— Feathers and Wax

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France

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After our peaceful morning spent in Giverny, my parents and I went to Versailles. I had seen a few photos before but they really did little justice to the raw opulence in store for us. Gold-plated everything, crystals dripping from everywhere, richly-dyed brocade fabrics covering the walls and details in every remote corner — there was so much sparkle for my eyes to take in.

No wonder the poor French peasants hated these monarchs!

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On an overcast, cool morning during my stay in France I traveled to Giverny to see the home and gardens of Claude Monet. I had expected it to be beautiful, but it far exceeded my expectations. Beauty surrounded us on all sides, with each view more idyllic than the last.

It was easy to see how Monet felt inspired here.

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I wish I could remember when I had my first glass of champagne. Even though I can’t recall the exact details, I know I was immediately smitten with it. The fizziness, the slender glasses, the intricate dance of the bubbles from bottom to top. I liked how it wasn’t too sweet but still played on your palette, instantly banishing all solemnity.

It’s difficult to be sad while drinking champagne.

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