Gen Y American in 18th Century France

by | Jul 23, 2014

Gen Y American in 18th Century France

Gen Y American in 18th Century France

Sometimes the best adventures and learning experiences come when they are least expected!  Join a Gen Y American in 18th Century France!

Of Sprains, Masked Balls and Joie de Vie : An unexpected adventure

I fell into the Jardins of Versailles, and this Gen Y American fell into love again with France, and life.

It was a revelatory, a true “éclat” of understanding of the wonder of this marvelous country.

Masked and costumed in 18th century attire, the costume shop said I was a “marquise”- and having partaken of a bit of champagne, I slipped in the pluie and somehow fell into some topiary type bushes.  A gallant Frenchman (masked of course) came to rescue me, and helped me recover my shoe which was lost in my precipitous descent. There’s always a Prince Charmant (Charming) around when you need one, at least when you hang out in the palais of Louis the Sun King.

I made it to the ball for a few hours. I limped through the grand entrance, where scantily dressed young women adorned as some sort of mythological creature with beards, long hair and tales in dimly lighted bubbles splashed and did splits while staring down the audience. It wasn’t so much erotic or scandalous as artistic, a reminder I was in sensuous, “decadent,” Europe rather than puritanical America.

A masked demoiselle I met in line for the bathroom told me about her career in investment banking in France and England: “In France, I went to lunch until four and we used to make jokes about how many old noble family names were in the directory. I went to London so I could make it on my own merit and all that, and now I only have five minutes to grab a sandwich.”

As other continental Europeans often say of France, the culture of the court is alive and well indeed.

Being a little disoriented from the fall only made the short time I did spend there more poignant. It’s not everyday you see people partying like the 1700s and dancing to American pop music. It was lovely and almost trance-enducing.

Since seeking medical attention that night when I realized it probably wasn’t a good idea to “cowgirl up” through the pain and it wasn’t just a little sprain, I have been immersed fully in the French medical system. Although, I still have to complete the admin insurance process, incredibly, all of my home care cost probably the same as one doctor’s visit without insurance in the US.  I have had doctors come up to my sixth floor walk up to take care of me. When I needed a nurse to come and give me a shot, he actually went to the pharmacy for me since I didn’t realize I needed to go get the injection myself!

Though my storybook night at the ball didn’t go as planned, I have had quite an adventure. And despite the literally downs and ups of my time in France, I am more amazed than ever by this beautiful and oftentimes contradictory country. Now that I’m stuck in my apartment, I really appreciate the wonders literally right outside my door.

Today I had to get a shot as a preventive measure against blood clots since I haven’t been moving and getting my blood circulating as much as usual. That really showed me, if the fall hadn’t already, that we only get one life and it is infinitely precious.

 And I’m going to enjoy it and face whatever comes with courage to open to the unexpected joys and lessons of life, and a hearty American size serving of “joie de vivre.”

Megan Jones Contributor
Megan is a graduate of the Fox School's one-year Tri-Continent International MBA candidate (IMBA) progam. Currently living the American in Paris dream.
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