Last year we traveled by train through France and stayed for a week in Paris the city of love or the city of light perhaps depending on your frame of mind. We had heard the stories of rude Parisians and so we were surprised by the kindness and hospitality of its citizens. They were by far the nicest individuals on our entire trip through Europe.
I couldn’t wait to see the Eiffel Tower. My grandmother kept a miniature on the top of her upright grand piano. The tiny figurine looked magical and I dreamed of someday visiting the real one. When we walked from our apartment to an embankment overlooking the city, a hint of mist shrouded the base of the incredible 1063 foot tower.
Gustave Eiffel built the tower, amid controversy, over one hundred twenty years ago for the 1889 World Fair. More people pay to visit the Eiffel Tower than any other monument in the world; it takes forty kilometers of lighted garlands and twenty thousand lights to light it at night.
We continued our walk through the city streets, across a bridge, and past several rows of tents selling trinkets before reaching the lush park where the monument stands. Magical indeed! The lacy iron work stretched on forever above our heads poking into the now blue sky. Awe mingled with joy as I looked up through the intricate layers of metal. How could something so fine and delicate extend so straight and high? The answer: a hidden foundation of twenty foot thick concrete slabs sitting on twenty foot diameter pilings descending forty-nine feet into the ground.
Paris suffered a terrible loss in the last month and my thoughts are with them. As they view the Eiffel Tower may they be reminded of their strength and courage, and may the foundation of compassion and generosity they share with visitors extend to one another in the difficult days ahead.