Tuesday, September 11, 2012

Paris: Day Nine (Tuesday)

Into every trip, a few red herrings, or wrenches or raindrops--pick your overworked metaphor--must fall or be thrown, and this was our day.  It was, despite the mangled references, our first actual Rainy Day, and while this needn't have been in itself a bad thing, let's just say it wasn't our best day so far.

We started swell enough, late but wary of the rain, we had decided to put off our trip to Chartres, where I hoped to see the stained glass with sunlight pouring in through it--we decided to go with an alternate plan, and go see the Impressionist art at the Musee d'Orsay.  This was one of the first stops required by Lynda when I was here with her a few years ago, but this time I wanted to bring Madelaine to the paintings by way of the Louvre, which of course we did, at great personal expense just the day before.

When I first came to Paris, the Impressionist works--most of them, anyway--were housed in the Orangerie, a small building in one corner of the Tuilleries, and it was such a tourist destination that the crowds were often two or three deep.  It was no different when we visited this time, and it would have been more tolerable had I not been do damn wet.

Did I mention that it rained?  Oh.  Did I mention that I said we needn't take our umbrella?  No, I didn't.  But I did.  Not take the umbrella, that is.

So, we headed out sans parapluie, and when we emerged from the Metro in the Latin Quarter for lunch, the pluie was just beginning to fall.  No worries, we just found a cute little bistro and ducked in for lunch.  We sat near the open door and watched the folks as their rain gear came out, We ate our soupe a l'ognion and omelette and observed that it didn't look too bad.  Then, after lunch, we set out to walk up to the Musee d'Orsay.  That's when it really began to rain.  Not hard, mind you, but enough that we were plenty soaked by the time we arrived at the museum.  And that was the good news.

The bad news was the line.  It stretched like a dismal, orderly snake back and forth across the plaza and down the block.  Glumly I assumed a place in that horrible queue while Valery and Madelaine strove to put the best face on it.  And they did a great job.  At a moment when I was ready to give up and head home, they encouraged me and reminded me why we'd come.  Madelaine was open to the art, and asked a lot of questions.

But eventually the crowds wore us down.  Though pictures were forbidden, people were always whipping out their cameras and snapping a few.  I didn't want to play policeman, but I couldn't help myself a few times, tapping folks on the elbow as they tried to sneak one in.  I figured after all, I could keep my camera in my pocket, why couldn't they?

But that was just enough frustration to wind up the day, so we exited the building right as it closed up, at 5:30.  The sun was out by now, and though it was cooler, it felt good.  Rather than brave the Metro at that hour, we decided to walk up a few blocks before catching it up near the Louvre.

We were so tired that we opted for another quiet dinner at 'home'.  While this sounds like a cop out sometimes, it is in fact why we got an apartment and not a hotel room.  We knew there would be a lot of evenings where we just wanted a place to rest, a bite to eat and and bed to fall into for a few hours. This was one of those days.

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