Despite all the grandeur of the places we visited during our time in Paris, I think it is safe to say that everyone in the group enjoyed our leisure time the most. These hours were just as rewarding even though I would never have imagined so prior to my time there.

Every evening we perused the famous streets of Rue de Rivoli, which parallels the Seine River, and nonchalantly window shopped. I even

The Family in front of the Arc de Triomphe

purchased a nice black derby cap from one of the small shops across from the Louvre. On a side note, this hat faired me well in France as I was confused for a Frenchman on multiple occasions. Between my slightly tilted derby, gray and maroon scarf, rumpled corduroy pants, and very worn Clark’s shoes, I apparently looked like a proper Frenchman.

While my family never did shed their plainly American garb and actions, they at least shared in the European art form of dining. In Europe, one does not simply eat a meal, one experiences a meal. Somehow, we managed to overcome our culture shock, as we thoroughly rejoiced in our food every night as we dined at “Le Café Imperiale,”within sight of the Eiffel tower. No luxury, or calorie, was spared as we all made sure to indulge in all the famously French food. Rich wine and warm baguette was the beginning to every meal, followed by the main course, and ended with sinfully delicious deserts. During my three dinners in France, I tried steak tartare, some other kind of steak, Beef bourguignon accompanied with, of course, real French fries as main courses. My deserts consisted of some sort of chocolate cake, crème brulee , and crepes with ice cream and melted chocolate.

I think it is plain to see why leisure time was the best part of France. The palaces and museums are awesome, yes. But how often does one get to aimlessly wander Rue de Rivoli or revel in authentic French cuisine? I feel like the promenades and banqueting are when I really got to experience France. To me, sightseeing belongs in a completely different category since one doesn’t experience a place when touring attractions; you see the sights. While I will always love to think back on visiting the Louvre and waltzing Versailles’ grounds, I know I will always cherish those relaxed Parisian evenings just as much. Both categories are too unique to compare or compete, at least in my mind.

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