Paris is certainly jam-packed with some world class museum through which thousands of tourist trudge their way through daily. However a lesser known attraction is the rather intimate Edith Piaf Museum. She was most famous for her warbly voice and those timeless classics ‘La Vie en Rose’ and ‘Non, je ne regrette rien’. This tiny museum is housed in the apartment of a private apartment belonging to a friend of the singer. He has built something of a shrine to her memory as well as written a number of biographies of her life. Here you will find her dresses, gold discs, photos, private letters as well as a giant teddy bear on display. It of course helps if you like the singer herself, but this is a marvelous way to really get close up and personal with this legend.
It is worth mentioning the museum is accessed via four flights of stairs and there is no lift so it may not be suitable for all visitors. You will need to call ahead to gain the door entry code. Quaint huh?
5 Rue Crespin du Gast 75011 Paris
+33 1 43 55 52 72
Google map: bit.ly/QRT8mW
Many visitors to Amsterdam don't realise how small the city really is. The open countryside really is only minutes away by bicycle and you can be home again in time for tea!
Hire bicycles at any of the reasonably priced hire shops in the city centre. I'd go for the 'obviously a tourist' bikes as local people will give you a bit more room on the cycle paths. Simply make your to the Hermitage (close to the Waterlooplein Flea Market) on the Amstel and cross over the famous Skinny bridge opposite. Now carry on cycling south. Eventually you will find yourself riding in a green open area. Just follow the river and you will pass by beautiful chocolate box houses and delightful windmills.
Stop off for an ice cream and a cold beer at the ancient town of Oude Amstel. It is also home to Beth Haim, the first Jewish cemetery in the Netherlands which is absolutely fascinating to visit too. It dates back to 1614.
Cross over the bridge and cycling back home along the other side the Amstel. It’s just as picturesque and considerably quieter along the road. You will be back home in no time at all.
River Amstel, Amsterdam
Moeders is an excellent little eatery/restaurant located on the Rozengracht, not far form the Anne Frank House Museum in the centre of the city's beautiful Canal Belt district. What makes this place different is the decor. You will find wall upon wall packed with photos of customers' mothers. You are of course encouraged to bring along a photo of your own mum to add to their collection. High tea and cakes is served on charmingly mis-matched crockery and cutlery and you can also treat yourself to some authentic stodgy Dutch cuisine here. Bring your mother on her birthday and they will have a prize in store for her. Book online for a table to avoid disappointment in such cases.
Ok, this has to be one of the most famous upmarket shopping streets in the world, but don't let that put you off taking a look round. Window shopping can be almost as much fun as carrying handfuls of bags home with you. This incredibly manicured street is the best place in town to do a little people watching. Enjoy a coffee in one of the many uber-chic cafes along the strip or simply wander at your leisure taking in the elegant ambience of it all. Horse chestnut trees line the streets, snipped and buffed within an inch of their life and of course everything around you is neat, polished and perfectly ..well.... perfect! That's 1.91 km of perfection - rather impressive, I'd say.
Check out the famous Arc de Triomphe at the western end of the street while you are here. It's bigger than you ever imagined.
Google map: bit.ly/U65Lbe
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