As part of my family's little break in the Netherlands, we took a day trip to Amsterdam. An afternoon wasn't nearly enough time to visit museums and explore the city, but we soaked in what we could... we went on a canal cruise and strolled through the narrow streets, tried some local fare and visited Bloemenmarkt (flower market)... it was a cloudy day, but the city was so pretty we hardly noticed the gray and drizzle.
We loved Amsterdam's gabled architecture, 17th century canals and relaxed energy. But I think what impressed me most (despite being nearly run over twice) was how smoothly and efficiently the compact city runs - cars, scooters, trams, buses and bicycles (oh so many bicycles!...hauling everyone from mothers with their babies to businessmen on their way to work to teenagers on the go) - all zooming by in cooperative harmony on narrow streets filled with pedestrians of every age and size. And that's just above ground! The canals have their own traffic and rhythm, and again still, it glides along fluidly.
We'd love to go back... it's roughly a 5 1/2 hour drive from Paris (3 1/3 hours by train)...