Last week, “our Iron Lady” turned 125 years old!
I will always remember the first time I paid her a visit. I was about 7, was wearing a dress handmade by my grand-mother that was really uncomfortable (I have always been too tall) and made me look uncool (I thought I looked like ….a 5-year old – Looking 2 years younger was a big deal at that age, remember?)
Anyway. I was feeling cranky because of the dress situation and the cold weather, but my frustration went away as soon as we started queuing. There I was, finally about to enter this huge and impressive monument that I had only seen from the metro’s windows before. And although, the heaviest fog I have ever seen in Paris, covered the city by the time we reached the 2nd floor, I just got really excited about the whole experience. Something ridiculously funny about not being able to see my own hand (that’s the way I remember it) and therefore, enjoy the view; or perhaps something to do with the old fun lifts or, just realizing what it took to build what was once the tallest building in the world… I am not sure, but I loved it!
As the years passed by, I became like every other Parisian, adopting an attitude that an outsider would define as careless I guess; giving our dear old lady an occasional look and smile from time to time but failing to actually go and see her.
We do love to see it/her from far away, and witness its light beam at night, that means that everything is alright in our small Parisian world; BUT, we do not go and mix up with the crowd of tourists queuing for hours, and buying Eiffel tower miniatures from illegal street vendors. That, we don’t do.
The closest we get to it/her 🙂 is during summer time. We go to the Champs de Mars (the green space between la Tour Eiffel and the Ecole Militaire) sit there with a bunch of friends and… picnic with a chill glass of rosé !
…Unless, unless… we’ve got friends or relatives visiting from the country or from overseas, then, we’ve got a valid excuse.
That’s why I got to visit it in the first place, my family was visiting from Réunion island. Over the years, my friends from the US and the UK became my family. I love having them in Paris, showing them where I grew up, what the city is all about, introducing them to my “actual” family and taking them as close as possible to the French Iron Lady.
And then of course, even I cannot help it, we HAVE TO take pictures with her. She is an icon after all! And as I said before, there is nothing better than being a tourist in Paris.
Year after year, visit after visit, my friends and I tried to come up with the best picture. It did not always turn out the way we wanted to (NEVER ask my sister to be the photographer), but sometimes, the result exceeded our expectations.
What about you? Does La Tour Eiffel mean anything to you? Do you have a picture (selfie) with…”HER”?