Arc de Triomphe – Roof Access

Once again, I find myself protecting Chris from most certain death by epic fall by means of clutching the seat of his pants (those of you who read the “Mighty Masaya” entry from our 10/2008 Central America trip will understand what I’m talking about and know that Chris seems to scoff at altitude. And although this isn’t a seemingly bottom-less fiery volcano, it’s fearsome just the same.).

This time, he’s leaning as far as he possibly can over the spiky protection rail atop la Tour Montparnasse.

This 59-story skyscraper, with its zippy 38-second elevator (although Chris timed it at a whopping 46 seconds both ways—insisting we ought to write a lengthy letter to operators about falseness in advertising) offers spectacular views of Paris. We take in the 360° panoramas, squinting through binoculars adjusted to Chris’s annoyingly perfect vision—yes, reality is still both literally and metaphorically somewhat blurry to me—to view some of the monuments we’ve visited, including Notre-Dame, the Arc de Triomphe, the Musee du Louvre and Sainte-Chapelle, and some of the sights we have yet to see, namely Musee de l’Armee (Napoleon’s Tomb), la Tour Eiffel and the sewers of Paris.At the Arc du Triomphe

Okay, well maybe we can’t actually see the sewers from our post just shy of the heavens, but you get the idea.

In the meantime, I’m hoping Chris’s Patagonia pants can take the strain of nearly all his weight as he captures the bird’s eye view of Paris.

He points out the Louvre, where I had an intimate moment with my Mona. Those of you who know me well and have witnessed my inexplicable attachment to a little plastic Leonardo da Vinci action figure can imagine my absolute joy in having seen the Mona Lisa in person. Well, as in person as one can get with multiple panes of glaring, protective glass and throngs of camera-insane tourists between us. The rest of the museum was overwhelming icing on the cake, especially the awe-inspiring Winged Victory of Samothrace.

It then takes Chris about three full frustrating minutes to get my eyes to fix upon the Arc du Triomphe, from the top of which we first got our bearings in this magnificent city. He traces his finger along the Champs Elysees, our path past the Museum of Natural History to the Louvre. Then downward to Notre Dame, her flying buttresses catching the pink light of the sunset.

We have truly had a most incredible two days in Paris, with two more left to go. Today we ascertain whether there is truth or not to the rumors that Metro workers will strike tomorrow, which would infuriatingly thwart our plans to bicycle around Versaille. Oh, and also today we ascend la Tour Eiffel. To the streets! (Revolution not necessary).

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