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It rained all night, lightly tapping a dance on the clay tiles and plexiglass skylights. Damp, wet smells of saturated earth and porous stone

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permeated the cool air of our apartment. Burrowing deeper under the down duvet was the only reasonable option.

Finally, it was time to get up. We were in Paris, after all, and there were so many more things to see and do. After much groaning and cajoling, we stepped onto the street, armed with one umbrella and a general sense of the direction and distance to reach the Musee D’Orsay.

We didn’t count on the fact that the person holding the umbrella tends to keep it more on her side. Nor did we consider the traffic splashing water on the sidewalk. But we were in Paris, so who cared? We reached the Museum and figured out the correct line for holders of the Paris Pass (a one-price for multiple museums pass that is a must for Paris). By the time we got inside and checked our stuff, it was 10:00 and time for something to eat.

Instead of starting on the ground floor, we knew there was a cafe on the top or 5th floor. Stairs made it easy to go up, as people poured into the

Museum. We found the cafe and something that took my breath away.

One of the large clocks that were part of the building in its former life as a train station. I was thrilled to find it so quickly and began taking photos from different angles. When I finally came up for air, we discovered that the cafe was next to the Impressionist Exhibit – the main reason that we came to this museum! Fortune was with us, because we were able to tour the rooms and see our favorite Monet, Renoir and other painters before it got too crowded.

After walking all over the museum, our feet were tired. We took the train back to the St. Michael stop and walked the last two blocks to the apartment, rain still coming down. Casement windows open to the inside, which let us hear the rain without having it come inside. The perfect way to spend a lazy afternoon…listening to the rain outside and reading a great book, snuggled under the cover.

But the day was not over. We knew that the Louvre stayed open late on Wednesdays until 9:30 p.m., so we waited until about 4:30 to walk over and see our second museum of the day.

The Louvre is housed inside what was the Royal Palace. Photos do not show the sheer immense proportions of the buildings, or the amount of acreage is displaced by the grounds. Again, we were able to skip the lines because of our Paris Pass. But decoding the audio guide

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was next to impossible, so we winged it with our guidebook. We found the Venus de Milo and the Mona Lisa, as well as many other fabulous paintings and sculptures.

By the time we walked out of the Pyramid and back into the courtyard, it was 8:30 p.m. but still light. The rain had stopped and left the air washed clean and pure. A walk over the Lock Bridge (Point Neuf) was wonderful, because the sun was below the horizon and dusk had fallen.

Sheer magic in Paris.

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