Sweet 16 in Paris - My Family Travels
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Versailles1
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Eiffle_Tower1
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Eiffle_Tower2
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 It was March 9, 2008, my 16th birthday. We had travelled from California to Paris and we were staying in the 16th district a few blocks from the metro. Soon we would make our transfers and be on the train to Versailles, the official residence of the Kings of France and of course the home of Marie Antoinette. As soon as we turned the corner and the estate was in view I was in awe. Each room was more magnificent then the next and when we arrived in the Hall of Mirrors I truly felt like I was the only one in the room. I knew then what it meant to say something is breathtaking. I thought about the history that had taken place in this very room and all the people who had graced these magnificent halls surrounding it. From the very place I stood decisions were made by the king that would shape European history as we know it. None of the details were lost on me. During the entire tour my eyes scoured every inch of the estate. I saw where Marie Antoinette had her children and where she dined and had her parties. I would visit the Petite Trianon and Grande Trianon and stare out at the endless gardens and in a word the experience was transporting. It felt like my books were alive in front of me and everything was as I had imagined. The opulence and extraordinary thought that was put into each room, each painting and the grounds of the estate are forever in my heart and mind.

 We had spent that morning with Adeline who had been our French exchange student the summer before. Once back in Paris we rushed to get Adeline on a train back home. Our goodbyes were brief and sudden as our party split up to rush her to her waiting train. My mom and I were so focused on getting our friend home that we failed to get directions on how to get back to our hotel. If my mom was panicked she hid it from me. I saw her look around and look at her map and then, too quickly, put the map away. My mom turned to me and said, “We will follow the Eiffel Tower and it will lead us to the hotel.” The walk turned out to be one of my favorite parts of my trip. Each street was a treasure and our discoveries had us laughing out loud. At one point we looked over and were shocked to see Rodin’s Garden. The iron gates didn’t obstruct our views of some of the many statues that adorned the garden. With the rain starting to come down a little harder our pace quickened and it almost felt like a dream.
 
My dad was waiting at the front of the hotel when we arrived and unlike my mom he did not hide the panic in his face. We told him how it started to down pour as we reached the Champs Elysees and how everyone had retreated in store fronts leaving our path clear to run to our hotel. We dried off and changed for dinner which to my surprise would be on the Eiffel Tower itself.
 
After an amazing dinner we rode to the top of the monument where we could look down at the beautiful city light’s below and it made me think back to how the day had started. It seemed like days not hours since we had left Versailles. I was 16 and realized I had found my first love, Paris.
 
 
 

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