He lived not too far away from Paris, Île-de-France, the sub-urban outskirts of Paris, is where he still resides. The town of Évry, is as I would describe…clean, green and calm. There were tall shady trees everywhere, lakes alongside the road and a few little old churches. A lovely place to live as long as you drive otherwise the metro to the main city was good half-an-hour walk away from there. Not too long a walk provided the weather is reasonable, which it was that day. Still we took the car and rushed to the main city as I could not control my excitement anymore to go see La Tour d’Eiffel. He was such a gentleman to show me around each and every tourist attraction I so had to go visit.
As I have already mentioned, our first stop was the Eiffel Tower. With city being so crowded, as it was Saturday anyway, we struggled for good 20-30 minutes for a parking space. The main centre of the town is always crowded with tourists and its best not to take your cars down those streets so we had to park a little outside of the Avenue des Champs-Élysées. From there, we decided to walk towards Eiffel which turned out to be a great idea as I got to do some window shopping on the way. We’ll come back to Champs-Élysées later, ‘cause that is one of the most enchanting boulevard of luxury brands I have come across including Barcelona’s Passeig de Gràcia and Via Condotti in Rome. Every shop looks like a celebrity in itself, so describing it is going to take longer.
Anyway, back to the beautiful Eiffel, walking down the streets, my man would keep taking the mickey out of me. Every 5-10 minutes he would go, “Look look, Eiffel is right there !” and no, it wouldn’t be. I would look and then realize, I have just been made a fool again and for some reason he was finding it very funny. To tell me its right there, give me a little hope and then enjoy the expression of disappointment on my face, could apparently be quite fun. It might sound a bit mean on his part but well, I did that later to my younger brother who accompanied me once to Paris and yes, it was funny, probably from the other end of the joke where you get to laugh. LOL
We finally were there, right at the back of the tower, I still didn’t realize the next turn and the Eiffel would be really standing there. One of the most renowned structures of the world, ask anyone what comes to mind when I say Paris, and the answer would be ‘The Eiffel Tower’. It was right there, in front of us, standing tall showing off its magnificent engineering. Many people must be familiar with this that the initial plan was to have the tower up on a temporary basis for an exposition and to tear it down after. It’s hard to believe that the French used to find it hideous in the beginning, artists, painters, sculptures described it as the monstrous Eiffel dominating Paris’s untouched beauty. A preposterous mark on Paris which was not needed at all. I guess eventually the French just learnt to love it and it’s now the only tallest free-standing tower in Paris. What a captivating piece of architecture that is.
Apologies for not keeping up with the pace. I have been occupied with some formalities with the Home Office. Boy is it hard to move around when you’re an Indian. Most of the historic heritage, which I am fonder of, is around Europe but every time I would want to go some place, the visa and the formalities as I am not from the EU. Acquiring visa is my new field expertise and the high commission is my new obsession…LOL. Bad joke, I’m writing at 12 o’clock midnight, what else would you expect. I do have my café avec moi so let’s get back to where we left it.
I was made familiar with the Eiffel when I think I was only 10 or 11 years old. My father brought me this little golden replica of Eiffel from when he went to Paris. He is a sailor and he has travelled almost the whole world on his ship, in his 36 years of career, and he still does. I believe that’s where I got this bug for travelling myself, ‘it’s in my blood’. Anyway, when he gave it to me, the looks of that tiny Eiffel was well enough for me to start dreaming about Paris and being there myself one day after all.
Looking up the tower from the centre it does look massive, which brought into light the ugly and very exhausting part of climbing this tall iron structure, more specifically, those never-ending stairs !!! God, the people there really do know how to make as much money as possible out of tourists. If you’re too lazy or in my case, just not capable of doing 1710 steps at a stretch, then you better be ready to spend good €8-€10 for every floor and every single time, going up or coming down, you choose the elevators instead of the stairs. Choosing the stairs does seem like a better idea but after the first two platforms, well, I couldn’t even breathe. I had to keep taking breaks every 10-15 minutes feeling like I might just faint. My man was lovely enough to agree with me to take the lift to the last and the top-most level, well, he didn’t really have much of a choice. With me struggling and complaining about the height as well, he had to, for his own sake..LOL
But did I mention, it was all worth it. The view from the top of the Eiffel is breathtaking, in one glance you can see the whole city. The beautiful Trocadéro Gardens of Palais de Chaillot on one side and the opposite is the bank of the river Siene, flowing mellow right next to Eiffel it passes by every remarkable monument in Paris including Notre-Dame and Musée du Louvre. And far far away, one can see the Sacré-Cœur standing as a vision in white behind the golden dome of Les Invalides, as they call it Dôme des Invalides. I couldn’t actually see it the first time I was there, or maybe I just wasn’t able to notice it as it was a little cloudy that day and the focus goes straight on the Dôme des Invalides ‘cause of its shiny reflective structure but the time I was there with my little brother, which was way better than the first time, the weather was great, the sky was clear and the wind was perfect, plus my baby got to share that experience with me. I love my little brother, he is a piece of my heart and seeing him so happy is always a very satisfying feeling. He smiles and my day lights up, bless him!! More about him and our Paris trip will come later when we’ll be at Disneyland, where dreams come true, well, I’d say almost come true, why so, will come back to that in a while.
I won’t ever forget that first time at the Eiffel and to make it more dramatic, my man just looks at me and says, “Hey you, give me a kiss”. It wasn’t really the kiss that I’ll remember more than the fact that a French man gave me French kiss at the top of the Eiffel Tower. It was a little epic for me since that was the first time I was in Paris, that was the first time I had been on the Eiffel and it felt magical, like, may be this is the reason why they call it “the City of Love”.