Aug 5th, 2008, 05:55 PM
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Having seen the Loire Valley chateaus and Versailles, we are thinking of visiting Vaux-le-Vicomte.

Have any of you been there, and if so, how did you get there? RER or tour?

We will be in Paris from Sept. 9th through the 17th. Is it better during the day or at night? I also think there is an opera during that time--is that worth going to see?

Any help will be appreciated.
Thank you.
TPAYT is offline  
Aug 5th, 2008, 06:34 PM
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We drove there in the morning from Paris in the 1990's and also visited Fontainebleu before overnighting in Orange and heading to the Loire Valley. I remember being impressed by the architectural details and garden at both palaces. I took tons of pictures there as our son was not even 2 year old. It's not Chinon or Chenonceaux but definitely worth the short drive and of course without the Loire tourist crowd. What got us to stop there was the ironic consequence for Fouquet.
DAX is offline  
Aug 5th, 2008, 06:44 PM
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I loved Vaux. I took a tour with Paris Walks but it's only offered once in a while. There's plenty of info on this board about doing it yourself by train. Here's a thread that may help you.
adrienne is offline  
Aug 5th, 2008, 07:20 PM
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I have been there twice. The first time I took a tour that originated on rue de Rivoli. I don't recall the company but we also went to Fontainebleau. Taking the guided tour was beneficial.

The second time, being surer of our ground, we took the train first to Fontainebleau - Avon station from Gare de Lyon, and then rode rode the city bus to a stop very near the entrance.

From Fontainebleau we took the train to Melun and then paid for a taxi to go the rest of the way. There was no bus of any type at the time.

If you will look at the Vaux-le-Comte web site you will see the private bus schedule which I believe to be operated for the chateau management.

As for the worthwhileness of visiting the place I have two comments.

First, a big YES in response to "Is it worth it?"

Second, the gardens as originally designed by Andre le Notre have been as faithfully restored at time and finances have permitted. The gardens, to be brief, are well worth the visit themselves.

I have actually done three tours of the chateau. On trip #2 we stayed until the candles were lit.

Having seen in the daylight and in the dark, I think that the candles might be romantic and all that, but so much of the detail of the interior cannot be seen because the lighting is, as you would expect, rather dim.

Those are huge rooms with high ceilings and they soak up the candle light fairly rapidly.

Another drawback to going at night is that you cannot ascend the stairs to the cupola atop the dome. Just looking at that amazing construction to put that dome up there was itself worth the extra expense.

When you stop and think that the place was constructed without modern power equipment, the results are absolutely incredible.

I might add that the Gardens of Versailles were also designed by Andre le Notre. If anything I find Vaux to be more tastefully done whereas Versailles to a large extent was overkill to satisfy Louis the Tetchy's ego and his desire to overwhelm all else.

At any rate that is one man's opinion of Vaux-le-Vicomte. All visits were the stuff of memories.

bob_brown is offline  
Aug 6th, 2008, 10:26 AM
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I knew I could count on all of you for the best information.

Any other information on unusual places to visit in Paris or just outside would be helpful.

It is good to revisit the major attractions of Paris, but we like to find something new every time we go there.

I'm counting the days until Sept. 8th!
TPAYT is offline  
Aug 6th, 2008, 11:45 AM
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How unusual are you looking for? What are you interested in and what have you already seen.
adrienne is offline  
Aug 6th, 2008, 12:04 PM
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I went there on a Cityrama day bus tour. Some folks wouldn't want to spend that much, but it was worth it to me as it covered transportation in a nice bus, and an excellent guide. Made it real easy and relaxing. I think it was around 75 euro for the day, of course when I did that, the USD was worth about one euro.

Don't see much point in going at night if you are really intersting in seeing the castle.

Opera is personal taste (often acquired), but it is very expensive so I wouldn't do that unless you really think you will enjoy it. I don't care for opera myself, but many people do. Some are very very long, also.
Christina is offline  
Aug 7th, 2008, 02:59 PM
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You are right Adrienne, I didn't give you much to go on.
This is our 6th trip to Paris, so we've been to most of the usual sights.

What we enjoy most are the gardens and small museums.After reading what the fodorites are saying, on our list this time is:
Canal St. Martin boat
Parc Monceau & Jacquemart-Andre(always on our list, but never got there)

We are staying on St. Louis en I'lle and prefer the left bank to the right, smaller neighborhoods.

I'll keep reading the reviews on this site and trip advisor for more ideas.
TPAYT is offline  
Aug 7th, 2008, 04:55 PM
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That helps! My last trip to Paris I too wanted to do some unusual things plus repeat my favorites. Here's my list:

House Museums (in the order I would rate them):
Jacquemart Andre (repeat visit)
Nissem de Camando

While at the Jacquemart-Andre I was near the Expiatiory Chapel so went to see that. It wasn't anything exceptional (and took some time to find it since I went in the wrong direction after leaving J-A Museum) but there is a nice garden in front of it.

Took a few Paris Walks tours that I hadn't done including a tour of the Mosque (had been to the mosque but wanted the tour). Stopped in the mosque garden for mint tea after the tour. Tried to do the opera tour with Paris Walks but the opera house was closed unexpectedly. There is an opera tour during the time you'll be there. I think they give great tours.

Finally saw Val-de-Grace church. This had been on my list for ages. It has limited opening times and is lovely inside. I didn't realize no photos were allowed (no sign about photos) and got one pix of the altar before a guard came up to tell me no photos.

