The desire to reach for the sky runs very deep in our human psyche. ~ César Pelli
I regard the Eiffel Tower with the same excitement as I once did the Statue of Liberty.
As I, maybe, still do.
You see, I spent half my life in New York City ~ 10 years of it on Staten Island. So I must have cruised by the Statue of Liberty hundreds if not thousands of times when taking the Staten Island Ferry to and from Manhattan.
Yet never once did the sight of the Lady with the Torch fail to trigger a Wow ~ will you look at that? response from me. Seeing her standing watch so proud and tall in New York Harbor has always been a thrill.
Most of all, I remember how it was when I sat on the east side of the ferry. (That’s the side facing Brooklyn, from where you can’t see Lady Liberty at all.) So often, the conversation of the passengers nearby would grow louder and more animated the closer we got to the Statue.
Then, within minutes, half of them would get up and rush to the other side of the ferry. They were thrilled about seeing the Statue of Liberty up close and I was thrilled for them.
Because I get it: Lady Liberty is a head-turner.
The Eiffel Tower is also a head-turner.
And for almost as many years, the “Iron Lady” of Paris has turned heads, too.
Here below are some photographs from the last time I saw Paris and that city’s iconic tower. In them, I hope to have captured for you some of the grandeur of the Eiffel and its surroundings.
The hilly area known as Trocadéro, on the left bank of the Seine directly across from the tower, is the best place to see this landmark in its entirety from relatively close-up.
So I begin my tour at the Esplanade du Trocadéro, the plaza at the top of the hill. People routinely gather here to meet-up for the evening, skateboard, rollerblade, watch street dancers perform and . . . take photographs.
Walk down the steps towards the tower to take in the gardens and sculpture including modernist works L’homme and La femme – or Man and Woman – by Pierre Traverse and Daniel Bacqué, respectively.
The crowds in and around the Eiffel Tower seem over the top all day long. It’s easy to believe some 7 million people visit each year.
The tower is nicknamed “The Iron Lady” because most of its 10,000 tons are wrought iron. Installed over a century ago as the main exhibit for the 1889 World’s Fair, this Lady shows no signs of slowing down anytime soon.
Café Kleber near Trocadéro is where my companions and I have decided to catch a bite before heading home, so we join the parade crossing back over the Pont d’Iéna (Jena Bridge) and climb the hill towards the Esplanade.
All along the way people are either posing for pictures or aiming cameras and smartphones to take them, just as I’m doing.
Couples hold their cameras out to you and smile, Take our picture, please?
Still more people with cameras jockey for position at the very top, hoping for the perfect shot as darkness falls. They wait and watch for the Iron Lady as she prepares to step out – dressed up in 20,000 light bulbs – for her nightly show.