Thankfully the French and the majority of international tourists do not care to rise early. This means that should one possess the self discipline to leave one’s hotel before 9.00am in Paris it is quite likely that you may find yourself first in line at the tourist traps and practically alone everywhere else. Aside from this, Paris in the morning light is delightful and the streets generally free from the detritus of the day, still wet from the water that gushes out of the drains to flush them clean.
Therefore we sucked in lungfuls of the deliciously moist Parisian air and set off to climb the Arc de Triomphe. The sun was placed perfectly and lit the arch in a wonderful way. Naturally I took a photo as did Miss H. while Kitty steeled herself to climb the massive edifice. I had unfortunately forgotten that Kitty was prone to claustrophobia and we did have a slight incident halfway up the cramped and vertiginous stairs where I was obliged to use stern words to help my companion up the remainder, the stairs being so cramped that going down is not an option.
Thankfully we reached the top without further incident and gazed out upon the Parisian mise-en-scène.
Inspired by the beautiful harmony and dignity of the city we felt compelled to purchase a small souvenir in the shop below the viewing deck reflective of the taste and high aesthetic ideals we had just witnessed. Consequently, Kitty bought a book entitled “Mr Chicken goes to Paris”, Miss H a small cardboard replica of the Arc itself and I a little musical box which played the theme to “Amelie”.
I played this little box all the way down the stairs to the bottom of the tower, enchanted by its winsome simplicity echoing in the stairwell. For some reason or other Kitty and Miss H. did not find the tune as charming and threatened to throw the box off the next tall thing we climbed if I ever played it again.
There is no accounting for the taste of others.