Nothing says Paris like La Tour Eiffel (The Eiffel Tower, to you who can't speak French as sophisticatedly as I ... I only joke, poorly). In movies or television shows where the character runs off to Paris find his or herself (it's usually a gorgeously petite gamine), the Eiffel Tower is always within eyesight. The tower is always the first thing that the heroine sees - she looks up from behind the window of her taxicab, and with just one look from her big doe eyes, her faith in love is restored. So when I first went to Paris at thirteen, I was disappointed when I look out our hotel window and saw a lovely, but Tower-less, view. Finally, after a few days in Paris, my family and I went for lunch at the tower's restaurant. I couldn't find anything on the menu that was meat-free so the chef made a special vegetarian meal for me. Goodness, I've never had vegetables roasted and whipped that were so delicious. I don't know if it was the meal itself, or if it was the wonderful feeling of being in Paris, speaking my broken middle school-French to my fluent parents and waiters, or the fact that the chef had deigned little old me worthy enough for a special meal - but it was probably one of the best meals I had ever had.
Over the years there have been many thinkers, writers, architects, and the like who have expressed their dislike of the French monument. William Morris once said that he ate a meal in the Eiffel Tower's restaurant everyday because it was the only place in Paris to eat without seeing "that hideous tower."
While I appreciate the humor of the anecdote, I disagree with it. I belong to the hopeless Romantic group of believers who find something magical there, regardless of how corny and obvious it is. (But we are also the ones who are in our twenties and would still drop every thing at a moment's notice to go to Disneyland). The girlish excitement I feel when I see the Eiffel Tower hasn't waned since I was thirteen.
Even the TomKat proposal didn't spoil the place for me - actually that may have been the first and only time I ever approved of anything that couple ever did (except for having Suri - apparently Suri is exactly like I was at four-years-old, according to my mother, so I obviously adore the child).
What has now become a cliche tourist pose was once so charming in the early 20th century
I've already expressed my love of An Education on this site, but I thought the scene where Jenny and David went to Paris was the ultimate
Audrey Hepburn with Fred Astaire, her costar in Funny Face
Many of Audrey's film alter egos live in or travel to Paris. Here she is with her costar from Paris When I Sizzles, William Holden. The previous movie they were in together, Sabrina, Audrey goes to Paris and comes back a new woman
Here are Audrey and William again
Brigitte Bardot, posing on an overcast and cloudy day with the tower distantly seen in the background
The gorgeous Dita Von Teese, already familiar with the lushly decadent and gorgeous, poses in perhaps the loveliest photo I've seen in quite a while
The Eiffel Tower in the rain
Yes, even Gossip Girl has visited the Eiffel Tower. What would a summer in Paris be without Blair Waldorf contemplating life and love with an array of pastries and a clear view of the tower?
Imagine waking up to that view every morning ...
"Eiffel saw his Tower in the form of a serious object, rational, useful; men return it to him in the form of a great baroque dream which quite naturally touches on the borders of the irrational." - Roland Barthes, The Eiffel Tower and Other Mythologies
Francoise Hardy poses on an uncharacteristically vacant morning in the park in front of the tower
Another gorgeous photo of Francoise around Paris
"... The Tower must escape reason. The first condition of this victorious flight is that the Tower be an utterly useless monument." - Roland Barthes
Catherine Deneuve poses for a photo in 1976 for photographer Helmut Newton
A very neat photograph of lightning striking the Eiffel Tower in 1908
A shot from Sylvain Chomet's scene of Paris, Je T'aime in front of the tower
One of my favorite actresses, Romy Schneider
Tony Curtis and Jack Lemmon costar in The Great Race (1965)
The Beatles in Paris during their three-week engagement at the Olympia Theatre
"Paris has the Arc, Paris has the dome, Paris has a sense of style you'll never find in Rome. Paris has the springtime sun for every flower, but Paris would not be the same without the Eiffel Tower" - Madeleine, Madeleine at the Eiffel Tower
"I haven't seen the Eiffel Tower, Notre Dame, the Louvre. I haven't seen anything. I don't really care." - Tyra Banks
Don't be like Tyra!