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Dinner at the Tower

27 July 201403:09AMeurope-2014travel

(Monday)

There are 342 steps from the first floor to the second, and when you get there, this is what you see:

view

A couple of days ago in Italy, Grace told me I should save Monday night. I am a sucker for mysteries, and so I naturally spent the intervening time trying to wheedle it out of her. To her credit, she gave absolutely nothing away, although possibly that's because my "interrogation tactics" consist of "occasionally asking when you least expect it in the hope that you will answer", and "begging".

I didn't find out until we were on the metro, all dressed up in ties and heels, through a clever ruse I like to call 'let's play twenty questions'. It only took me three:

Me: Is it dinner?
Grace: Yes.
Me: Is it a famous restaurant?
Grace: The restaurant isn't, I don't think.
Me: ...is it in something famous?
Grace: Yes.
Me: ...is it the Eiffel Tower?
Grace: (sheepishly) Yes.

For some reason Grace thought I would find this cheesy and lame. Which, I guess, it sort of is, but it's also the sort of experience you don't mind doing while wholeheartedly enjoying said cheesiness.

selfie

I've got to say, I never in my life expected to be having dinner on the Eiffel tower, but that's sort of what happened.

The whole experience was pretty surreal. We got to walk past all the queues into one of the legs, to a lift that's more like a cable car, which brought us up to the first cross-bar looking platform section. We walked across a transparent bit of floor, over to the restaurant, where a snooty French Maitre 'd directed us to our table. They brought us two glasses of champagne, but before we could start drinking them we were swooped upon by the house photographer, who looked like Leonardo DiCaprio and insists on taking about a dozen photos, in various increasingly ridiculous poses.

professional photo

A waiter came and took our order, and what followed is one of the best meals I've ever had. We started with champagne, naturellement, and proceded through three very French courses of seafood bisque, cod with truffle sauce, and probably my favourite, dessert:

dessert 1

dessert 1

We stuck around for a while after dessert, just talking and finishing off the free bread and water, but eventually we had to scram. Turns out the place does three services a night, and we had to be done by 8:15. So we scrambled out, back onto the open, windswept plaza that is the first floor.

If you're on the first floor of the Eiffel tower, you might as well climb up to the second, right? So that's what we did. Climb, that is. Due to a quirk of lift arrangement you can't actually get from the first level to the second without going to the ground first. So Grace ditched the heels, and up we went.

I think we felt and looked at little out of place in our tie and nice dress among the crowds of tourists and school kids, but it sure made for some excellent photos.

grace

We skipped the top floor, because it was queued all the way around, and the ticket office wasn't actually open. We grabbed the stairs down instead - all the way down, in fact.

And then we took a meandering Metro trip back to the flat, by way of a little cafe around the corner which opened a bottle of gin for a single gin and tonic, and a whole tub of ice cream for one milkshake. Oops.

And that was it. I don't want to examine it any closer, even though that's usually how I approach these things, because I don't want to get cynical about what was a wonderful evening out, despite - or maybe even because of - it being totally cheesy. It was a cool experience, which I'm really glad I got to share with someone, and that I will remember probably for the rest of my life.

And I think I'll leave it at that.

Eiffel Tower at night

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