My favorite day in Paris included the mosque tour, walking over to the bottom of rue Mouffetard to see the accordian players and folks singing and dancing, lovely lunch, and then Val-de-Grace. It was a perfect weather day as well.

I love sculpture so went to the Maillot museum and then the Rodin gardens (had been inside the museum several times). I also wandered the Tuileries to see the Maillols there. Went to the Antoine Bourdelle, a small sculpture museum and combined that with the post office museum in the same area.

Saw the Montparnasse cemetery (had already been to Pere Lachaise twice).

Went to some free church concerts and bought tickets for a Ste-Chappelle concert. Also combined my visit to the Cluny museum to take advantage of the free medieval concert they have twice a week.

Another small, off beat museum that was on my list is the Gobelin Tapestry works. It's a long tour (almost 2 hours) and only in French. I tried to follow along but gave up after a while. You don't need to understand the commentary to see how tapestries are made. We saw three groups of women working on three different types of tapestries.

Delacroix Museum and the Montmartre Museum are two other small museums I went to. The Delacroix is in the 6th off Place Furstenburg.

Saw several of the passages.

I still have this huge list of things I want to see in Paris that I never got to. Hopefully there will be a next time!
adrienne is offline  
Aug 7th, 2008, 05:13 PM
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I forgot to add a couple of things you might be interested in:

- Deportation Memorial (3rd time) behind Notre Dame
- The free Notre Dame tour. If you haven't been on this tour I would recommend it. It takes close to 2 hours and you learn about Gothic churches as well as ND.
- Jewish Museum

The Lock and Key Museum in the Marais is interesting (I did this on another trip).
adrienne is offline  
Aug 7th, 2008, 08:51 PM
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hi, when is the free notre dame tour?
pjsparlor536 is offline  
Aug 8th, 2008, 03:52 AM
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The tours are Wednesday and Thursday at 2:00; Saturday at 2:30. But double check the times at the info booth just inside the door of ND as they can change. You'll see the guides near the entrance, inside the church, about 5 minutes before the tour starts.
adrienne is offline  
Aug 8th, 2008, 10:23 AM
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adrienne---thanks so much for your suggestions. We've added the Nissin de Commando to our Park Monceau, Jacquemart-Andre day.
Also the Musee Zadkine(sculpture & garden) at 100 Bis Rue d'Assas--near Lux. Gardens at Vavin. We are in that area often. Love the children's stores on Vavin.

We have been to the Mosque(but not the tour), the Delacroix, and the Rodin. The Carnalvalat in the Marais is one of our favorites.

Can you fill me in on the Malmaison and the Maillot? I don't know of them. If we're in the 15th, we'll check out the Bourdelle(good suggestion).

Another one we wanted to check out is the Monet museum, the Marmottan near the Bois Bologne.

This may be museum overkill---we'll see.

We're only there 10 days. We usually go for 2-3 wks. and also take the train to another part of France and get a car. But this year, with the $ being so bad to the Euro, we have cut back.

My favorite part of the trip is having an apartment on St. Louis en I'lle, going to the bakery in the morning, and just sort of living the Paris life.

Thanks again for all of your help.

There was a thread with the word "bleeding" in it a while back about Paris---anyone remember it?

TPAYT is offline  
Aug 9th, 2008, 11:13 AM
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Just found it and got a lot of ideas.
4/28/09 Cholmondley Warner
"Other than the bleeding obvious, what is good to see or do in Paris?"
TPAYT is offline  
Aug 9th, 2008, 02:27 PM
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Malmaison is Josephine Bonaparte's house outside of Paris. You take the RER A to La Defense and then bus 258 to Reuil (make sure you take the bus going in the right direction). I had lots of trouble finding the bus station. There's one sign as you exit the RER and then nothing so we wandered around for a while trying to find it.

I wouldn't go out there unless you had plenty of time and ran out of things to do (as if that could happen in Paris!), especially as you're planning to see the Jacquemart-Andre and Nissem de Camondo. You can see some pictures of the inside of the house on screen 4 of my Paris photos. The link should take you to the correct screen.

Maillol was a sculpture whose works are about as different from Rodin's as you can get and still sculpt a recognizeable human form (they're not abstract). I did a short comparison of Maillol and Rodin in an old trip report. Search on Maillol. There's also some photos of his work in the link above and Bourdelle's as well so you can decide if you want to visit the museums. The Bourdelle museum is free. You can see some of Maillol's work in the Tuileries. There are a couple of large sculptures in the middle of the gardens and a few smaller ones near the Louvre end of the Tuileries.

I would definitely go to the Marmatton museum. It's a great small museum in a lovely area.

adrienne is offline  
Aug 10th, 2008, 04:40 PM
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BAck to Vaux le Vicomte it is easy to go on your own as has been posted here catch the train in Gare de Lyon, I only wish to point out that there is a taxi stop in the gare . Sometimes I shared the taxi with other people wainting to go to Vaux. The thing was coming back I found out that in the Gift Shop they would call a taxi to take you back. it was very handy.
Graziella5b is offline  
Aug 26th, 2008, 01:20 PM
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This is a valuable thread for me. We have been on multiple trips to Paris and are going back this winter.
tuscanlifeedit is offline  
Aug 26th, 2008, 04:03 PM
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Tuscan - what things are you planning to do this time?
adrienne is offline  
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