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Thursday we began at the Louvre to see some of what we had missed the evening before. We entered from the Metro, coming into the sun-filled underground reception area beneath the glass pyramid in the central court of the Louvre. We began by walking through some history of the Louvre itself - the foundations and moat of the original castle have recently been excavated and you can now walk along the bottom of the moat and through the dungeon level of the castle.

Next we walked through a statuary court and into the Near-East section of archeological finds. The statues from Ur, a stele with Hammurabi's Code inscribed in cuneiform and the wall carvings from Assyria were amazing - I had no concept of the scale of the carvings until we stood next to them.

Over lunch, we decided that we needed a break from the Louvre so we took the Metro to the Rodin museum near Les Invalides and spent the afternoon among the statues and artifacts of Rodin's life. The works are split - smaller works inside a lovely 18th century mansion and larger statues scattered through a casual garden. Although the Thinker always comes to mind when one ponders Rodin, my favorites here included his original statue of Balzac and the Burghers of Calais.

We ate dinner in a tiny restaurant with a zinc bar and perhaps ten tables. The food was amazing - I had duck that was lean and yet tender and Natalie's filet was top notch, too. After dinner we strolled through the Champs des Mars, then back to the hotel to watch a soccer game from the World Cup. Much of Paris was caught up in the Cup as France had unexpectedly moved into the final series.
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