This past Saturday while I was in Paris, I finished watching the kids at 10 pm and had the rest of the evening free, so I decided to continue exploring the city. We had plans to go up in the Eiffel Tower the following day, but I really wanted to be able to see it at night, so I consulted a map to see how far away it was from where I was staying. There was a metro station right next to our hotel, but I have anxiety about navigating public transportation in the U.S., let alone in a country where I don’t speak the language, so I decided that it would behoove me to walk. I knew it would probably take an hour to get there on foot, so I stopped at a grocery store and got a box of cookies and a tallboy for the trek and set out on my journey.
After about thirty minutes of walking, my body started revolting. Since I had walked around a lot earlier in the day my feet were already sore and my joints were achy and my leg muscles were stretch beyond their limit, so the longer I walked, the more painful it became. Each step was like agony. Not even constant sips from my tallboy could ease the pain I was experiencing. But the Eiffel Tower was getting closer and closer with each step, peeking over the tops of buildings every block or so, and I was determined to see it. So I soldiered on. After about an hour and fifteen minutes of walking, I was cursing the hardness of the concrete and my reluctance to use the metro and the Eiffel Tower for not being closer. I was teetering on the brink of just turning back and cutting my losses. But then, at approximately 11:57 pm, I turned a corner and saw it:
It was breathtaking. As in, I literally took my breath away. It was so huge and bright and I felt a warm glow just looking up at it. It was the most physical reaction I’ve ever had to a piece of architecture. I started taking pictures and then started walking up closer to it. After three minutes, at the stroke of midnight, this happened:
It was absolutely magical. I could hear oooohs and ahhhhhs emanating from all around the tower. My only lament was that I was by myself and didn’t have anyone to turn to to say “Wow, if this isn’t nice, I don’t know what is.” So I said it to myself. But I just stood there, watching the lights flicker with my mouth agape, and the fact that my feet were completely useless, and that I still had an hour and a half walk back to the hotel, didn’t matter because I was glad to be in that spot at that very moment, and I knew I had made the right decision in walking there. Seeing the Eiffel Tower aglow and sparkling at midnight was, without a doubt, my favorite moment of my short stay in Paris.
Ah, Paris. We only spent a short day and a half together, and even though what I saw of you was a small fraction of your expansive and multitudinous self, I am enchanted by you and hope to see more of you in the future.
See more of my photos from Paris in my Flickr set here!
Brace yourself: this is the first-ever triple-whammy Music Video Monday, and for good reason. I’m a big fan of Charlotte Gainsbourg both as an actress and as a musician (her album IRM was one of my favorites of 2010), and also just as a human being. Maybe it’s because she’s French, but there is something so inherently and effortlessly cool about her, and her music videos definitely don’t belie that “it” factor, that je ne sais quoi, that makes her so magnetic: her videos are absolutely enchanting. She has a new album coming out this year (yay!) and has just released the video for the first single, “Terrible Angels.”
Leather jackets, dopplegangers, choreographed dancing in a parking garage and getting run over by a car? There’s nothing not cool about this video. This is what I tend to imagine Gainsbourg doing in her real life… walking around scuzzy looking streets in a leather jacket and generally looking tres cool.
So incredibly cinematic. I love the gorgeous expansive landscapes, the pilgrimage to the sea, and the little flashes of magical realism for good measure.
This video is so quirky and and bizarre and hilarious. It’s like a Wes Anderson movie that kind of wants to be a David Lynch movie. Gainsbourg and frequent collaborator Beck make such a great duo in this video; together, they are nothing short of divine.
This song has been stuck in my head for about a week now, so I was delighted to find this excellent Take Away Show while perusing YouTube yesterday. I adore the hand-clapping and harmonies, and the location is absolutely gorgeous: the ornate architecture is the perfect contrast to the minimalism of the performance. Love it.