“I like the Eiffel Tower because it looks like steel & lace.” – Natalie Lloyd
The Paris skyline would simply be incomplete without the intricately laced metal of La Tour Eiffel. An impressive structure, there’s no denying that it is a tourist trap. Equally, it forever claims a soft spot in my heart.
The earliest memory I have is a rather gloomy Parisian afternoon, sitting atop a tour bus with my parents and sister, long before my brother came along. The sky was a dull grey, yet somehow, the Eiffel Tower stood majestically in the midst of the city. I have a photograph to remind me, one where I am posing in a particularly disastrous striped cardigan, my arm wrapped around my sister protectively. I look as miserable as the weather, but I remember the sense of wonder I felt in that moment.
Of course, despite my mother’s morbid fear of heights, we just had to see how high we could get. As the weather took a turn for the worse and the queues depressed my loud sister, we stopped halfway at the little café. I felt so Parisian, speaking the few French words my aunt had taught me and eating a crepe. This was quickly replaced with embarrassment, as dear Papa sent his plate of fresh crepes to the floor with a resounding crash. How un-Parisian of him.
Fate would have it that my next encounter with the beloved Eiffel would take place during my first year of university, with people I barely knew but would go on to form solid friendships with. It was a startlingly cold evening, and we took a trip to the top post dinner to continue our little soirée. In retrospect, I spent far too long snapping photos. I wish I had taken the time to fully appreciate just how magnificent Paris looked spread out at my feet.
I couldn’t get enough, as I returned the very next year with some familiar faces and new ones. No trip to Paris is complete without a visit to the Eiffel Tower after all. And the year after that, I was back with the friends that are firmly now my family. I suppose in this way; the Eiffel Tower is the symbol of love it’s cited to be. Every visit had an unspoken rule that France’s famous structure must be a part of the Friday night itinerary. I certainly wouldn’t change that.
Lucky enough to see it both by day and night, it is worth mentioning that La Tour Eiffel is beautiful. But is even more spectacular as the sky changes from lapis to a deep inky blue. An amateur photographer, yes, but I love capturing the illuminated Tower set against the midnight sky. And if you hang around long enough, you might just see it sparkle.
It can’t be fully explained, and I am sure there are a few readers among you who think the Eiffel Tower is vastly overrated. That’s fine, everyone is allowed an opinion, even if I vehemently disagree with it. It’s captivating and fuels my love for the City of Lights. The history and identity, the inspiration it has sparked for so many others just like me.
Hearing the news that La Tour Eiffel is to be encased by an eight-foot glass wall didn’t sit well with me, so to speak. I don’t take terror threats lightly, I would be mad to ignore them, but it seems such a shame to take such drastic measures. An iconic sight, undermined by a dreary glass wall. Where has the romance gone?
Glass wall or not, I will always love La Tour Eiffel. One of my dearest companions, Elliot, always reminds me that the only problem with the view from the Eiffel Tower is that the Tower itself is not a part of the view. How right he is. Perhaps it is rife with tourists, and perhaps it is overpriced. But to this day, it takes away my breath more than any man ever has.