Paris Diaries: Top of the World, Ma
Now playing: The Bravery - Above and Below
The following day Paris was foggy-perfect for a museum day, although truth be told I was going to go to the Musee D'orsay rain or shine. Those of you who have followed the Paris Diaries from the very beginning know that the reason I wanted to go to Paris was to see a statue in the D'orsay.
I didn't know the name of the statue, or who made it, or even when. All I knew was that she was in the D'orsay and for that reason the D'orsay is my favorite museum. I love the gardens and the bread stealing birdies of the Musee de Rodin and nothing can rival the magnificence of the Louvre, but no museum has the same pull over my heart as the D'orsay.
I got off the metro at one of my favorite open spaces in Paris, La Place de la Concorde. It's almost impossible to capture the feeling of coming out of the Metro and being able to see the Champs Elysees, La Tour Eiffel, the Gates to the Tuileries, the grand fountain, the Luxor Obelisk, as well as the statues personifying Strousbourg, Lyon, Marseille, Bordeaux, Nantes, Brest and Rouen all at the same time. This is the place where Marie Antoinette, Danton, and even the ever reasonable Robespierre met Madame Guillotine. It's hard to imagine a place where I feel such awe was once the site of such bloody inhumanity, perhaps it's a testament to our ability to heal, to change. Perhaps the large ferris wheel there is to remind us of the Wheel of Fortune, which turned so quickly to bring these and hundreds of others to their fate in this square.
Or perhaps it is another example of French logic; namely that there is no reason why one shouldn't have a giant ferris wheel in the bloodiest mile of all Paris.*
If you have mobility issues like me, you miss out on some of the greatest vist
as that Paris has to offer. I can't climb to the top of Notre Dame and look out at the city amongst the gargoyles anymore than I could make it to even the first tier of the Eiffel Tower. While the ferris wheel was fascinating and I found myself contemplating it often, for some reason it had never occurred to me to actually take a ride until that morning. It was almost likely it never occurred to me that I could
. But that morning, because it was foggy and the square was empty, I could easily see the ticket stand. No one was online for a ticket, and so the two women working at the window were casually chatting with each other; They didn't even pause their conversation to talk to me as I bo
ught a ticket and walked up the ramp to be helped into an awaiting basket.
The basket quickly brought me to the top of the wheel where I could look towards the L'arc de Triomphe, La Tour Eiffel, Sacre Coeur even the D'orsay itself. I had never seen Paris like this before-to be able to look out in any direction I chose and see miles of the rooftops, the signature Paris rooftops, in any direction. I remembered what the Sauvage had told me mo
nths before, in Paris, all things are possible.
How right he was about that I thought. All things are possible here, and one can accomplish them in typically French style. As I sat in that basket, I remembered my father doing one of his favorite movie lines- Cagney's famous line from White Heat
"Top of the world, Ma. Top of the world."1 In that moment, I felt like I was, indeed, at the top of the world-looking down at everything that I loved.
Normally, I would h
ave reached for my notebook after I had taken photos, but instead I quietly enjoyed Paris being slowly revealed as the basket climbed and then hidden again as I descended. Afterwards I began to walk towards the D'orsay, but something about the Seine on that cloudy day pulled me. Instead of walking directly to the museum, I climbed down one of the stone staircases and walked by the water. I knew that I wa
sting energy that I would want in the D'orsay, but Paris is all about living in the moment and so I walked along the water. Alone and unafraid and totally in love with the world including foggy days and crazy ex-boyfriends who just happened to be right.
*I have no evidence that this is, actually, the bloodiest mile in all of Paris, but it seems like it should definitely be in the top ten.
1 Could you even make a film with that title in this day and age?
Bad Bunni posted at 8/09/2008 05:28:00 PM