Tourist

Cassie in France

Over the summer of 2005 I had the privilege to travel with my family to Paris, France for my sister’s wedding.  Her husband was born and raised there, and still has most of his family there.  We spent about a week in Paris touring the Eiffel Tower the Louvre and the Palace of Versailles.  We ate only the most gourmet meals and enjoyed fresh bread, home made wines and pastries on a daily basis.  The language barrier was no issue with my brother-in-law’s perfect French but with out his guidance the trip would have gone as smoothly. We stayed in a beautiful hotel very close to everything there was to see.

Shopping was an infinite possibility with boutiques by the  hundreds to smaller gift shops offering post card reminders of the wonderful world of France.  To get around the city our main mode of transportation was the Metro their train subway system.  We  walked everywhere!  We visited some of the most gorgeous churches like Notre Dame and The Chapel of Miracles where St.Cathrine Laboure’s preserved body is enclosed in a glass case in the church.  For those who don’t know of St. Catherine Laboure she is the Saint that Mary appeared to telling her of the miraculous medal for the Catholic Church.  We sat in on a Mass in Notre Dame and I completely found myself mesmerized by the beautiful stained glass windows that surrounded me.

After about five days in Paris we ventured toward the country for the wedding. We spent a day or so in Valencienne for their civil ceremony but shortly after made the trek out to the beautiful county side of Villers-Pol where my brother-in-law’s family owns a home for the wedding. On the way to Villers-Pol we stopped in Champagne, a province in France where champagne originated. We visited a prominent and well known Champagneries called Veuve Clicquot in Reims, France. We were able to tour the dark cold caves that house the special makings of one of France’s finest Champagnes.  We were taught how to properly open a Champagne bottle and how to savor the flavors and essences of the champagne.  We were shown how it was made and the endless collection of brewing bottles.

I had never felt so emerged in a culture before.  In the two weeks I spent in France I tried so many different foods that were delicacies to the culture such as escargot and cow tongue.  Things I never thought I would try.  I was able to see the culture in a completely different light by attending my sister’s wedding.  There are certain parts of the country that are more Americanized, such as Paris where you can find many people who can speak or understand English. Where as in small towns such as Villers-Pol no one can understand you and you better have a translator with you to help.

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