...and there it is!
I'm stunned speechless. This is a magnificent structure, and I'm actually here in Paris, seeing it this close for the first time ever. The other time I was in Paris, I took a taxi that went past the tower, but it was a fast look at it and then it was out of sight. This time we have all evening!
There are elevators at the base of two of the pillars and stairs to climb at the base of the third pillar. The fourth pillar is closed for routine maintenance. The line-ups for the elevatored pillars are huge, so we walk to the ticket office of the third pillar. I ask about the stairs, find out just how many there are and opt out, telling Taryn that she can go but I'm not quite brave enough to tackle that height of a climb with my still-healing ankle. She's fine with that, I leave the lineup and walk towards the grassed area and the benches, while she proceeds to the stairs for her momentous climb. If you look closely, you can see her as she starts to ascend the stairway. Well, maybe you can't.
I know that I can see her!
To help me pass the time while the girl is on the tower, I buy a chocolate and vanilla soft ice cream cone, with the two flavours spiraled together. It's actually delicious! Surprise, surprise!
There are benches underneath the grove of trees along the side of the lawn area, so I choose one, sit down and enjoy my cone and the incredible views of the Eiffel Tower....
First, there are the four huge support pillars that descend as far as 15 metres or 49 feet underground.
Then, there is the intricate support system underneath the floor of the first level that helps to hold the 7,300 tons of tower solidly in place, stabilizing the entire structure.
As daylight diminishes, the gorgeous blue lighting on the tower appears, to celebrate the anniversary of France's joining the European Union.
Finally, Taryn appears beside me!
She's smiling from ear to ear, quite pleased with herself and the long climb she's just made. After telling me all about it, we become total tourists, taking photos of each other against the tower's silhouette.
She wants one of her in front of the tower with the entire tower in the photo. After several miserable tries, while kneeling down as low as I can, I decide there's only one way to take this special photo for her.
I grit my teeth and then as graciously as I can, I lie down on my back on the lawn and on God knows what else, in my white sequined jacket and my freshly-washed off-white cargo pants.
Dogs' leaving and kids' messes and several thousand tourists' detritus is all over this lawn and I'm lying on it.
In white clothes.
I must be mad!
What we do for the love of these kids, I tell ya! It's worth it, though. I capture the perfect image of her...and the entire tower is in the photo.
I am good!
I am a great grandmother!
Suddenly, the tower's lights come on for the first time this evening and the crowd cheers loudly. I have to tell you it is a spectacular sight and one that I'll not forget soon! We are laughing and talking about the lights and saying how gorgeous it all is...then we start taking photos, like the tourists that we are!
Walking towards the exit, after an evening of fun together, with very little juice left in our dozens of rechargeable camera batteries, there is just time for a few more photos, before we get into our waiting taxi...
...and a last look at the tower, from the taxi stand, showing the tribute to the EU in the stars on the front of the tower's lower level, completely bathed in pale crystal blue lighting against the midnight blue sky.
The stars on the tower represent the Union's unity and identity. The circle of gold stars represents solidarity and harmony between the peoples of Europe. There are twelve stars because the number twelve is traditionally the symbol of perfection, completeness and unity.
"If you are not too long, I will wait here for you all my life." ~ Oscar Wilde