seat and got about 5 hours of sleep. Oh how I love business class, but I think I’ll have a hard time forking over that much cash for a flight. It’s easy “pay” for it with miles (because what else am I going to do with those?), but I’m not sure it will ever be worth the $800/hr!

 Right before we got off the plane, the girl that had been sitting across the aisle from me for the last 8 hours asked me about my eyelashes. That seems really random, right? Well not really, because I’ve been getting questions and comments about them for the last few months.

No, they’re not fake. There’s no way I could keep up with the maintenance (or cost) of those! But I do use RevitaLash eyelash conditioner on my lash line most nights when I remember. I started using it in December after a patient told me about it. No joke, I was actually about to induce anesthesia and made a comment about how I’d have to tape her eyes closed after she was asleep to protect her eyes but that I’d try to be careful with her lash extensions. When she told me they weren’t extensions, I immediately wrote down the name of the serum… and then proceeded to put her to sleep for surgery LOL! 


When we arrived, the weather could not have been more perfect! It was sunny and about 75 degrees with the most beautiful tulips during the tulip festival.

It was my 3rd time and his 6th time in Amsterdam, so we skipped all the touristic things to do… Heineken Museum (been there twice), the Anne Franke house, and the redlight district. Instead, we drank coffee on our apartment balcony, strolled (and even ran one day) around Vondelpark, did a walking food tour, ate some delicious meals, and even tried a few fitness classes.

After an hour or so of arriving and taking pictures, it was clear that George was getting pretty annoyed with taking pictures of me. And I hate having every single picture be a selfie from the same angle. So we decided it would be money and time well spent to hire a photographer.

We found Fabien (Instagram @amsterdambyfabie) through AirBNB Experiences and booked a one hour shoot for the next day. Not only did she take some great pictures, she gave us some great restaurant recommendations and told me about a barre studio.

Our AirBNB apartment was around the block from a boxing gym called Vondel Gym. After checking out their website, I noticed they also had a weight room, cardio equipment, and several bootcamp-style classes. I walked in there the next day to see if I could drop in for a class. The girl at the front desk was very welcoming and encouraged me to sign up. II ended up going to a circuit training class later that afternoon and LOVED it! The very first exercise we did was a barbell deadlift so I knew it was going to be good! It ended up being just me and a local woman so we had fun encouraging and motivating each other and even ending with a little partner drill.

The next morning, George and I went for a quick run around Vondelpark, I did a quick resistance band shoulder workout, then went on a walking food tour around the Jordaan neighborhood. This tour wasn’t nearly as much walking as we thought it would be (and way more food!) but we loved trying a few bites of several different local dishes at the best bakeries, butcher shops, restaurants, and even apple cake at a bar! 

On our last full day in Amsterdam, I check out the barre studio the photographer recommended it and LOVED everything about it! The gorgeous lounged, the spacious locker room and showers, and the bright and beautiful studio space! If I could pack up my life and move to the Amsterdam, I would totally do it just so I could be a member there!


Paris – Part 1

We took the high-speed Thalys train from Amsterdam to Paris and stayed at an AirBNB apartment in the Saint Germain des Prés neighborhood for the first 3 nights. Our studio apartment was tiny (by American standards) but had a wonderful view of the Eiffel Tower. The weather got a little colder after we arrived, but we didn’t let it stop us from exploring the entire city by foot. Like Amsterdam, we have both been there several times so we skipped all the museums and waiting in lines for some experiences.

We had planned to take some couples pictures with a photographer through AirBNB experiences, but when we went to book one, we found that a lot of the photography experiences we had saved were fully booked or no longer available (oops, should have planned ahead). But then we remembered some of our friends had their engagement pictures taken in Paris about a year ago that were absolutely stunning! He gave us her Instagram (@missparisphoto), I messaged her, and we lucked out that she had one hour available between shoots the next morning before she left town.

So the next day we went to the Trocadero Gardens nice and early and took some fabulous Eiffel Tower pictures before having brunch at a nearby cafe. (Photo credit: Krystal

A few days before we checked into the Ritz Paris, we walked a few miles over there to confirm our early check in for Monday. When we were about a block away, it started raining, so we sped up our pace. Within seconds, it started POURING rain so we took off in a sprint to make it inside before we got drenched. After confirming our check in time, the receptionist invited us to check out the bar to take shelter from the rain, so we did. 

