But speaking of that Eiffel climb, we didn’t have to do it. You can take an elevator all the way to the top! Whew, that bit of news made my day. I was pretty nervous at the thought of climbing at least three times higher than the length of the Arc de Triomph, and without the safety of enclosed walls.
Here are a few things I learned while on top of the Eiffel:
1) Paris is cloaked in white. When you first look down from the top of the tower, all you can help noticing is the radiance of the city. It positively shimmers. (See pictures below for proof.)
2) Almost every place in Paris has historic landmarks, but some sections are more famous than others. The vistas to the west of town, for instance, include the Louvre, the Obelisk (known as the guillotine during the French Revolution), and the Notre Dame Cathedral. The vista to the south holds the Arc de Triomph, while the southwest carries Montmartre. Less popular are the east, with its highrise views of corporate Paris, and the north, which is more serene and pastoral.
3) Parisians value beauty. Though the plethora of museums, bridges, and carefully preserved palaces and cathedrals make this statement obvious, it’s also true in a not-so-obvious way. Like the tree-lined streets suffused throughout the city on major thoroughfares. From the top of the Eiffel Tower, you can see the city is primarily composed of rows upon rows of soft white colored buildings intersected with long green lines of carefully planted earth. Small plantations of grass and flowers crop up out of nowhere within otherwise commercial city blocks, and there are plenty of free parks and gardens to keep you occupied for weeks. (See pictures below for proof of this point, too.)
4) I can experience special places with Kirk, rather than just beside him. What I mean is, I’ve done a lot of traveling, and a lot of traveling with other people, but I’m not used to sharing the sights and sounds so personally with anyone else. Usually I don’t know how. I feel unable to share my impressions in a way another person will understand, especially if the impressions have particularly moved me. But with Kirk, it’s a completely different story. I learned at the top of the Eiffel Tower that I can experience moving – and even just plain silly – moments with him right as they are happening. I don’t know how else to explain this profound moment of realization except to say there’s a big difference between doing something with someone and doing something with someone.
So, here are a few of the sights we enjoyed together at the top of the Eiffel Tower: