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Trip Report October Paris trip report including apartment review

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My husband and I spent October 11 – 19 in Paris. This was our first trip to France since getting an Andrews Federal Credit Union chip and pin card and that made things so much easier for us. It worked flawlessly for buying Metro and train tickets and made things much easier.

This was our third trip to Paris in recent years with the two previous trips being in 2009 and 2010. This was our first time staying in an apartment, which was this one: http://www.vacationinparis.com/listing/319/so-parisian-saint-sulpice-one-bedroom
The apartment was exactly as pictured and was a good amount of space for 2 people. The kitchen was well equipped and the bathroom was fine but small. There was adequate storage in the bedroom and the bed was reasonably comfortable. If you can’t handle stairs easily you shouldn't stay here; there were 47 steps and they were somewhat uneven. The location was excellent and we had no real noise issues, but if you wanted to leave the windows open you might be bothered a little by the noise from a bar across the street. The sofas in the living room were not very comfortable and needed replacing; one had a large stain on the seat. The refrigerator had a bad odor inside it despite appearing clean. We concluded that we aren't apartment people, we like someone coming in to freshen things up each day while we’re on vacation.

Saturday was our arrival day and we were able to get possession of the apartment immediately so after we dropped off our luggage we headed out to enjoy a beautiful day. First we went to Galeries Lafayette since we’d never been there before. We enjoyed the views from the rooftop. After a lunch break we started on a galleries and passages walk using this itinerary: http://www.fodors.com/community/europe/degas-paris-walks-the-passages-revised.cfm. About halfway through we ran out of energy and headed over to Luxembourg Gardens for a while. The next day we started with the Paris Walks Resistance and the Occupation, Left Bank tour. The tour was good but not great, we didn’t feel that the guide really brought the stories to life. Also the group was rather large. After lunch we did more walking around on our own and then went back to the apartment to rest. The plan was to go out again in the evening to go to a free organ concert St. Eustache church but neither of us could summon the energy. It’s just as well since we discovered later in the week that the organ was undergoing repairs.

Monday we took a day trip to Fontainebleau. The chateau was not at all crowded and we enjoyed our visit. The website said that the tea room was not open in October but we were pleased to discover that it was open while we were there. Tuesday we started off at Marmottan museum. The current special exhibit is Impression, soleil levant and it is there until January 18th. It was excellent. We had pre-purchased our tickets but this probably wasn’t necessary since it was pretty uncrowded. We spent the rest of the day at the Army Museum. There’s a lot to see here! We saw Napolean’s Tomb and the World War I/World War II exhibit and that’s all we had time for. We could have easily spent a full day here.

Wednesday started off with anther Paris Walks tour - The Village of Montmartre. This one was excellent and gave us a great sense of the area. Our afternoon plan was to go to Musee Nissim de Camondo but we had heard of the show at the Luxembourg Museum, "Paul Durand-Ruel, the gamble of the Impressionists" and decided to do that instead. Good choice, it was an excellent show.

Thursday we took the Taste of Paris Tour with Paris Walks. We enjoyed this tour very much, the food tastings were good, it was a small group, and the guide had lots of good stories. We then visited the Musee D’Orsay, which is our favorite museum in Paris. We had pre-purchased tickets and were glad that we did since it allowed us to skip the line.
Friday we went to Chartres. We had hoped to do the Malcolm Miller tour at noon. We got into town about 10:45 and decided to do the self-guided walking tour offered by the tourist information center. We had to rush through it a bit and got back to the cathedral shortly before noon to discover that Malcolm Miller was not giving tours that day. We should have checked first. So we toured the cathedral using the audio guide and then walked around town some more. A highlight was the International Stained Glass Center, especially the modern stained glass in the basement.

Saturday was our last day in Paris and we visited St. Denis. We found it very easy to get to via the Metro. The contrast between that neighborhood and where we were staying in the 6th was interesting. The cathedral was fabulous, probably our favorite of all the cathedrals we have seen in Europe thus far.

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