the many faces of la tour eiffel

you can't very well go to paris and not go to see the eiffel tower. first of all, it's huge, making it pretty impossible to miss even if you're trying desperately not to see one of the world's most famous attractions. secondly, i'm not sure there's any reason not to go see it. even if you're one of those travelers who prefers to avoid the stereotypical, the eiffel tower is just one of those places that's so breathtaking in person it's a must do. besides, you can still go and not feel like a total typical tourist. it's not like you need to go several times (though i did) or take a photo jumping in front of it (also did this).

maybe it is a one time sight for some people, but i felt that seeing the eiffel tower again years later was almost just as different as my experience with the monument hours later. so since it's possible the only redeeming quality of my hostel (aloha hostel - just as clean as it sounds) was the extremely close proximity to the tower, i visited several times during my stay in paris. pretty sure that was obvious from the previous paragraph, but i really needed to get that dig at my hostel off my chest.

my first visit was in the middle of the day and what i imagine would be a typical visit for me if i was lucky enough to live in paris. i picked up a baguette, a wheel of camembert, and some pâté (try not to gag - i was being parisian!) and headed to the park to have some lunch while taking in this amazing sight. it was really simple and not exactly a unique idea - lunch in front of the eiffel tower - but for me it was one of those "wow i'm really here and i'm doing this moments." the weather couldn't have been better, and neither could the baguette. my life isn't always played out like a movie in my head, but in this instance i'm pretty sure there was background music and credits may have even rolled.

just a simple girl, living a simple life.

the second time i went was a few days later, again in the afternoon though this time i had already eaten my baguette (which was pretty much my every meal in france). i have already been to the top of the eiffel tower on my previous visit, so i decided it would be a smart budget move for me to consider this an unnecessary expense and decided not to go up a second time. plus, the first time around i vaguely remember a mini fear if heights panic attack in the elevator. anyway, this visit instead of just eating lunch and enjoying the site from afar, i got in closer to take a proper look around. and of course to take about 3477448844 photos including the jumping one. imagine how great it would have been to witness watching me try to work out which stranger it would be the least embarrassing to request this photo from...

up close.

and alas, you'll never have the chance to see the finished product of the jump shot request.

there were of course quick visits in between to and from my hostel and around town, but i'd say this trip i made 3 official visits to la tour eiffel, and the third may have outdone the rest.

i made a group of friends at my hostel, who if course turned out to be all guys, but we hung out together most nights after we were all done with our separate ideas of sight seeing during the day. on my last night in paris, most of the group had left, however, and it was down to me and a guy named james from NZ. as it was both of our last nights in paris, we decided to splash out and go to a fancy french dinner and then head over to see the light show that happens at the eiffel tower every hour. we went to dinner at a little cafe in our neighborhood so to speak, where i pretty much ate what we call a "burger" in the US (so cultured) and we headed over to see the lights at midnight.

there weren't as many people there as we expected, which was great because we were able to find a prime patch of grass for viewing the spectacular show. after about 23 refusals to buy cheap champagne from random men in the park, the light show started and it was amazing. i swear i didn't breathe the whole time it was happening. i took a few photos, but it doesn't nearly stack up to how impressive it was to see the lights. again, it was a really simple idea (sparkling lights on a large monument), but i couldn't help feeling really lucky to be there.

the lights.

and the light show at midnight. see if you can spot the difference.

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