The other night we went to dinner at a friend's home near the river in the 15th arrondissement and because we had been dropping off some books at the American Library in the 7th, the easiest way to get there was to walk along the quais. Which took us past her.
The Eiffel Tower is sort of omnipresent in many parts of Paris; you can see the structure in the distance from anywhere along the Seine and for some distance inland. Sometimes you forget to notice. But every once in a while your route takes you near her, and that's when you gasp and realize how tremendous she really is.
The picture above is from the street just in front of the Tower, the one where all the illegal African vendors of lighted towers and tower keychains and tower tchatchkes accost you if you look at all like a mark, and run leaping over the shrubbery when a police car approaches. During the day this is also where the con men and women drop gold rings at your feet and pretend they just found them and would love to give them to you because you look so nice and don't you have a few Euros to prove it?
And this is from a couple of blocks away in the quiet residential Avenue de la Bourdonnais, where you suddenly pass a cross street and look up and there she is again, bright and shining and welcoming.
And then another night, maybe tonight, when you are walking home in the cold from the Right Bank after a concert and a pizza and you cross the street onto the Pont Neuf and glance to your right and gasp once again because this time it's exactly 10:01 pm and the Tower is doing her hourly twinkly light show and the air is crisp and clear and the monuments along the river are lit up and you think, "is this really happening?"