diamond geezer

 Wednesday, April 27, 2005

April in Paris: La Tour Eiffel
It's impossible to visit Paris without being drawn, mothlike, towards possibly the most famous monument in the world. You may mean to keep your distance but this 300 metre tall attraction always attracts, like a giant iron magnet. The best views are from the opposite side of the river, from the gardens of the Palais de Chaillot, although they were partly sealed off on Saturday to allow the filming of some enormous outside event. I couldn't decide whether the police surrounding the building looked frightening or farcical in their black McDonalds-style headgear with their crumpled trousers tucked into their jackboots. The crowds and souvenir stalls grew thicker as I crossed the Seine and approached the feet of the tower. I was really hoping to have time to climb this architectural marvel, at least to the premier étage, but even at nearly 6pm the queues were far too long. I'd have been waiting in line for half an hour just to use the stairs, and at least double that for the easier ascent in the lifts. I comforted myself with the thought that I'd made it right to the very top on my last visit in 1980, and that the panoramic view from the troisième étage was still imprinted on my memory. And anyway, my Mum already has one souvenir teaspoon from the giftshop at the summit, and she surely didn't need another.

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