Saturday, July 26, 2008

Two Summer Days And Nights In Paris

Photo - Alden Smith 2006 - One foot of the Eiffel Tower, Paris

This is one of the feet of the Eiffel Tower in Paris. The Eiffel Tower is an iconic 'must see' - (or rather - must go to the top of - it would be hard NOT to see the Eiffel Tower when in Paris) - if you go to Paris as we did in the summer of 2006. It looks somewhat like a tower made out of giant Meccano Set parts.
The Eiffel Tower is named after its designer the engineer Gustave Eiffel. It is one of the most recognised structures in the world with more than 200,000,000 people having visited it since it was built in 1889. According to Wikipedia there were 6,719,200 visitors in 2006 and in that year Christine and I were two of those that visited.

When the tower was built it came in for a great deal of public criticism and many vitriolic letters were sent to French newspapers signed by famous French citizens calling for it to be pulled down. - The French Novelist Guy de Maupassant - who claimed to hate the tower — supposedly ate lunch in the Tower's restaurant every day. When asked why, he answered that it was the one place in Paris where you couldn't see the Tower. Today, it is widely considered to be a striking piece of structural art – I wonder what the reception would be today if someone called for its removal?

I thought the tower was magnificent. The views of the Seine River and Paris from the viewing platforms were spectacular and the feeling is different from most other towers and buildings in that it is not enclosed in any way.

At night the Tower is beautifully lit and on the hour (one of the hours between 10 and 12pm) the lights shimmer in a beautiful display which makes the tower sparkle not unlike the well known fireworks sparklers.

In Paris we celebrated our wedding anniversary at the Moulin Rouge and the next day we went to the Louvre and saw among other things the famous painting of the Mona Lisa. I had heard that where ever you are in relation to the Mona Lisa, her eyes are always looking at you. I tested this claim out and found that indeed whatever angle I was to the picture her eyes were always looking at me! Uncanny really. If you go there and test it for yourself and it doesn’t work it may be that she only does it for certain very handsome and worthy males like me. :-)

One of the sad things about our visit was that it was far too short – a two day stopover on a whistle stop bus tour of Europe. I have been to the Louvre, the Eiffel Tower, the Moulin Rouge, eaten frogs legs and snails, drank French wine while being serenaded by a French musician in a beret with an accordion and walked part of the Champs- Élysées, BUT ! I really don’t know Paris or France at all. It takes TIME to get this place and any other on this globe into your bones. Paris just got under my skin – but under enough that I want to go back – yep, I’m going back – deep in the heart of Paris there is a baguette and a bottle of wine with my name written on it and a lady in the Louvre who wants to take another look at me. :-)


Katherine said...

I love Paris in the
the springtime.

Daphne said...

I was in Paris last weekend! And although I was working it was still fantastic. Do go back - both Paris and the rest of France are great.

Katherine said...

Miss your blogs...You must be still in Paris. Hope you're having a lovely time!

Brian R said...

I visited Paris for 3 days in 1974, 4 or 5 days in 76 and 2 or 3 in 80, But in 2002 I spent 13 days in the city and returned for another 11 days last year mainly to take my sister who like you had only spent 2 days there on a whistle stop tour of Europe. At the end, I asked her was 11 days too many and as expected she replied 'no not enough' A lifetime in Paris would not be enough. These last 2 visits were in Spring but earlier ones were in Autumn and Winter and it was just as wonderful. Have you gathered that I love Paris :-)