by Rachel Wiedrick
Soaring through the air from London, England to Paris, France at 11 p.m., my family and I were about to land in the city of lights, just in time for my seventh birthday. We had been experiencing an incredible two months in Kenya and were about to head home. But before our departure back to Canada, we were making a two-day pit stop in the most romantic city in the world.
The sun was brightly glowing in my eyes as my five-person family sang “Happy Birthday” to me. I sat up in bed as I was passed a gift. My older sister Madelyn bought me a coin purse with different-coloured British flags plastered around it. Then my parents presented me with a blue clear-beaded necklace that every-so-often had larger ocean pearly beads. I received a blue, brown and red thin crossbody bag I had seen and liked in Africa—what joy came with it! Only minutes later, room service knocked on our door, granting us two large moving tables full of fresh French food.
Posing for a picture, I was in awe of the size of the croissants with the twenty mini jams and jellies. Petit déjeuner was finished, and we were off to the Eiffel Tower. We made it to the brass metal Tour Eiffel, with its line-up of tourists hundreds of people long. It was so daunting that we decided to come back the next day, but a day in Paris was not going to waste! We instead went window shopping in the downtown area. An hour or so later, my mother broke off from the pack to go explore the other wonders of Paris as the rest of us wandered back to the hotel. We walked and walked and walked until we made it to a McDonalds where we picked up some buttery, salty fries and then returned to our grand hotel. My mother got lost. We waited, wondering where she was; then finally, she turned up.
This was the day that truly excited me—the day when I got to stand approximately 300 meters in the air, looking down at all the ant-sized people below. I can remember being rushed that morning so we could get into the line-up for the tower and not have to wait so long.
At the base of structure there was an ice cream cart and a merry-go-round. There was cotton candy and cheerful yelling voices. And most of all, there were hundreds and hundreds of people waiting to take photographs of the Siene from high in the tower.
We chose to take the line which was drastically shorter, but that meant we would walk up the Eiffel Tower instead of taking an elevator. If you are ever planning on taking a trip to France and intend on seeing this marvellous wonder, I highly recommend walking up it so you can enjoy the experience even more. The line got shorter and shorter until we got to the entrance and made our way through. My father has a fear of heights, so he and my younger brother only went to the second floor. But as for the rest of us, we dashed up to the third floor, the highest floor you can get to on foot. The view was absolutely stunning. You can see for mile and miles up there. The river captures sunlight to beam back at you, and the wind has a sweet breeze—not forceful but not too subtle. It’s animated like a dream. The whole world stops for a moment so that you can take your deep breath and remember this feeling. The shouting voices you heard a minute ago feels like a distant memory far in the past.
When our beautiful tower visit came to an end, we picked up ice cream cones and topped off our experience with a merry-go-round journey. The ride had two tiers of animals to choose from, but the higher level was full, so we picked our horses below and began. I went up and down, and the horse pranced around the circle. Soon after the ride had finished, my perfect seventh birthday was over too.