Within my first week and a half of being in Paris, I traveled the Seine on a boat, climbed La Tour Eiffel, learned about Napoleon and other war heroes at Les Invalides, discovered La Palais de Versailles, which was seriously incredible, and La Louvre which was also incredible. I traveled to Southern France and visited La Ville de Rocamadour, which was spectacular. I got to stay at my family’s other house in St. Gaudens, 30 minutes away from the boarder of Spain. It was made in 1830, had secret rooms, and a beautiful yard with a pool. It couldn’t have been more perfect. After a week of relaxing by the pool and visiting near by villes in St. Gaudens, we traveled back to Paris. On the way home we stopped to explore La Chateau Chambord. It is a real life castle that was first home to Louis I, then inhabited by a line of French Royalties. I’ve never seen anything like that before! The day we got back to Paris was Bastille Day, France’s Independence Day. So I got to watch the march down the Champs Élysées (on TV), but I could see the helicopters from my house. All the military services in France or those that have affected France marched down to greet the President of France on the Champs Élysées. Then that evening, I visited Notre Dame and did some shopping on the Champs Élysées. That night I was one of 500,000 people standing under La Tour Eiffel to watch the world’s most spectacular fire work show. I felt like a small part of something grand. What a glorious way to end my vacation in France.
Just these experiences alone would change anyone, but this wasn’t all to my experience. I was exposed to the beautiful culture of France. The food of course was delicious. I took a picture of every meal! I loved having to speaking French. It was all a dream! I was able to order my meals and ask for directions and express my feelings all in French, even though in the beginning it was really difficult to understand… I loved watching families with their kids communicate in a different language. It was fun to understand that we are all people. We all have emotions and wants and needs, but we express ourselves differently. It touched me to see how much the people of France love their country and love each other. The people there have so much consideration for others (unless they are driving, that’s a different story). I love all of it! But I think to top off everything, the thing I will remember the most is how much the family I was with cared for me. They were so selfless and kind. I’m very touched at how much they did for me, taking me to visit all the places I visited, and paying for so many things so I could have the experience I did. I’ve never been treated so much like a princess. I feel like they did so much for me, I have to go back to visit them. I definitely made a strong relationship with the family I was put with and I will never forget their service to me. It’s amazing and hard to love so many people on another side of the world.
I do not think that a report can sum up my 3-week life in France. I lived and learned more in three weeks than I did in 3 years of French. I’ve fallen in love with the city, the culture, and the people, and now I have a new family I also love dearly. I love France. I love Paris (that city of love… yes I’m a victim). I couldn’t have dreamed of how amazing this trip was going to be for me. Thank you so much for giving me this opportunity of a lifetime.