On my first trip to Paris many years ago, I climbed the hundreds of steep steps from the bottom of Montmarte Hill to its crest, where the beautiful cathedral, Sacré–Coeur dominates the scene. A little old man in a beret was actually playing the accordion when I reached the top step! The cathedral had a wonderful heavy wax smell from almost a century of candle burning, and I added one more, in my father’s memory before proceeding outside to the large plaza.
The hilltop provides a phenomenal view of Montmarte and Paris, which never occurred to me as I climbed the hill. In the reverse, Parisians can see the cathedral. I scanned the horizon from left to right until I came upon the Eiffel Tower piercing the Paris skyline in the distance! It was a giant pointed triangle jutting into the sky, stories above everything else for miles around.
It was so unexpected! I had no idea it would be in view from Sacré–Coeur and wasn’t even looking for it. Seeing the Eiffel Tower for the first time was so amazing, it literally took my breath away: I gasped! A minute later it hit me: after years of dreaming about it, I was IN PARIS!! It’s probably my favorite memory of the trip.