europe at the holidays.

{photo sources: Amsterdam | Bruges | Paris | London}

A few months back, I mentioned that {cv} and I had our sights set on a fall trip to Europe. Life got in the way a bit and we put the trip planning on the back burner. Last week, {cv} and I finally pulled the trigger and booked our holiday adventure--literally. We leave on Christmas night and fly to Amsterdam! We are spending two nights there before taking the train to Bruges, Belgium for a night. From there, we make a stop in our beloved Paris for two nights before we end up in London for New Year's Eve. We will spend four nights there before flying back to the US of A. It'll be a bit of a whirlwind, but we can't wait!

We have all of our hotels booked, but I'm looking to you world travelers for advice on what to see and where to eat. {I'm also anticipating that I'll need lots of help packing for this little adventure, but I'll save that for another post.} While the touristy stops are unavoidable, we love finding spots off the beaten path. Many, many thanks in advance for all of your sage advice. {cv} and I are all ears. I have every confidence you'll help make this trip even more wonderful with your insight.  xoxo {av}

P.S. While I'm at it, we will be visiting Denver for a friend's 30th birthday in a little over a week. Suggestions for our visit to the Centennial State are also very welcome :)


  1. yesss! SOOO excited for you and chris! you'll have the BEST time! xo jillian - cornflake dreams

  2. I'm so excited you two pulled the trigger on this.. I will have to dig into my london archives to remember all my must-do's, but I hope (i know) you already plan to stop in the new jcrew store there :) I actually went in January my first time there and we didn't freeze, it was actually a nice couple degrees warmer than New England!!

  3. I hope you have so much fun in Europe! We were in Denver last year for a wedding and Larimer Square is a must. Great little shops and restaurants. We went to Tamayo for upscale Mexican and The Market for a relaxed brunch.

  4. YES YES YES!! Oh I wish I had interesting ideas for each of these cities, but when I visited I totally did all of the typical tourist things! I will say though, Bruges was one of my favorites cities to just stroll around in, no itinerary needed. Just be sure to get a Belgian waffle and some pommes frites from the street stands :) SO excited for you both! xo

  5. The Rijksmuseum is newly reopened in Amsterdam, and must get yourself some dutch pancakes while you are there. Van gogh Museum is also great. If it's raining, a good way to see the city is to take a boat tour through the canals.
    for my favorite places in Paris, you must go to Montmarte, and to the Les Puces Saint Oeun (huge flee market, great for non touristy gifts). Pierre herme macaroons for sure (better than Laduree) my favorite place to eat cheap, great french food is at Cafe Constant. (owner has several restaurants, one of which is Michelin rated), and you must stroll along Rue Cler for a coffee and dessert or glass of wine before dinner.
    Good luck to you! Enjoy!

  6. Can you feel my jealousy oozing through blogspot? Those places all sound so magical, and Pinterest offers such place porn for us. I hope you will blog religiously, or at least document things very well and post when you're home. I love the idea of a Christmas trip instead of going all out with gifts.

  7. I'm so jealous! Also so excited to hear all about it! This seems like the most perfect European adventure ever.

    xx, Katrina

  8. Go to La Fontaine de Mars in Paris- its a smaller less touristy restaurant that is AMAZING and near the Eiffel Tower! You have to shop in The Marais- the BEST shopping and because its the Jewish district a lot of stores open on Sundays which isn't the case in the rest of Paris! There is a tiny crepe stand, I don't even know the name, near the St-Germain-de-Pres metro stop that is soooo good and St-Germain-de-Pres is a really cool artsy little area on the left bank to wander around and shop/window shop. Dinner at L'Hotel, a tiny boutique hotel in St-Germain-de-Pres is one of the best meals I've had in my life!! Love love love your blog and I can't wait to hear trip recaps!!!

