Paris, no capybaras (part 3 – Eiffel Tower)

My trip to Paris occurred in spite of several terrorist attacks on France earlier in 2015. In fact, there was an incident on a train traveling from Amsterdam to Paris during my visit. France has long been a target for extremists, but it has long been a refuge for fringe elements. Many famous Americans sought spirited companionship there in the 1920’s. It was, is, and always will be a sanctuary for freedom seekers.

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Since 1889, the Eiffel Tower has dominated Paris. No artifact can be truly  Parisian without her tower.

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Old wine bottles and barware on display at the Wine Museum.

The premier tourist site in Paris, the old tower peeks at you from very unexpected angles.

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Tippy top of La Tour, from a park near our apartment.

It becomes a game, catching a glimpse of The Tower from different neighborhoods. It’s really tall, so your chances are pretty good.

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I wonder how many cameras are aimed toward The Tower at any given moment in time, day or night?

We took a complimentary bus tour around town. Well, it wasn’t marketed as free, but there was no conductor and the driver refused to take payment. Thank you!

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Almost home!

Our apartment was very near The Tower, so our end-of-the-day taxi ride always took us right past. Lit up, sparkling, it was a magnet for night life. The crowds never take a break.

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Trocadero is a hill overlooking the Seine

The view from the Place du Trocadéro is surreal. The scale of the buildings, the miniature people, the tower looming beyond like a rocket, and what is with the clouds? The Parisian clouds have such personality! Or maybe they’re normal. I am from Seattle, after all, where all clouds are wet blankets.

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Peek-a boo!

It’s big and it’s everywhere.

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Maybe the Eiffel Tower attracts pretty clouds.

It’s here, too.

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Every park in Paris features an Eiffel Tower.

Sometimes it seemed like there was more than one Eiffel Tower. That would certainly explain why we could always see it.

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Cafe at the Branly Museum

See, this cafe had its own Eiffel Tower outside the entry.

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Is it turn of the century (the previous one) or is it steampunk?

Well, no, we didn’t go up it. I went to the top my first three visits to Paris, and my travel companion, Pam, had done it a few times, too. Waiting to go up consumes precious time better spent exploring corners of Paris neglected on those previous visits. There are other fun places to view Paris from above, windblown and face full of rain no less exhilarating than at the top of The Tower.

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Here we have a youngster pouting because the photo is of the tower, so not really focused on him, and then the ubiquitous selfies going on farther back.

I think I took 120 photos of the tower, near and far, day and night, photos of people taking photos, photos of ephemera. I was looking for poodles, too, and only saw one. French poodles always remind me of Paris, but they are apparently out of favor this season. It’s all cats now, but the Eiffel Tower seems impervious to fickle fashion trends.

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Pam’s turn to take photos.

Everybody taking photos. This is up at Trocadero, again. Probably the best view of The Tower, and spectacular fountains to walk past as the magnet draws you down to view it close-up. I began to notice that the ground was littered with champagne corks, and the trash bins were all full of empty (I checked) champagne bottles. Only in Paris.

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The bubbly litter increased as I neared The Tower, until there was finally a bottle posing at its base, as if asking me to please take a photo for the folks back home.

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Say fromage!

Street vendors sold champagne at night, but that couldn’t possibly explain the quantity of celebratory debris.

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Why not?

Our apartment was within walking distance of The Tower, across this bridge that spans the Seine. An alternate perspective, we saw several bridal parties posing near this statue.

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If you look at that horse’s bum, it looks like he is farting smoke.

The metro line above creates a sheltered area along the middle of the bridge. There was never much traffic, so there was often something interesting happening under there.

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Ugh, the ground was all muddy rainwater. If her hair is perfect, no one will notice the hem.

At night, limos were constantly stopping for photos. How about this couple- just engaged, on their honeymoon maybe? Speed dating?

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She looks pretty excited . . or maybe just cold.

Here’s another couple. How romantic is this? He’s got a table set for a picnic dinner out there. And he’s the Floor Show!

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An evening to remember

In the photo above, I have my back to the tower. The photo below shows the view from the bridge. Those canal boats on the Seine are pretty cool, and they are probably lovely inside, but I bet an evening with Picnic Man under the metro is more fun!

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Snazzy canal boats on the Seine

I suppose it is a cliche, go to Paris, see the Eiffel Tower. I’m ready to do it again, though. Ezra Pound, Ernest Hemingway, Gertrude Stein, James Joyce, John Dos Passos, F. Scott Fitzgerald, Mina Loy, T. S. Eliot, Djuna Barnes, Ford Madox Ford, Katherine Mansfield, Alice B. Toklas, and, 100 years later, me. I didn’t manage to write a journal there, but I’m writing now. I think.

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Farewell and stay safe, old tower!

 

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