The Best Places To See In Maastricht
Would you like to travel with me? Today you can, we will shop + eat together! I just got back from Maastricht, one of the oldest cities in Holland known for its medieval-era architecture. I got to hit Temporama during opening weekend too, so I saw it before anyone else and it was great. More on Temporama later... But first of all, how are you? Are you doing good? Do you have any great plans for the first weekend of June? I will go to a music fest and see a few friends, and maybe go for a ride in the car through the countryside. And you? Okay, onto my tips... Let's visit Maastricht together!
First off, Maastricht was a very pleasant surprise. A hidden gem. You always hear about Paris, London and Rome. Or Amsterdam, Berlin and Copenhagen. But Maastricht? Not really. Yet it's beautiful! A shopper's paradise too. I'd actually not heard of it until I was with my friend who lives near the border and told me that we could go over to the Netherlands while I visit here if I'd like. She suggested some shopping outlets but I honestly have never liked outlet shopping so I scanned the map and said, "What about we visit Maastricht!". It was nearby and when I googled, it looked cute enough.
The evening before, I scanned Pinterest, Instagram and then, Google images. The best results came from Pinterest and Instagram. I typed in keywords and phrases like "Maastricht cafes" and "Maastrict Design". I spent about an hour collecting addresses. Then I sketched out a little map. The next morning when we arrived in Maastricht, we parked in front of Brandweerkantine at Capucijnenstraat 21 and started our day filling the meter (2 hours max) and then, enjoying a cappuccino together there. I love to have coffee first when I visit a new city, especially in a nice spot, it's my tradition to break myself in mentally to a new environment. The jolt of caffeine combined with a nice atmosphere and lots of locals helps me feel grounded and like I have arrived. It's my sacred welcoming ritual.
After Brandweerkantine, we walked over to Maares Kitchen, part of the House of Contemporary Culture. "During the day you enjoy a delicious coffee, lunch or a glass of wine. In the evening, chef Maher Al Sabbagh provides you one of the most exciting dining experiences in town." I wish we had been hungry, the food laid out for lunch was exquisite. Healthy and fresh, for sure. Maares Kitchen has the most beautiful interior but also the outside area for seating was equally charming. I will definitely eat here next time I'm in Maastricht. A real foodie haven.
We then stumbled upon Capucijnenkerk, a sweet little church down a nearby alley located at Capucijnengang 6 built in 1681. It was pure white brick with a beautiful red door that was a bit faded. We didn't go inside, but churches are a big thing in Maastricht and you can spot them everywhere. There were many and some of them, quite a big deal. Like Romanesque Basilica of St. Servatius which has a beautiful tiled entryway (but you need to pay to see it). After seeing that church, we went across the street to Saint John (another massive church) and then over to Vrijthof square.
Once at Vrijthof square, we walked over to some nice shops on Minckelersstraat via Bredestraat. First, a cupcake and sweet place called Piece of Cake. I didn't try anything since I was holding out for lunch, but the cupcakes looked good and they had a nice outdoor spot in the back to chill out on. Next, to Minckelersstraat where we went to Mexx to check out children's clothes (great selection), then to Nolabel (design shop for the home) and Festen (which has two locations across the street from the other). I highly suggest hitting Nolabel and Festen when in Maastricht if you love design. Festen has everything - books, plants, posters, paper goods, bath products, food, jewelry, it's super!
Next, we strolled around all of the cute little streets and grabbed a delicious ice cream (I had oreo) from Pinky, the cone was filled with melted chocolate. Goodness, yum! They are known also for their incredible waffles so take your pick! They have three locations, we went to the one at Maastrichter Brugstraat 34. Next we walked over to The Onze-Lieve-Vrouweplein, a great big square where you can eat outside since so many cafes share the space for their customers. Go there to eat, even if just for the vibe. I loved it.
We went back towards Vrijthof square again since we needed to go fill our parking meter (we were grossly overtime!) so we ran back to Capucijnenstraat, filled the meter, then went to lunch at Il Bacaro located at Vrijthof 16, a great Italian place right on Vrijthof square. The food was great and our waiter was a great guy. We shared Insalata di pollo, Spada alla griglia and Tris di bruschetta. My friend had a Scroppino (vodka with lemon ice cream and prosecco) and I, an Aperol Spritz. It was fun to have a little booze during lunch, I rarely do it but it felt nice, like a real vacation because when you have a 2-year-old, you never drink during the daytime - ever. Only when they are at home with papa and you're on a short vacation. Then, it's an absolute indulgence.