  9. so jealous! this trip sounds so awesome! definitely share lots of pictures. :)

  10. I've done London, Paris, and Amsterdam all around Christmas/New Years, and it's AWESOME. The cities are decorated beautifully and the Christmas markets can't be beat! This is going to sound weird, but it's my restaurant recommendation for anyone going to Paris...and it's not even French. There's this falafel/Mediterranean place in the Marais called Chez Hanna that has THE BEST falafel in the world. If you're not into falafel, this was pointless of me to talk about haha...butttt everything else looks good too! I know it's random, but this place has been written about in travel books. For London, two places I love: The Prince Bonaparte in Notting Hill....AMAZING sticky toffee pudding. The real food is great too. Duck & Waffle would be a really neat spot for a hip date night type atmosphere. It's on top of Heron Tower, which I believe is the tallest building in London. It's tapas style and soooo good. Reservations are a good idea. I don't remember the names of any places I ate at in Amsterdam because we just kind of wandered around and picked random places, but make sure to eat a waffle [but also do this in Bruges] and some fries dipped in mayo! Have so much fun!! So jealous!!

  11. Oh my gosh, what a GREAT trip!!! The last time I was in Paris, it had just snowed and we went to Versailles...totally amazing and gorgeous in the snow.

    I can't wait to live vicariously through you, both for your Denver trip and your Euro whirlwind! xo

  12. Wow what an amazing trip! I'm sure it will be gorgeous seeing everything decorated for the holidays over in Europe! Can't wait to hear more about your plans and see your photos! xoxo

  13. sounds like an amazing trip! london is one of my faves and a friend moved there a couple years i need to get out there soon!

    See you Tues at UGSE?! :)

  14. oh my goodness, i'm beyond jealous! i hope you share lots of pictures!

  15. Yay! Can't wait to see your pictures. I've heard AMAZING things about Bruges. I was in Amsterdam in May ... definitely take a train out of the city to Zaanse Schans to look at the windmills! Not sure what the village is like in the winter, but I bet it's magical. :) Here it is in May:

  16. This will be amazing! Here are my tips:
    Paris: La duree for sure!
    London: Byron (bruger), pain quotidien (breakfast), spice market (asian food), Jamie's BBQ restaurant near St. Paul's Cathedral, then you need to try Ben's Cookies for a sweet indulgence

    Have a lot of fun and enjoy your trip!

  17. I am beyond jealous and am planning my own return to Europe hopefully in the spring. My suggestion for anywhere in Europe is to google search any thrift shops in any city I'm visiting. The thrift shops tend to be off the beaten path and are in more cultural/hipster-esqe areas where you can find little shops and the BEST places to eat. Plus you get to meet more local people and find out about even better places from word of mouth. Enjoy your trip and I can't wait to see the pictures upon your return!


  18. Where to start! Amsterdam is amazing, the Van Goh Museum is super cool. If it's nice hang out in Vondel Park. Beware biking in that city is pretty intense. Its road, bike lane, sidewalk. so when get out of a cab its in the bike lane. They will ring their bell and yell to get out of the way!

    Is it your first trip to Denver!? I love love love living here. I actually did a post on my must do things -
    If you can head to the mountains for a drive - Guanella pass Pass from Georgetown to 285 then back in to denver is beautiful drive. Boulder is of course a must see too, walk pearl street and check out the flat irons. For beer their are great breweries to tour in Golden and Ft. Collins.

    Have so much fun on both trips!

  19. I've been to London, Paris and Brugge all around Christmas time and they are all so beautiful.

    We did this exact same thing except we ate them at our hotel at midnight christmas eve.

    Musee D'Orsay was my absolute favorite.
    The Louve is not to be missed and when in the area, stop at Angelina's.
    We went before hand and it was great as the Louve is a walk.

    Paris Opera house for a show...any show...and we stumbled upon this place before and it was our favorite spot.

    We went to Versailles and although it takes a lot of time, train ride and tour, it was worth it.

    Is plain beautiful. We did this tour and was worth it just for the view from the rooftop

    We also went to a Club Brugge soccer game but not sure the schedule of the team. We asked our hotel to help us with tickets.

    Harrod's decorated at Christmas is worth the visit.

    Have fun!

  20. It is going to be the trip of a lifetime. Dying to see those with snowflakes under foot. Can't wait to read all about it. Love y'all.

  21. The one thing I forgot to say and was what I was originally going to say. Make sure you accessorize your outerwear. That typically is what is pictured most as you will do a lot of walking outside and picture taking. And remember many of these cities still have cobblestone so wear comfy boots and shoes.