The Eiffel Tower is not that beautiful. It’s gigantic and brown (I didn’t expect it to be brown. I’m not sure why. I never knew anyone who’d ever been to Paris and for some reason I just assumed it was green, like at King’s Island, or silver or something…). It’s phallic and the idea of it is sort of silly. Sure it’s surrounded by a nice park. And it’s got the names of famous Frenchmen wrapped around the side. It’s a tribute, or something.
But despite the fact that the Eiffel Tower isn’t all that beautiful… it’s still extremely difficult to peel your eyes off of it. It’s the idea of the Eiffel Tower. Seeing the Eiffel Tower means one thing. It means that you are in Paris. It means that you are in Paris, France; a place that, I think, every single person on the planet has probably dreamed of going, or at the very least thought, “hey, yeah I’d like to visit there someday, if I could.” Paris is this culturally rich, incredibly unique city and seeing the Eiffel Tower means you’re there.
I remember seeing the Eiffel Tower for the first time. There’s even a photo of it, because I, like many of us, have a friend who is extremely shutter-button happy and also a fantastic photographer. My thoughts weren’t particularly eloquent at that point. I’d slept maybe 2 hours out of the last 30. But my thoughts were these: “OhMyGOD That’s the Eiffel Tower. That’s it! That’s IT!” And later, when I was at the base of the Eiffel Tower, drinking cheap French champagne (that was still plenty good because, HELLO we were in France), I was incandescently happy. Because I was in Paris and I was with my friends and it was a beautiful day, despite the dark clouds that were rolling in behind us. Every few moments, I’d have to stop, remind myself to breathe and think. Because I was in PARIS. And that tall brown thing behind me was the EIFFEL TOWER.
And when I think about that day, my first day in Paris, I can’t help but grin. Partly because of the memories, partly because of the people. But partly because it reminds me that I have been to Paris. Which is pretty fucking cool.