If you don’t know, today is the day the Eiffel Tower opened to the public 126 long years ago. I visited Paris, France during the summer of 2014 and, like every tourist, seeing the Eiffel Tower was on my “to do” list. In celebration of this incredible monument, here is my experience of the Eiffel Tower.
With packs stacked on our backs, we embraced the sunny summer day. Our American accents weren’t the only thing causing Parisians and tourists to turn their heads. We were, as usual, stinky hikers, smelly backpackers. We only had a day’s worth of time to embrace Paris before we were to take off to the French island of Corsica.
We nearly ran off the train. The promise of Paris beckoned. My sights were set on the iconic beauty that demands every tourist’s attention, the Eiffel Tower. The Louvre, the locks, the Rhine bought my time for awhile. But, our determination was set. Giddy feelings drove our city trek as we lugged around full packs and full hearts. The summer day begged us to relax as sweat dripped from every pore. We walked and walked and walked. Things felt surreal as tongues spoke beautiful nonsense around us. Stereotypical French scenes played out right before my eyes: bike baskets full of French bread, the skinny Parisian goddess smoking her second cigarette, and delicious macaroons called my name from the bakery store window.
We can’t stop now. Time just won’t allow any leisure if we were to catch the last train back to the airport. Finally, we saw our destination scrapping the skyline: the tower of all towers. The sight of the iconic architecture lifted my heart. I wanted to float closer and closer. I wanted to stay there forever. We approached the tower with nothing but awe as tourists upon tourists spoke their amazement in a variety of languages. No matter the culture, every single person expressed similar reactions: a reaction like love at first sight, utter belief, or a joyful daze.
The grass around the Eiffel Tower gleamed so green. Loads of visitors casually strolled around the tower’s perimeter. I imagine the scene from the tower’s perspective, as if we were as simple as ants, only wanting a piece of the pie. Sure, I wanted the perfect picture. But, I also yearned to imprint this memory in my mind forever. I stood underneath the tower and looked directly up into her massive magnificence. Pictures of the tower neglect to show the true glory and mass of this century-old monument. I wanted nothing more than to be a bird and soar in and out of those arches and grooves. The tower’s tallest point jutted into the perfect blue sky, creating a juxtaposition my mind won’t forget. I resist the nagging idea that this will be my first and last time on this very spot on Earth. I figured I knew the tower, after seeing it so well from snapshots of today and of past. I felt stupid for assuming such a silly thing. The gigantic power of this construction must be felt firsthand. The tower is a landmark to the city as well as a massive magnet to every human who sees it, whether it be in a photo or in actual life. With it in my presence, I felt young and joyful, yet small and simple. I wanted to live at the top and look down at the ants forever.