The bar was lovely and the drinks were appropriately priced to the elegance of the hotel at 30 Euros! But, they did serve unlimited water (very valuable because it’s usually 7-10 Euros a bottle at other restaurants) and tower of bar snacks like truffle roasted cashews, plump olives, and potato chips. We had heard about the famous Bar Hemingway, so we walked across the hall at 6:00 PM sharp when it opened and got a table. Within 2 minutes, all the tables were filled. Bar Hemingway is known for their martinis, and when I ordered mine, they warned it was strong. I’m not usually much of a martini drinker, but this was the most beautiful martini I’ve ever had with a huge pink rose as the garnish!

On George’s birthday, we did an AirBNB experience with a a local chef in her home. We had originally booked the Market to Table near the Eiffel Tower experience, but the day before she rescheduled us to a crepe class. We really enjoyed learning to make crepes and enjoying our creations, but we were a little disappointed we didn’t get to do the market shopping trip and lunch cooking class. It also ended up being only 1.5 hours instead of 3 hours that we had booked, so we had lots of time to wander around the city. 

That night, we did a river dinner cruise on the Seine river. It was more expensive that most dinners, but it was such a fun and unique birthday dinner for George. We dined on tiny but exquisite courses of French food while enjoying the scenery along the river. Between courses, we went up to the top of the boat to enjoy the view just as we were passing the Notre Dame cathedral. At just weeks after the tragic fire, it was devastating to see the damage that close up 🙁 

Paris – Part 2 

The last part of our trip was staying at the Ritz Paris for 3 nights. And let me tell you, it was extravagant, over-the-top luxury, and absolutely wonderful! When we checked in, a chilled bottle of champagne and fruits were waiting for us as well as a gift for me to get my make up done in the spa. I wasted no time changing into the plush robe and soft slippers right next to the bed!

Over the next 3 days, we enjoyed everything the hotel had to offer… swimming in the indoor pool, working out in the fitness center, a 5-course room service brunch, a drink at Ritz Bar Grand Jardin, a blowout and make up application at David Mallett au Ritz Paris, a fancy dinner at L’Espadon, and French tea time on the patio of Bar Vendôme.

But to make sure we actually still got out instead of just staying cozied into the hotel to eat and drink all day, we still walked around a lot, we tried another AirBNB exerpeince (Organic French wine and food pairing) and I tried a barre class our photographer recommended.

Krystal put me in touch with one of the instructors at Barre Shape, but I realized I wouldn’t be able to take her class at her location. I noticed they had a location 2 blocks from the Ritz, so I signed up! I checked out the location earlier in the day (and good thing I did because it was a maze to walk though a building, up a flight of stairs, take a small bridge across a garden to another building, and up another flight of stairs. Phew! When I finally made it, I introduced myself to the instructor and quickly realized barre in France isn’t like barre in Amsterdam (where it’s very American). The instructor spoke little English and asked if I spoke French (nope). I tried to assure her I have taken a lot of barre and would be fine (hopefully!) to follow along. Between my barre experience and knowing a lot of French ballet terms from my dance experience, I ended up being just fine and had no problem keeping up. I’m just glad it wasn’t my first fitness class experience on vacation or I might have been too scared to take another one!


The end of vacation

Isn’t the end of vacation alway so bittersweet?! We usually start planning another one while still on vacation, but this time we hadn’t. (Update: we’re going to Aruba in September) So we had to pack up an go home without any other trips on the horizon.

Luckily, our flight didn’t leave until afternoon, so we were able to enjoy a leisurely morning to sleep in, workout, eat breakfast, and finish packing before heading out to the airport. Even though we had plenty of time, we kept stress down by ordering our breakfast to be delivered to our room so we could continue to pack and get ready until it arrived.

I was finishing curling my hair and still wearing my robe when the food arrived, and when I came out of the bathroom, I saw the most extravagant breakfast I’d ever seen. Sure, it was basically the same “American breakfast” we’d had the past few days, but when it was all placed on the table at the same time, it covered the entire surface. Even though this was our attempt at a “healthy breakfast” (egg white omelets with vegetables, the gluten-free bread selections, green tea oatmeal, fruit, and black coffee), it was still a TON of food. We also insisted we didn’t need any breakfast sweets like waffles or French toast, but apparently the kitchen disagreed and sent some up anyway (there wasn’t any room left on the table so they’re in the silver warmer under the table). And for the record, we did try a bite of the French toast, and they were right, it WAS delicious and I’m happy they sent it.

That smile on my face says it all… a perfect way to end vacation! And after 10 days away from my girlies, I cuddled up with them while they were sleeping as soon as I got home 🙂