Monday, May 07, 2012

Paris Journal: Evening Two (Eiffel Tower)

Our first full day in Paris was like a dream.  We had crossed several things (major things) off of our list: the Louvre, the Tulleries Garden, La Musee de l'Orangerie, Berthillon glace, Shakespeare & Co., sun-filled walks over bridges and wanderings along the Seine.  One major list item remained.  And for Ryan, it was near the top of the list, the Eiffel Tower.

After a little rest and planning time at the hotel, we took the metro back to the Opera station.  We had only briefly glimpsed it as we entered the city on our first afternoon.  We figured we could get a better look at the Opera, and then wander our way towards the Eiffel Tower.   But before we could find the entrance to the Opera, I spotted something I knew Ryan would love...the Paris Mac store!  Since there was of course, free wifi there, we spent a long time inside, 'face-timing' with the girls.  On our way back down into the metro, we grabbed coffees (to go---the American sized version from Starbucks) and headed to the Eiffel Tower.
Author's side note: This is one of my only regrets of the trip.  Side-tracked by the Mac store and our hurry to see the tower that night, we never entered the in "Phantom of..."  If I weren't so utterly full from beautiful once-in-a-lifetime adventures, I would have cried as we drove away from it on our last day.  

After walking for two or three blocks from the metro stop, 'it' emerged... finally.... from behind the buildings and trees.  We could not have asked for a more beautiful evening for this magical moment.  The air was just slightly crisp, but the sky was filled with warm colors, yellows and pinks..and just a little hazy.

As we walked closer, we tried again and every angle to capture its magnificence.

There were play grounds and parks, gardens, and food stands along the way.  One little side-trip off the path led us to one of our favorite views of the night.   (Ryan's beautiful photography and editing)

We seriously considered going up.  But we knew in advance that one of the elevators was out of order...the line was hours long.  And one of us is not fond of heights at all.  We opted to take a River Cruise instead.  A different kind of city view.

The Eiffel tower sits on the edge of the river.  So we walked underneath the tower, toward the Seine.  We found a sunset cruise that included a light dinner and wine, a "snack cruise." So we bought our tickets and boarded the bateaux mouche.  Squeezed tightly among rows and rows of wooden folding chairs, we found two perfect seats on the upper deck.  Everyone there was happy, of course.  It was really like all the movie versions of a river cruise in Paris.  Kissing and smiling and laughing and contentedly breathing deeply...we glided through the water under exquisite bridges and watched the city slowly light up.

The tower was just beginning to light up when our boat returned.  We had just enough time to skip up the stairs to record the sparkling lights before they were gone.  Apparently, we aren't the only YouTube contributors to think that this event is pretty cool.  You can probably find better videos of this...but here is ours.  Including our delighted laughter.

While Ryan captured that on the ipad, I was capturing this with the camera.

It took us a little too long to find the nearest metro station that night.  Block after block of dark alleys made us both begin to feel a little uneasy in this strange city with its language and culture we did not understand.  But eventually we ducked down into the warmth and familiarity of the metro station and soon we were sitting and swaying on the train, people watching, on our way to our safe and cozy little room.

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