Losing (and finding) The Eiffel Tower

Let me tell you a story of two nights spent in Paris, one entire day searching for the Eiffel Tower and lots and lots of rain. Exploring Paris is a remarkably wonderful idea, when you have bountiful sunshine that is. My sister has always wanted to see the Eiffel tower, so whilst venturing through Europe we decided to stop over in Paris for two nights and find the Eiffel Tower. Easy, right?

After arriving and checking into our hotel covered with purple walls and pictures of Marilyn Monroe, we decided to get some dinner and plan our next and only day in Paris. We spent all of ten minutes jotting down a list of must-see things before soon realizing that two nights was not going to be enough. We had to strategize but… how do you strategize Paris? Marking down the most important sites that had to be seen, we knew the Eiffel Tower was going to be at the top of our list. After all, that’s what we came to see. #firstnaivetravelmoment 

We woke the next morning to icy cold weather and the sound of heavy raindrops hitting the balcony floor. Great. It’s raining. How were two South African girls who had never been to Paris before ever going to find the Eiffel Tower in this kind of weather? After convincing each other that all we needed was a coffee and that same adventurous spirit that filtered through us days before, we agreed to go on. We piled on layers of clothing and two pairs of extra socks. Winter in Paris! How bad could this be? I mean, it’s not often that you find yourself in Paris and anyway how hard could it be to find the Eiffel Tower? From all the whimsical travel pictures we had seen, we knew it was a huge erect structure that could not be missed. Surely it must be visible no matter where in Paris you are? Right?! Wrong. #secondnaivetravelmoment

We decided to start with finding the Louvre since this was closest to us.

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Originally a royal palace, this museum holds over 1 million artworks.

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Within its prestigious collection lay The Dying Slave by Michelangelo and of course, the ever beautiful Mona Lisa by Leonardo da Vinci. This was an artist’s haven.

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After roaming in and around the Louvre, we headed off towards the Arc de Triomphe du Carrousel. Built between 1806 and 1808, the arc commemorates the military victories of Napoleon and his great army.

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Next we found the Palais de Tuileries. Also known as the Tuileries Gardens.

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Is that what I think it is? Over there, off in the distance?

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We walked through the gardens and admired the pale sculptures before wandering on through the Place de la Concorde to a marine themed fountain designed by architect Jacque-Ignace Hittorff.

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We crossed Alexander Bridge and stopped for a picture.

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It was then that we saw it again, off in the distance. The Eiffel Tower.

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“Ah! Yes! There it is! Across the street! Let’s go! That direction!” (Why it never occurred to us to use a map, I’ll never know). #juveniletravelmistake

We walked past the final resting place of Napolean and decided to follow the iron clad structure in the distance.

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By now, the weather had taken a turn for the worse. Dark clouds rolled in followed by the start of heavy drizzle.

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I have to be honest with you. The truth is… sometimes it’s very easy for these two sisters to get lost. Regardless of the downloaded apps we may have in our possession. Before long and as could be expected, we had lost our sighting of the Eiffel Tower.

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I mean, really, who loses the Eiffel Tower in Paris?

Cold and wet, we wandered along aimlessly looking up at the sky in vain for a small glimpse of the famous towering structure. Through the backstreets of Paris, onward we went.

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There’s something about a little Parisian apartment with a tiny vintage-like balcony.We were in love!

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We strolled alongside traffic and flurries of people, rounded the corner and low and behold there it was, the much anticipated Eiffel Tower.

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Excited as anything, we hurried on.

“Sister! Here! This way!”

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We had finally found the Eiffel Tower and just like that my little sisters wish had come true.

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Smiles on both our faces and in our hearts, we knew it had been a good day after all. We explored a little more before deciding to call it a day and head back for another coffee and some dinner. As we looked back, we caught glimpses of an afternoon sun that had finally peered through the clouds.

 

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We laughed at the day that had just passed. In some pretty gloomy weather and once again without a map (It happened in Brussels too!) we had eventually found the Eiffel Tower. But who better to find it with than your sister? Sure, it was a pretty whimsical route, but that’s what adventure is all about, right? I guess in this lifetime, we did make it to Paris, even if it was for all but two nights and in some of the worst weather. Will we strike it off our bucket list? I don’t think so. I have a feeling that there’s a lot more wanderings in and around the streets of Paris that these two sisters need to do before it is completely written off. We would be back.

 “I guess it goes to show that you just never know where life will take you. You search for answers. You wonder what it all means. You stumble, and you soar. And, if you’re lucky, you make it to Paris for a while.”  – Amy Thomas

 

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Hi World! I'm Shal - an environmental microbiologist, writer, teacher and artist from Durban, South Africa. I've spent the last two years traveling and teaching Chemistry and English to young kids in Asia. Life of Shal was founded as a way to share travel experiences, tips and other worldly magic with you! Join me on my journey!

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