For some reason I’ve always had an affection for the French language and French culture. When I entered middle school there was no doubt in my mind that I would take French instead of Spanish. Looking back I recognize what my parents and sister told me. Spanish would have been more useful in my day to day life but I don’t regret taking French.
The number one place in my life I wanted to visit was Paris. After visiting Spain in 2011 my husband and I set our sights on Paris in 2012. I made a mad dash to brush of on my French. I purchased the first two levels of French on Rosetta Stone and squeezed in three or four hours a week in the three months leading up to our trip. I also listened to French language lesson in my car and while working out. Not to mention the French language movies I watched. I did everything I could do while still working full time at my day job to prepare my French language abilities for our trip.
I can’t say that I was ever completely satisfied with my French on our trip but now two years later I can give myself credit for having tried. I have to admit while not perfect my French was good enough.
Since I had the unfortunate experience of having a family member die on the first day of my trip to Canada in 2012 I always think about the possibility of something bad happening at the start of a vacation. What if you get somewhere and you can only spend one day there because of an emergency. What do you want to see in that one day?
Well, for Paris the answer was obvious…The Eiffel Tower.
I had always imagined that my first glimpse of the Eiffel Tower would be a magical experience but my husband had us get off the Paris Metro a couple of stops too early so my first view was from a distance.
It was a gloomy day in Paris so that first glimpse wasn’t what I had envisioned but it was still fantastic because I was seeing the freakin’ Eiffel Tower.
We walked from our metro station to the tower. When we finally got close and sat on a bench I was amazed with how big it actually is.
The lame half tower in Las Vegas is such a cheap imitation. As we just sat under the Tower I was overwhelmed with tears. I was at the number one place in the world I had always wanted to visit. Many dreams in my life had failed to come true but my dream of visiting Paris was real.
We next approached the tower to go up to the top. We were there on a Saturday, so it was of course crowded.
We knew that we needed to be careful for pickpockets but what we didn’t expect was to see armed guards at the tower. It makes sense though. The Eiffel Tower would make a perfect target for a terrorist so it needs extra protection.
We had prepared to wait in line for the elevator to go to the top but as it turned one of the elevators was out of order which made the line for it even longer than normal. We decided to climb the steps of the tower instead of waiting in the long line. At the end of the day it took just as much time but at least by climbing the steps we could do it at our own pace and we wouldn’t have the frustration of standing in line.
The climb up the tower was tough but amazing.
We paused several times along the way to take breaks and even had a little ham and butter sandwich.
Unfortunately, the weather at the top did not give up the amazing view one would hope for from the top of the tower.
Still, it was amazing to be at the top of the tower and what I would realize later is that my favorite views of Paris were of the Tower not from the Tower itself.
The climb down was actually more physically demanding than the climb up.
Throughout the rest of the day I would glance over at the tower as often as possible. The eternal reminder that you are actually in Paris is seeing the Eiffel Tower from a distance. Later in the day as the weather slightly improved we got a great view from the Arc de Triomphe.
On our second day we had to hurry back to Paris from Versailles to make our dinner reservation at the Jules Verne restaurant.
To say that that dinner was the most expensive of my life would be a vast understatement but it was also amazing. To think that little old me, a gay boy raised in the stick of Colorado, would eat dinner at a place where heads of state have eaten is quite an amazing feat.
The sparkling lights of the tower at night are as impressive as I imagined they would be. Unfortunately, I didn’t get a video of them from the outside.
As our time in Paris went on I was always on the lookout to gage where the tower was.
From Sacre Coeur
What I found was my absolute favorite view in all of Paris is from the top of Notre Dame.
On our last day in Paris we sat in the grass of the Champ de Mars and took in the Tower. No need to climb or fight the crowds. We just relaxed and soaked it up.
We also took a riverboat cruise of the Seine. Sitting in the boat looking up at the tower is the longest lasting image of the Eiffel Tower I have in my head, probably because the tower is taller from that vantage point and because it was the last day.
As we walked away from the tower one last night I kept looking back. I wanted to look at the Eiffel Tower forever. I hope one day to go back but I know how life is. It was raining but my last glimpse of the tower was great because it was the mother fucking Eiffel Tower!
Now, two years later I dream of going back. Paris was the number one place I wanted to visit in my life and I must confess it is the number one place I still want to go, even more than going somewhere new (and I love going new places)
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