The organizers of the annual European Fine Art Fair one of the world's biggest arts and antiques gatherings have in Maastricht a host city that really can't be improved upon. What better place to discuss Old World masters and Chippendale commodes than amid Maastricht's gorgeous tree-lined squares and in the shadow of its ancient fortifications? This year's fair runs until March 27 at the Maastricht Exhibition and Congress Centre (see more at tefaf.com), but even after the exhibitors have packed up and left, there's plenty more of the city to enjoy, as these insiders make clear.
André Rieu, 61 World-renowned violinist, conductor and composer
When I'm not on tour, I love a long breakfast at home in my garden, then a walk with my wife and two dogs by the magnificent St. Pietersberg caves. Afterward, I'd stroll to Vrijthof Square, sit on the terrace of our oldest café, In den ouden Vogelstruys, tel: (31-43) 3214 888, and have coffee and vlaai, a kind of tart. From the Vogelstruys, I would go to the Bisschopsmolen, tel: (31-43) 3270 613, the oldest and only working water mill in the Netherlands. It even has its own bakery.
I'd enjoy a light lunch at Kruisherenhotel, tel: (31-43) 3292 020, a beautiful hotel that also offers delicious food. In the afternoon, I'd go for the best coffee in Maastricht at Coffeelovers, tel: (31-43) 3561 944. It's located in an 800-year-old former church that's been turned into the Selexyz Dominicanen bookstore. I always enjoy dinner at Il Gardino, tel: (31-43) 3256 229, an Italian restaurant on the Onze Lieve Vrouweplein. To close the evening, I'd walk home along the ancient walls of Maastricht or attend a performance at our Theater aan het Vrijthof, tel: (31-43) 3505 555. And if I didn't live in Maastricht, I'd be sure to stay at Derlon Hotel, tel: (31-43) 3216 770, where they have a Rieu Suite.
Jeanette Arthur, 39 Air-traffic controller
I'd start my day with coffee at the Cubico Caffè, tel: (31-43) 4506 408, wander through the up-and-coming Wyck area of town, then head over to Rechtstraat, a street full of specialty stores, bookshops and art galleries.
For lunch, I'd head over to the lovely Café Zondag, tel: (31-43) 3219 300. It also offers cool modern music with live performances and DJs on Friday and Saturday evenings. I'd then do some serious shopping on the Stokstraat and, to end my perfect day, meet up with friends at Take 5, tel: (31-43) 3210 971, a jazzy bar where the arty crowd stays up late.
Ben Janssens, 53
Chairman, European Fine Art Fair
I'd stay in a country cottage outside Maastricht. After a healthy breakfast overlooking the rolling hills and countryside, I'd go into the center of town to have a coffee at a café in Vrijthof Square ideally sitting outside on a wicker chair. I'd then go for a walk along the river by the old city walls, stopping off at the Bonnefanten Museum, tel: (31-43) 3290 190, to browse the contemporary-art section. Lunch would be in the museum's Ipanema Café, tel: (31-43) 3290 157, overlooking the river. In the afternoon, I would go shopping and visit one of my favorite shops, Shoes and Shirts, tel: (31-43) 3255 518, to buy a pair of Italian shoes. My day would end with a superb dinner and a lovely bottle of wine in my favorite restaurant, Toine Hermsen, tel: (31-43) 3258 400.
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