Paris, oh Paris

We have been home for less than a week. The trip to France was absolutely wonderful. Amazing. Spectacular. Energizing. Fantastic. Stunning.

Is it too soon to go back to France?
I jest. Kinda…
It’s wonderful to be away, but all those little things on your to do list have a way of smacking ¬†you right in the head when you re-enter the real world and this week has been that way.
So today I turn my thoughts to the trip and begin a series of France posts. Our trip began in Normandy in a small town of Bayeaux and then we traveled to Paris. However, I’m going to just take it easy and post about the things we did and forget chronological order. It just seems easier that way and, of course, it doesn’t really matter to the folks who just want to see photos and hear about the experience.
And so I give you… the Eiffel Tower.
I know it will sound funny, but I am actually more impressed with this structure now that I’ve been there than I was before I visited. We both had a curiosity but the Eiffel Tower wasn’t on Mike or my bucket list.
It should have been. It’s really fascinating. First, it looks very sculptural in photos and I couldn’t imagine how exactly you traverse up and down it. I knew there was an elevator, but it just doesn’t seem very people friendly.
And, truthfully, it’s not. I mean, it’s totally fine, but it’s one of those things I don’t think would fly in America because it is truly just a giant piece of metal – rough and sharp and full of screws. Not that there aren’t safety measures in place and railings and guard rails, etc. I truly think it is all perfectly safe. But in America there would be defibrillators and water stations and step pads and grips and all sorts of stuff. And a multi-media presentation every five feet.
We decided to beat the crowds and hike up to the second landing. If we had just taken the elevator like normal people, my impression would be different. Mike climbed it like a champ, but I was heaving and pulling myself up by the end. It’s freakishly difficult. And you’re just surrounded by an endless vision of brown metal corners and joints and bolts.
But then you get to the landing and look out and it’s AMAZING.
And you realize that everyone around you, speaking a zillion different languages and having a zillion different thoughts and worries on their minds, it just temporarily all focused on the beauty of Paris. And the simplicity of the hike up that giant tower actually make the views and experience all the more meaningful.

We stayed in the Rue Cler neighborhood and it was an easy walk from our hotel. We had dedicated a much larger amount of time to the visit than we needed to because we chose to hike up the stairs rather than the long wait for the elevator. And we decided to forgo the ride to the very tippy top. I don’t always love heights and it was hard imagining the view being so much better (and the crowds being enjoyable). Mike was neutral on going to the very top. So we just made our way back down the stairs again. I tried to smile encouragingly at the folks who were sweating it up the stairs. You can do it… you can do it.

And it was worth it.

So that’s the story of the Eiffel Tower… have you been? what did you think?

Previously published elsewhere on our family blog Thursday, May 22, 2014

Paris, oh Paris