My team’s entire time in Paris was riddled with moments of awe. It’s one thing to see the Eiffel Tower or the Louvre in a book; it’s an entirely different experience to stand inches from them and look up. History becomes tangible in aged cities like Paris. Every cobblestone, cafe and curving alleyway tells a story.
When I stood beneath the Eiffel Tower on that warm Wednesday afternoon, I was overwhelmed by its stark beauty. Mr. Eiffel managed to capture the stately beauty of Paris in a single, upright, towering piece of metal. No wonder it was the crown jewel of the World’s Fair; no wonder Chicago felt the need to build the world’s first Ferris wheel. (For all you history lovers, read this to learn more!)
I immediately started snapping pictures. Just a few images in, a young man approached me with a cautious, “Bonjour!” I was taken aback; in France, it’s uncommon to be approached by a stranger. But I smiled and nodded like a polite American. He rattled off a string of French words, miming taking a photograph with his phone. I understood: He wanted me to take a picture of him in front of the tower.
When I returned the phone, I tried to explain that the tower was too big, I couldn’t get the whole thing in the frame. He nodded vaguely, grasping only part of what I was saying. Then, clearly on sudden inspiration, he rattled off another string of words. I understood only one: selfie. After an embarrassed pause, I agreed.
So, on some Frenchman’s phone, there is a picture of me with the Eiffel Tower looming in the background. As if being at one of the most well-known structures in the world wasn’t enough, I also got to have a sweet interaction with the country it symbolizes.
That wasn’t end of the adventure, though. Check the blog for more stories this week!