By: Andrea Bouchaud
(photo by: discoverwalks.com)
During winter break while I was studying abroad in Paris, my father came to visit me. I was so preoccupied with finishing the semester and getting things ready for his visit that I didn’t stop to think about how the Parisians ring in the New Year. Paris doesn’t have anything that resembles Times Square so I didn’t think that they would be doing anything special for New Years for me to investigate. At the time, it didn’t occur to me that the Parisians would celebrate New Years with the most famous structure in Paris- the Eiffel Tower. It was New Year’s Eve 2007 and my father and I finished having dinner with Tatie (his aunt with whom I was living) when we were talking about what we should do for midnight. Tatie told us to go to the Eiffel Tower as they always do something there for New Years. The only issue is that this conversation was at like 11pm so we didn’t have much time to get there. We quickly left her apartment and started walking towards the buttery, illuminated Eiffel Tower. Something you should know about Paris is that there isn’t always a straight route. I led us down a major street which had a direct view of the Eiffel Tower as my idea was to keep walking down that street until we got to it. The only problem was that there were a few squares in the middle of the walk which meant that the straight road to the Eiffel Tower wasn’t really a straight road after all. We had to make turns and after a while I lost sight of the Eiffel Tower. After minutes of walking around and turning in circles, we were able to find another street with a direct view of the tower. Unfortunately for us, when we found this new road, it was too late. My father and I stood in the middle of a quiet, cold Parisian street watching the lights on the Eiffel Tower light up in sporadic bursts while fireworks went off in the background. It was actually a really great way to bring in the New Year. Champ de Mars (that’s the name of the field upon which the Eiffel Tower sits) is super crowded and really cold. Seeing the same sights on that tiny street fostered a more intimate way to say hello to 2008. No matter where you find yourself this New Year’s Eve, please be safe, happy and healthy.
Happy New Year and Bonne Année!