This week has been unbelievable. On Monday night, I flew to Paris with my aunt. Saying goodbye to my family was hard, but I was worried enough about my flight to forget about being sad. I managed to sleep for two hours or so before landing at Charles De Gaulle. From there, we went straight to our hotel near the Place Vendôme, quickly changed, then met up with our tour guide for the day.  She showed us the Marais, the Jewish district in Paris, as well as the best places to shop at the Galeries Lafayette and Printemps.  We wandered around the city with her for the afternoon, then we were finally able to get back to the hotel and relax for a bit.  We managed to stay awake until 9pm...I don't think I've ever been so exhausted. 

On Wednesday morning, we went on a guided tour of the Louvre.  Our guide was a PhD student at Yale who studies art history; naturally, the tour was amazing.  We saw an array of art including the Venus de Milo, the famous statue of Nike, the Gallery of Apollo, an enormous painting of the crowning of Napoleon by David, and the Mona Lisa. After lunch, we did a bit of shopping and then went on a guided tour at night.  We went up to the 56th floor of Montparnasse for a panoramic view of the city at night, took a boat cruise on the Seine, and drove past the important monuments at night. 

We travelled to Versailles on Thursday morning.  I couldn’t believe how beautiful and ornate the palace was. My favorite parts were the Hall of Mirrors, which I had read about in history class, and the expansive gardens. The upkeep must have been unbelievable. I don't know how the children didn't get lost running through the gardens! 

The most exciting part of my trip was Thursday night, our trip to Moulin Rouge. I remember watching the movie with my roommate during our freshman year and that’s all I had for prior knowledge. We started with a four-course dinner which was absolutely incredible. Around 9:00, the show started.  The dancers were stunning – and often topless – but I couldn’t get over how perfectly they sang and danced. I loved how there was a story behind their songs. 

In between the dances at Moulin Rouge, there were different acts including a juggler and a man who acted like a sort of mime.  Towards the end of his act, he came into the audience with four balloons.  He stopped at my table and handed the first one to me; I shook my head, afraid that I would mess up whatever trick he had planned, but he insisted and told me to stand up.  He chose three more people and brought us up on stage. My face was bright red and I wished I had worn cuter shoes and done my hair, but how was I supposed to know that I’d be pulled onstage in front of hundreds of people? The man directed us through a little skit where I was with a guy who left to use the bathroom, then another man gave me a rose and the two proceeded to fight over me.  It ended with the mime stepping in and walking offstage with me! I couldn’t believe it.  After the show, a man from Australia asked if he could take a picture of me with his two sons and then asked if I was studying acting in Paris – ha! It was easily one of the top 10 coolest things I have ever experienced in my life. 

Arriving in Aix-en-Provence was easy enough until I had to get back on the train to grab my second suitcase and got stuck.  The train was headed off to Nice and I desperately told the train attendant that I needed to get off.  He told me that it was not possible and the train was about to leave.  I panicked and blurted out some mixture of French and English, begging him to help me.  Fortunately, a French couple stepped in and explained to him that my other suitcase was on the platform already.  He somehow managed to stop the train and I got off, but for a moment I was sure that I would be headed off to Nice.

I’ve just moved into my homestay and it’s wonderful so far.  My host mom could not be nicer and I’ve managed to get a working cell phone, although it looks like it could’ve been one of the first ever invented. Needless to say, it’s a bit of a downgrade from my iPhone but I can’t complain! I’m so eager to get outside tomorrow, to explore the city a bit more, to practice my French, and to finally start classes.  I’ll admit that it’s a bit daunting since I could count the number of people I know here on two hands, but I couldn’t be more excited and relieved to finally be here.

Nicole Long
9/26/2012 09:39:57 pm

Meagan, we are so happy to be able to follow you via blog. I loved the story of you getting pulled onto stage--unforgettable. Such a great symbol for your entire trip. We are so proud of you and excited to hear about all you are experiencing. Can't wait for your next post. Sending you so much love, xxxxxx Nicole & Family


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