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“Take vacations, go as many places as you can. You can always make money, you can’t always make memories.”

I love to travel. Whether it be here in the U.S. or abroad, traveling is one of my favorite things to do. By traveling you get to experience new things, meet new people, and get to know yourself better. The simplest way to put it I love Europe. I’ve been once before and traveled to the Netherlands and Belgium, this time I just visited  Paris France.

Paris is a magical city. I see why it is called the city of Love. I visited this time with my mother, so besides the love a daughter has for a mother, there wasn’t much LOOOOOVE for me while I was there. Mom rented us a VRBO (Vacation Rental By Owner) in the Montmartre district of Paris, this is the same area as the Moulin Rouge….for those of you that were wondering.

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If you ever visit Paris, this is the way you should go. You really get to experience the city when you do a VRBO and the Montmartre district sits on a hill that over looks the city…some of the views are breath taking….such as this one, which was taken at the top of the hill at Sacre Coure (A Catholic Church)

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I really enjoyed this area, not only for the views, but I felt like this was real Paris, not just tourist Paris. There was a bakery right around the corner from us, where we got fresh bread, sweets, and quiche everyday. There were butchers, cheese shops, produce shops, and a small super market, not to mention the 20+ little restaurants where there was outdoor seating even when it was 40 degrees out.

I was very pleased with my interactions with the French people while we were there. Everyone was more than happy and willing to speak English with us as long as we started off speaking French to them, a simple Boujour, would do it and then they would realize we spoke English. Although I was told my French was too bad.

The food in Paris was Amazing. Everything is fresh. My cousin (who lives in France) was telling me that in Paris restaurants can not use Frozen food, which is regulated by the government (why don’t we have this in America?). We never had a bad meal, some were better than others, but overall no complaints on food. One night mom and I got a little adventurous and tried a big old pot of Mussels. Image

Most dinners we shared, because even in France portions are too big, plus everything is more expensive there. This night we each got an Onion Soup (soooo Good) and then shared the mussels.

I studied Interior Merchandising (the business side of Interior Design), I have a love for furniture and architecture, so when a lot of people are looking in the windows, I am looking up. Paris is filled with amazing architecture and history. One of the most beautiful places we went was Versailles.

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Far too much money was spent on this Hunting Lodge (The original use of the land), but it was one of the most magnificent places I have ever seen. Maybe if the Monarchy hadn’t spent so much money on the palace they might not have ended up dead with their heads cut off, but either way it was awesome (in the true meaning of the word).

Of course we did all the tourist things, saw the Mona Lisa, went to the Effile Tour, went to the Arc de Triumph, Notre Dame, and took a stroll down the Seine, but set all those things aside and Paris was amazing. At the end of the week I did not want to leave. If you ever have the time and the money my best advice to anyone is to experience the world. Just pick a place and go explore.

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-Ashley Oakley

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