A Sedalia woman recently visited France after winning the vacation through the Missouri Lottery.

“This was truly a once-in-a-lifetime trip. Nothing beats the first trip to Europe, and I would have never ventured that far away from home without the Missouri Lottery,” said Michele Blankenship of Sedalia, an “Adventure Cruise Drawing” winner in last year’s “Second Chance of a Lifetime: Cruise into the Holidays” promotion.

To win the prize, the Missouri Lottery says Blankenship entered eligible Lottery tickets into her Players Club account. For every $10 worth of eligible tickets entered, she earned one entry into the promotion, which awarded cruise-themed vacations, merchandise and cash.

Once drawn as an “Adventure Cruise Drawing" winner, Blankenship was presented with a choice of exploring the French countryside aboard a river cruise, settting sail aboard a private yacht in the Caribbean, or embarking on a cruise ship adventuring through the Alaskan wilderness.

“I ended up choosing the French river cruise,” said Blankenship. “It seemed like the vacation I would never have taken on my own. France never seemed doable before.”

Her husband and two friends accompanied Blankenship on the 15-day trip. Using their river cruise to travel along the French countryside, the group enjoyed a variety of daily excursions and events which included tours of museums, landmarks, vineyards and tastings of local cuisines. For Blankenship, narrowing down her favorite aspect of the trip proved to be challenging.

“It’s difficult to pick any one of the sights and say it was the best,” said Blankenship. “I loved Paris. The town of Perouges is a small-walled city that was just so memorable. We toured Monet’s home, gardens and lake, too.”

Courtesy of Missouri Lottery