After lunch, we roamed around the many beautiful, narrow streets where we spent the entire day. We went to the famous former-church-turned-bookstore (yes, really - it was amazing!) called Boekhandel Dominicanen and grabbed a coffee at Coffeelovers (An Australian chain, interestingly enough) while inside - they have a great selection of Dutch home and fashion magazines too... We also went to a grocery store called Kruidvat (Grote Staat 55) just near to the book store (around the corner) for coconut water and I honestly could have stayed in there for hours. I LOVE going to grocery stores when I'm in another country. All of the product packaging and new things to see and eat. Weee! Also around another corner I spotted a sweet little healthy eatery called Vers around the corner that I will try next time I'm in Maastricht.
De Winkel Van Nijntje + random scenes
We ended up by the river so I could go to the Miffy shop for my son, it is called De Winkel Van Nijntje and I highly suggest going there, it's packed with all things Miffy and the walk along the water is nice. I also went around the corner afterwards to Sissy Boy for clothes and home stuff (highly suggest - check out their German website because they ship here now) and while there, grabbed a Peer + Sinaasappel frozen fruit bar by NICE (only 50 calories, makes up for the ice cream earlier!) because it was so hot and sunny outside, and ate it outside at the nearby square referred to by the locals at the markt and relaxed on a bench. They were just wrapping up a big farmers' market which seems like a regular spot for their markets (more info here).
#BitchPlease at #Temporama2016
Next, we went over to the former V&D which is now being managed by Temporary Lane, who is currently hosting a large indie design pop-up shop under the name "Temporama" #Temporama2016. I found so many great brands there and bought some great things. In that shop you can find furniture by Design is Wolf, ixxi, Moome, #BitchPlease, Gestalten (books), Nice Nice Nice, MWA - Makers with Agendas, Thomas, byAnouk, Barú (sweets from Beligium), and Tokketok (amazing papers!). They are showing only regional brands, mostly from the Netherlands, Germany and Belgium. I reallyyyyyy suggest going there but hurry, it's not around much longer as it's only temporary until 30 June (they just opened when I went, I got lucky!). I like this concept - to use vacant retail spaces for pop-up events. Brilliant! There's a HEMA over there too, so you can hit HEMA as well.
Design is Wolf, Barú and ixxi at #Temporama2016
Looks like the Dutch are going through their very own "Burger Boom" as I call it, it's a total trend food in Germany at the moment. I think the next food trend in Germany will be frozen fruit bars like the one I had from NICE... If you like sliders and burgers, go to BurgerLijk. I didn't (oops) but everyone told me it was a must eat. It's over the river, you have to cross the bridge, so you can go over there after visiting De Winkel Van Nijntje, maybe? I didn't cross the bridge, so I have no clue what else is over there... Next time!
Oh, we also hit up Dille & Camille, a must-visit for kitchen stuff, cookery books, kids toys and paper products. I'd only been to their Amsterdam location, this one had a big cafe which was a nice spot for enjoying a snack. They will soon have a GERMAN website and ship here, yay! Register to be notified here. Festen
EAT / COFFEE BREAK Brandweerkantine - Massive place to eat or grab a coffee. Capucijnenstraat 21 Maares Kitchen - Amazing food, lunch and dinner only. Capucijnenstraat 98 (behind the House of Contemporary Culture) Piece of Cake - Cupcakes and sweets. Bredestraat 28 Pinky - Ice cream and waffles. Maastrichter Brugstraat 34 (two other locations are in Maastricht, too.) Il Bacaro - Great Italian. Vrijthof 16E (on the corner, across from Vrijthof Square) CoffeeLovers - Cafe in massive church book shop. CoffeeLovers has several locations, this one is at Dominikanerkerkstraat 1 Vers - Healthy, small place to grab some food. Grote Gracht 31. BurgerLijk - Burgers! Rechtstraat 37
SHOP / DESIGN Festen - Two locations directly across the street - a must see for design lovers. They have it all! Minckelersstraat 1a Nolabel - Lovely furniture and home accessories shop. Minckelersstraat 10 Temporama at the former V&D - Amazing pop up shop, until 30 June. Grote Staat 5 HEMA - Great affordable store, like a smaller scale European-style Target. Grote Staat 10 Dille + Kamille - Kitchen, Books, Paper Products, a small cafe for taking a break. Sint Amorsplein 7 Sissy Boy: Great clothes and home stuff and clothing for kids. I always go to their locations in Amsterdam. This one was beautiful! Mosae Forum 21 Boekhandel Dominicanen - Book shop Located in a former church, a must-see! Great selection of Dutch magazines too and a cafe called Coffeelovers. Dominikanerkerkstraat 1 De Winkel Van Nijntje - For Miffy lovers, she's like the Dutch Hello Kitty, we love miffy in my home! Kesselskade 51 (along the river) de Bijenkorf - Big Dutch department store, good for checking out brands and getting a new perspective. Achter het vleeshuis 26
Hope you had fun traveling with my and my iPhone! :) I am posting much more on Instagram @decor8 if you wanna follow along. In a few weeks, I'm in Sweden so you can travel virtually with me again!
(Photography: iPhone snapshots, Holly Becker)