It’s our first full day in Paris. Only one thing on the agenda- find the Eiffel Tower! I woke up full of excitement! We followed the general guideline of our map to get us across the 18th Arrondissement to the 7th. Knowing it was a trek, we thought it would be a good way to see the city if we walked the whole way. No other plans but to enjoy our day together, and immerse ourselves in the romantic city streets. I was so anxious for my lifelong dream of seeing the Eiffel Tower in reality, but tried not to rush there so we could enjoy the sights along the way.
I knew we were getting close as the scenery started to change. The streets opened up after we crossed the bridge. The sidewalks grew wider, lined with tall trees and perfectly kept grass. Everything from the buildings to the lampposts felt a little more grande. Occasionally I could still see the peak of the tower as we continued to walk, but soon it fell completely out of sight. That’s when I knew we were very close!
We found ourselves in a very well to do neighborhood, with clean, quiet streets and immaculate greenery. The apartments looked like those from the movies, with a perfect view of the Eiffel Tower when you step onto the balcony. The best of the best in Paris, or so I assumed. I was so enamored by the neighborhood, I lost track of where we were heading. I turned us around weaving through the buildings, admiring the bold doorways, and red flowers that seemed to be a required adornment hanging over each window sill. I looked at them all, daydreaming about the inside of each apartment. Realizing we stepped off the path to the tower, we walked between two buildings thinking it would be a short cut back to the main road. But when we turned the corner, we stopped in our tracks. The bold, sturdy piping of the Eiffel Tower emerged from the tree tops in front of us. It towered over us, a much greater distance than the trees, endlessly stretching into the sky. It took my breathe away. We were here! I wanted to run to it! We cut through what appeared to be a park, where the trees led us to the base of the tower.
A lifetime of waiting for this moment. A lifetime of starring at pictures and posters and books, now finally, I’m here. I’m here! No imagination could ever capture its brilliance in real life. It stood so powerfully in place, nothing could match its grandeur. We spent a long while there, looking at it from every possible angle, taking dozens of pictures. I wanted to memorize all the intricate details, it looked like lace made from steel. The detail and complexity of its design is something I never fully grasped just looking at photos of it. I was in awe!
We visited the Eiffel Tower a few more times during the week we spent there. On our last night in town, we had dinner nearby and walked back to see the tower lit up. Not knowing how long it would be before we visited again, I took in as much of that moment as I could, ingraining it into my memory. I didn’t want to forget the way I felt when I was there – the childlike wonder, the overwhelming bliss, the exhilaration! I didn’t want to forget all the beauty in the design, every arc, every intersection of the lines. I didn’t want to forget its grandiosity. I didn’t want to forget any little bit of what I felt or what I saw. My husband grabbed my hand and pulled me close. We danced there for a moment with the tower sparkling in the sky above us. If I had to leave it all behind, there was not a more perfect way to do so.