Hall of Mirrors in the Chateau de Versailles
This weekend Katie visited me to kick off her spring break. She is currently studying in Milan, and this was her first time in Paris! We had a wonderful time hitting up the usual sites: Notre Dame, the Eiffel Tower at night, the Louvre Museum, Shakespeare & Co., Pompidou Center and the Tuilleries. It was a whirlwind tour, but she loved the city.
The highlight of the weekend, however, was visiting Versailles. This is a place that has been the top of my "To Visit" list for over a year, since I first saw the film Marie Antoinette. I remember watching the movie with such amazement that such a beautiful place and lavish lifestyle could exist, wondering how it had taken me so long to watch the film. This film was part of what inspired me to come to Paris to study. While I had already decided to take French as my language in school and was already interested in French culture and history, I was determined to see this place for myself after seeing the film. Seeing the chateau, gardens, and Marie Antoinette's Hamlet was an incredible experience, and a reminder of why I came here to begin with.
I wish I could tell you all every detail of my visit, however that would be dull for you, and time-consuming for me. Instead, I will leave it at this: Versailles was better than I had anticipated, and easily tied with Cinque Terre, Italy and Gimmelwald, Switzerland as the best place I've ever been. It was absolutely beautiful and I cannot wait to go back again in May and spend even more time there (I didn't even get to see all the gardens!)
Katie and I ended our weekend with some American flair: cheeseburgers at the Hard Rock Cafe. Guys, I'm talking cheddar cheese and bacon and the perfect french fries and milkshake. It was positively American, albeit overpriced, and left us completely satisfied as far as our State-side cravings were concerned. Afterward we went to a popular cafe on Rue Oberkampf, which is near my apartment, so Katie could buy me an early birthday drink: a mojito, of course. It was one of the best I've had, but maybe that's because someone else paid for it.
The weekend was fabulous, and I feel so blessed that I have a friend in Europe that I've been able to see twice. My friends from my program have families visiting, and since mine can't, its nice to have someone from home. I don't know how I'd get through the semester without a familiar, smiling face, that knows me so well.
Katie and I on the steps of the Chateau de Versailles