An American in Paris

One of the biggest advantages of being so centrally located in Europe is the ease of travel.  This was something that I took advantage of last week when I took a trip to Paris. Already having last Thursday off due to a federal holiday in Germany, I decided to use one of my two allotted vacation days to take Friday off as well.  This allowed me to have four days to myself. Having wanted to go to Paris ever since I was young, it was a no brainer that I would then use this time to go and explore the French capital. What made this trip even more special was the support and encouragement that I received from my family to make this trip as many of them have been able to visit Paris before and really wanted me to be able to experience everything the city had to offer.

Realizing that I only had four days to be able to everything that I wanted to do, which was basically everything that the city had to offer, I definitely tried to set myself up for success.  This involved a lot of buying presale tickets, mapping out distances, and booking early morning flights. So that when 4am rolled around on Thursday morning, I knew that I as ready to make the best of my short timeframe.  Between the cream colored buildings with black roofing, the cobblestone streets, and the small cafes, Paris was everything that I had envisioned and more. Not wanting to waste anytime, I immediately hit the museums. I started off at the Army Museum at the Hotel Invalides.  Given my passion for military history, especially that of the French Military, I felt right in my element. The museum had exhibits showing the entire history of the French military all of the way from the mid 1600’s all of the way through the end of World War II and showcased everything from antique arms and armour, medals and awards, to uniforms and historical displays.  On the other side of the Hotel, was the Tomb and final resting place of Emperor Napoleon Bonaparte. Knowing that you were only feet away from one of the most important men in history was an experience that I will never forget. After leaving the Army Museum, I then visited the Eiffel Tower, the Arc de Triomphe, and the Paris Opera House. All of which are far larger than I had ever realized only adding to the awe that I was already experiencing.  

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On Friday, I visited the Louvre and did some shopping.  Going to the Louvre in the morning, along with having presale tickets for 10am entry, was one of the best decisions that I had ever made as it allowed me to enter very easily and get right to the exhibits.  It wasn’t until I had entered the Denon gallery that I realized exactly how large the building actually was. I had known that it was originally built as the main royal palace until the creation of Versailles, but that still failed to prep me for exactly how vast the now museum was.  Given the amount of floors and wings and the pure number of pieces there, it is no wonder that people go back to the museum multiple times and still never see everything. Giving my limited time, I power walked my way around the museum to make the most of the time and see the most amount of pieces as possible.  After spending the entire morning and early afternoon there, I spent the second part of my day doing some shopping. Given my love for fashion, especially high end fashion, I was in heaven. Having the headquarters of some of the biggest names in fashion being only steps away was the most amazing feeling and something that I definitely took advantage of.  I used the time to shop and pick up a few things at some of my favorite brands Louis Vuitton, Hermès, and Givenchy as well as going to many of the historic locations and museums dedicated to people like Christian Dior, Coco Chanel, and Yves Saint Laurent.

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I then spent the entirety of Saturday in the town and palace of Versailles.  Going to the palace was the one thing that I had wanted to do more than anything during, not only my trip to Paris, but by time in Europe as a whole, so being able to visit and be there for so long was such an amazing and indescribable experience.  Being able to walk the Hall of Mirrors, the King and Queen’s bedrooms, chapel, and opera house brought forward some emotion. Being able to stand in the place that you have read you whole life about and to be able to walk the same halls as the people you know so much about like Louis XIV was something I will never forget.  Also being able to go and explore the expansive gardens was just a great end to the day. Flying back Sunday morning was a little hard. I had to leave behind a city that I had only just scratched the surface of but fell in love with so quickly. But I knew that it would not be the last time that I would visit.

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One of the biggest places where I feel uncertainty in my work is in my interpretations of law and public policy.  Given the fact that I am not a trained lawyer and have not yet been to law school, it can sometimes be hard to be confident that the interpretations and answers I am arriving are the correct ones, especially given that I am working for a startup in the financial field where one wrong move can be detrimental to the operations of the company.  However, I am managing this by by simply turning in my work. I try my hardest to make sure that I have all of my bases covered and that I have the sources to back up my work. But I feel this is best way for me to continually gain confidence as I will not be able to learn and grow if I don’t turn stuff in and trust my work.