[Paris 1] The Eiffel Tower: With and Sans Baby

Sixtine and Papa looking in the same direction – cruise on the river Seine, Paris.

Paris wouldn’t be Paris without the Eiffel Tower. I waited for my husband to arrive to visit it as we had promised each other to do it as a family. I always made sure to check things out on line before going anywhere, and oh no…:

“Access to the Eiffel Tower is currently very difficult due to a technical incident on a lift.Very few tickets are available through our online ticketing system. Waiting time to the ticket office of the monument is likely to be over 2 hours for visitors without a ticket. We regret this situation and apologize to all our visitors for this inconvenience.”

I was very upset to tell my husband that we wouldn’t be able to go inside as Sixtine would probably not deal well with a two-hour queue in the summer heat. He was disappointed but I promised him we’d go by ourselves and queue it all off  very soon.

It was a beautiful sunny day. We  actually started the day by cruising the Seine with Les Bateaux Parisiens and had a blast! Sixtine stared at the water the whole time and enjoyed the wind on her face, and my husband listened carefully to the history of all monuments and building we were passing by.

La Tour Eiffel is literally a few meters away from the boats dock so it is very convenient. We proceeded to get closer to it and bought crepes on the way. (If you go to Paris, you MUST have crepes. It is just the best thing since sliced bread!) We walked under the Eiffel Tower, checked out the huge queue and sat down on the grass nearby to enjoy our crepes. We had a great weather but it would have been a nightmare to just wait there in the sun so I am glad we took the decision not to go inside.

The following time, we went as a couple ready to queue for a long time. We had the right shoes, the right outfits, cameras, water, everything we needed to make it to the tickets desk. So we started waiting…after ten minutes, my husband decided to take a peek at the “stairs” queue and noticed how much smaller it was. There are over a 1000 steps to the second level. The trick was: we were able to purchase tickets that would take us to the top without queuing the crazy line up. It just took some exercising…a lot of exercising. I felt so out of shape. I had to stop every two flights of stairs to rest for a second (or two). I felt so proud at the end!

The view from the top is absolutely stunning and you can recognize many monuments from there. If you feel fabulous, there is a bar a champagne to celebrate (for about 10 euros if I remember well)! We personally didn’t do it but I think it could be a fun thing to do to mark the occasion. It is definitely worth visiting!

Ps: I didn’t remember the color of the Eiffel Tower. I thought it was grey-ish/green (and I have lived in France for about 24 years of my life…) but no, it’s bronze. Go figure!

homesick: adj : “longing for home and family while absent from them” (merriam-webster)

“Quand je te quitte un peu loin, ca ressemble au chagrin, ca fait un mal de chien.” M.Lavoine

I left my douce France in July 2010. Before leaving, I managed to see all the people I loved and cared for, and organized a Goodbye Party for myself. Yes, I did that. We celebrated with baguettes, wine, saucisson, fromage and everything oh-so-French ! I asked everyone to come dressed in either blue, white or red. Yes, I did that too. We listened to Edith Piaf and other classic French singers and we all had a great time.

I was sad to leave everyone but I was very excited to go to Canada, reunite with my now-husband. The future was promising, exciting, and foreign…Since then I have worked a couple jobs, I got married and had a baby. I couldn’t be happier with my life – I have the most wonderful husband and an amazing daughter. But something is still missing. Other than a career for myself, I miss home, terribly.

5 random signs of homesickness:

  1. I heard a French girl talking while I was waiting for my baby to get her immunization needles and I couldn’t help it. I had to talk to her. It felt so good to speak French with a French person. She said “ca suffit” to her daughter and I thought that was so French. I loved it.
  2. I have been listening to French music a lot – including music I didn’t use to like.
  3. “Midnight in Paris” made me cry. When we left the movie theater, I was surprised to hear people speaking English. This movie made me travel.
  4. I watched Amelie (Le fabuleux destin d’Amelie Poulain) three times and I am thinking of watching it again.
  5. I felt emotional when Jean Dujardin won the best actor award at the 84th annual academy awards. He’s French, we are family.

10 things I miss about home:

  1. My family and friends. I have three younger sisters and I haven’t seen them for so long it hurts.
  2. The food. I miss “boeuf bourguignon”, “tarte a l’oignon”, “raclette”, “fondue au fromage”, “creme brulee” and many other French delights.
  3. The streets of Paris; cafes and bars, bridges and museums, shops and tourists. Ses beaux quartiers, and bien sur, the Eiffel Tower.
  4. I miss the French language.
  5. The bakery downstairs.
  6. Watching the world go by sitting at a cafe terrace.
  7. The culture.
  8. London. (It is not home, but I have lived their long enough to miss it.)This city is very dear to me and so close to home.
  9. My hairdresser. She’s done my hair for over 10 years and I can’t believe I haven’t done anything to them since I arrived.
  10. Myself. I miss my old self.

Click here to listen to “Je ne veux pas travailler” (I don’t want to work) by Pink Martini. It is an American band but the song is in French. Sixtine and I have been listening to this song a lot lately.

I would love to hear how you cope with homesickness and what are the things you miss from home…Please share !