Tuesday, September 27, 2011

Mon p'tit chou

Before arriving in Paris I was unsure as to if I would be seeing the Eiffel Tower. It is so cliche and really kinda cheesy that I thought "hey... if I see it, cool. If I don't, cool."

When I first arrived at Gare du Nord I had only one plan - to head over to Shakespeare and Company (an English bookstore in Paris that puts up writers for free) to see if I could stay there. Before I left London I elected to search for directions to the bookstore and nothing else. My thoughts were that if I booked somewhere to stay that somehow it would be accepting failure (inability to stay at S&Co.) and planning for it. So I arrived in Paris with only one destination in mind.

I walked... and walked... and walked. An hour and a half after landing in Paris I arrived at S&Co. only to be told that they had no room to put up another writer. Since I had not made any other plans I was in need of a cyber cafe to book a hostel for the night. Lucky for me I had decided to speak only in French while in Paris, so my walk from the bookstore to a cyber cafe provided me a 2 hour tour of the city (I was too proud to ask in English, even when I didn't understand what directions were given to me in French).

So I walked... and walked... and walked. By the time the clock struck 2 I had found my way to a cafe, just a few moments had elapsed since having arrived in Paris at 830am. I sat down in front of the monitor, exhausted from lugging my 35lb bag across the city, and began to search for a bed. To my horror I could only find hostels STARTING at 35 Euros a night - 15 Euros (25$) more than I had budgeted for.

So there I was, exhausted from walking, scared about my budget, and headed to a hostel located literally three blocks from the Gare du Nord - the place where my day had begun. I stepped out of the shoppe, and as if on cue it started raining.

IT STARTED RAINING! Are you kidding me?! I thought to myself. I've come all the way to Paris, I can't stay where I wanted to, all the hostels are 50% more expensive than I budgeted for, and to make things worse the one hostel I did find is another 2 hour walk to where I began my day. And now it rains. Fuck me.

I moped down the street. Just when I thought my day couldn't get any worse I came up to a random corner and happened to look to my left. Through the rain and above the buildings I espied the top half of the Eiffel Tower.

It made everything OK.

I was in Paris! How bad could life be?! I broke out a shit eating grin so large it was shared with a random couple as I beamed that it was my first time seeing the Eiffel Tower. Like the Taj Mahal had been it was a clear example of the difference between seeing something and experiencing something. But unlike anything had before it moved me in a way something never has.

I could spend the day singing the praise of mon p'tit chou and it wouldn't nearly do justice to how truly magnificent the Eiffel Tower is. It moves me to tears.

I saw the Eiffel Tower every day I was in Paris. I saw it when it rained and when it was sunny. I saw it at dusk and at dawn. I saw it lit by the sun and sparkled by flashing lights. I spent 7 nights sleeping with her, and 7 mornings with her as the first thing I saw.

So here it is... my plethora of Eiffel Tower pictures, and even a video at the end!

Just a quick video too...

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