Sunset by Ferris Wheel

July 9, 2010
Girl, uninterrupted

la grande roue – the big (Ferris) wheel
la plus belle ville du monde – the most beautiful city in the world
se tenir la main – to hold hands


“Et on se prend la main, comme des enfants…”
(“And we hold hands, like children…”)
– From the song “Comme des enfants”, Cœur de pirate

On the last day of June, my friend Dylan and I took in a beautiful summer sunset in Paris from the top of la grande roue in the Jardin des Tuileries. There couldn’t have been a more perfect evening for it. The light spilled out across the city like liquid gold, tinting everything it touched with a little bit of magic. And even though I’d been here two months and had already seen the city from a myriad of angles, I found myself catching my breath all over again and marveling in disbelief at how very lucky I was to be living here.  It seems like every day I discover another reason why Paris really is la plus belle ville du monde.

Now, I have a thing for Ferris wheels, but it was actually Dylan’s first time riding one. He was more than happy to come along, but was careful to add the caveat, “But don’t try to hold my hand or anything.”  You know, just in case I got swept up in the sunset splendour of it all.

Actually, it was probably a wise move on his part.  If ever there was an evening to get swept up in a moment, this was it.  The last couple of months had had their ups and downs.  For every great new experience I’d had, there had also been a moment where I’d cursed the ever-present dog poop in the roads and sidewalks, where I’d been hopelessly lost, bewildered or on the verge of tears, where I’d been ready to scream in frustration over the baffling layers of administration required to do just about anything here, where I’d been surrounded by a sea of people and felt completely alone… and where I’d have traded anything for a cup of coffee, some English conversation and a comforting hug from one of my friends back home.  But on this particular evening, all of that faded dimly into the background. As the Ferris wheel swept us up, over and around, it seemed as if the city itself was winking at me reassuringly, playing peek-a-boo coyly from behind the framework of the ride’s apparatus as it draped itself in a shimmering, iridescent veil.  The summer breeze picked up, the faint cacophony of city noise was left far below, and as I drank in the truly spectacular view, I breathed out for what seemed like the first time since I’d arrived in Paris and smiled.  The anxiety I’d been carrying around for the last two months dissipated and suddenly I was filled with an overwhelming sense of calm and the unwavering conviction that, come what may, I was going to be just fine here.

I would love to have shared that sunset Ferris wheel ride with all of you back home who I am missing terribly.  Of course, that would have been impossible.  But here’s what we’ll do:

    • First, click on the play button in the window just below to start the song Comme des enfants by Montreal artist Cœur de pirate.  Now we’ve got ourselves a little bit of atmosphere, both French and Canadian.

  • Second, click here to watch a full-screen slide show of the Ferris wheel ride in another window (trust me, it’s much better than the tiny one below that my WordPress template will allow).  No stopping to read the captions – there’s a gallery at the bottom of this post where you’ll be able to look at pictures individually and read their captions later.  For now, just watch the images play and try to imagine you’re up there with me.  The sun is setting, a faint babble of French voices is melting into the distance, and a gust of warm summer air is rushing against your face and tangling itself up in your hair.
  • Okay, now that you’ve seen the images, close your eyes, listen to the music… and keep imagining the view.

Better be careful though.  I might try to hold your hand.

Happy Friday everybody!

With love from Paris

xxx Darlene

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