• Travel Freak

Eiffel down

You can't go to Paris without visiting the Eiffel Tower, that's just an unwritten rule; the sparkle at night and iconic shape is a must-see. So on our first day in the city of love we queued for around an hour and half (even though we had pre-booked tickets) and eventually reached the official entrance. Bear in mind there is two ways to reach the first viewing platform: the lift or the stairs. I don't know about anyone else but I wanted to take the lift up as it has gaps to see the view as you go up and the tower is so tall that the steps would've been horrible. This is where the issues started... so my boyfriend reckoned that it would be quicker to take the stairs than queue again for the lift, after a minor tiff I gave in and began the 674 step journey to the first viewing platform. Fitness isn't necessarily my strongest point and I definitely should have protested more because it was...awful.

For some strange reason, taking in views from a metal tower that closely resembles wobbly scaffolding while little children are overtaking you, is not actually as fun as it sounds. This was my reality for 40 minutes, I know I must sound so ungrateful and ridiculous but the sight of the smiling tourists in the little lift with their Canons around their necks really started to drain my motivation. At this point my boyfriend actually dragged me up the stairs and it sort of ruined it (only slightly) before we reached the first viewing platform. So picture the scene, I had never been to inner-city Paris before therefore I'd dolled myself up, worn a summer dress and a face full of makeup - even tried a new eyeliner - and there I was with my dress stuck to all the worst places, my foundation had cemented onto my face and my eyeliner had sunk making me look permanently sad. Then to make matters worse, THE RESTAURANT WAS CLOSED! I mean really? How on earth I deserved this turn of events I do not know, but after sulking for 20+ minutes and giving myself 1000 brain freezes from an overpriced slushy, we found that the next set of stairs to the top viewing platform was closed, it became clear I could pull this back. I actually take back what I said about the lift being nice due to the fact it had gaps to see out, I now know why lifts have walls and doors. It is scary.

The unfortunate sequence of events was finally over (I thought) once we took in the amazing views from the top, however I cannot say the same for our sad attempt at an iconic 'couple photo' which will never see the light of day. Random side-note; you have to queue again at the top to actually get into the viewing platform and no lie, a lady actually took my jacket out of my hands and put it around my shoulders and told me to put my arms in... I genuinely had no idea what was going on but that's just a completely other story. Back to the bottom now (by lift of course) and I was still a tad overwhelmed at the view of such a famous landmark, when it hit me. I couldn't walk. Back story: I've had issues with slipped discs previously and at this point I was 1-year post surgery so my left leg had been weaker than it probably should be but it didn't massively impact my day-to-day. But it turns out you probably shouldn't walk the Eiffel Tower with a non-competent leg after years of no exercise, as it may give out at any point, and it did. Shock. But seriously an actual lump formed behind my knee where my nerves and muscles were so surprised at the sudden exercise and I had to limp back to the hotel, quite to the dismay of my boyfriend who made a point of walking a few yards ahead due to the moaning state of me.

Returning to the hotel is obviously the best option at this moment, right? Just when you were thinking 'story over?' oh no it gets worse, so I'll paint you an updated picture: I'm limping, caked in melted make up, my pretty white and yellow summer dress is soaked in sweat and fake tan and my boyfriend isn't my biggest fan. When suddenly a man walks over who is selling or 'giving' out bracelets, now of course 'you do you', as long as you're not hurting anyone then do whatever - street sellers just come with big cities. As always we politely decline the item but the man really was not having it, he started walking in front of me but facing me, so really in my way and I began to freak a bit. I sped up (limp speed-walking) to be next to my boyfriend to hopefully deter the man from following us, which if anything just made him more eager?! After the relentless declining we tried to out-walk him without literally running down the famous padlock bridge drawing attention. (Ps: did you know that bridge has been replaced with an anti-vandal one so we couldn't even pop a lock on! So sad.) When all of a sudden he literally grabs my boyfriends arm and tries to pull him closer to him, sounds quite erotic but I'm trying to depict a scary scene. I then flip at this seller as you don't just grab and harass strangers, shouting at him to leave us alone he gets in my face calling me all sorts, which I have to admit is rather impressive considering for the past 5 minutes he said he couldn't speak English. But to be fair, the only thing I've retained from GCSE French is the swear words so he may be in the same boat.

Still on the romantic bridge just a few minutes from the Eiffel Tower we've found ourselves in a street argument consisting of a bracelet and 2 languages, oh and about 100 other tourists watching. *Cringe* Also, I don't really know who I think I am, I was 17 years old and 5'7 so not exactly threatening; thankfully a passer-by saw the situation and came and got the man to leave us alone. Just for a bit of context, you may be thinking well where was your boyfriend during all of this? Safe to say I am the talker of the relationship, I think he was just enjoying the show.

So for the city of love, we were anything but enchanted.

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