Taking a Poop at the Eiffel Tower: Part 1

When I was thinking about the stuff Zef and I could do around Paris, I had my heart set on museums and walking along the Seine, flipping through the goods at the green bookinistes lining its banks, popping into the Notre Dame to hear his baby lungs scream into the magnificent gothic chambers, and maybe see how long we could hang out at a café like Café de Flore before the waiters kicked us out for being a public nuisance. It wasn’t until I started this blog that I realized we’d probably have to climb the Eiffel Tower.

On principle, I have a thing against going up monuments like the Eiffel Tower. I grew up in Seattle and even as a kid, I always had this profound sense of disappointment every time I went up in the Space Needle. I don’t know if maybe it’s because in my child’s head (admittedly crammed mostly with asinine sci-fi trivia) I thought the inside of the UFO-looking top of the Space Needle should have looked more like the USS Enterprise or have something Death Starish about it. Heck. I would have settled for a resemblance to the spaceship from Flight of the Navigator. Instead, it was just a view over the city that was lacking something: the most iconic building in the city.

I feel much the same about going up in the Eiffel Tower as about scaling the Space Needle. Essentially, you’re paying money and waiting in long lines to get a view of the city without the one building that is truly iconic.

Still, these are the sorts of things that people want to do when they visit. They are something best left for when Grandma visits.

Luckily for us, we had a grandma here. Zef’s grandma, my mother-in-law, spent the middle of August with us. She went up in the Eiffel Tower in 1977 but wanted to do it again. She didn’t have a good reason and I thought, why not?

We made a plan for Wednesday. What we did do was plan our travel time around his morning nap schedule so we would arrive to the Eiffel Tower before the morning nap began and he could sleep in the line and we could make it up before the heat of the mid-afternoon (it was August after all) and the lines got out of control.

Of course, the best laid plans of mice and men and all that… Just try traveling and doing anything with a six-month old. And if you have, then you know what I’m about to say – it’s not impossible, but plans must be very, very flexible.

This is one of the reasons I opted to not make a reservation to take one of the elevators to the top. What if Zef had a sudden puking fit or decided to smear his poop all over his face, thus requiring a bath and setting us behind 30 or so minutes and making us miss our time to go up? There are no refunds for that sort of thing.

Of course, what really happened was nothing like what we planned. Zef fell asleep before his morning nap time and only a crazy person bent on their own self-destruction would even think of waking a sleeping 6 month-old. Still, we carried on.

… to be continued.

5 thoughts on “Taking a Poop at the Eiffel Tower: Part 1

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  1. It’s an interesting perspective you offered here. About the let down of viewing the world from atop monuments. It makes a lot of sense to me. I felt this same way when I viewed Dubai from the Burj Al Arab. My photos from the top are boring compared to the ones with the iconic building jutting out of ground. The Burj Khalifa wasn’t finished back then. I wonder of this would have been different given how insanely tall it is? Plus, maybe a photo of the other towers would be impressive from that angle.

    I’ve been fortunate/unfortunate in that it’s constantly around 100 degrees here. Thor and I haven’t ventured out because of this heat. By the time it cools down he will be close to one and is already becoming more tolerant of going outside and doing things. We’ll see I suppose.

    As for your adventures with Zef and grandma, I’m looking forward to hearing about what happens! I would be a giant ball of stress. In this way, you are far braver than I. Those public baby explosions are a bit too stressful for me. I like having a quick exit strategy, and giant iconic towers seem to lack this.

    Thanks for sharing your adventures. It’s motivating me more to get out with Thor and explore. Now if the temperatures would just drop a little…

    Liked by 1 person

    1. I couldn’t imagine taking Zef out in Dubai, let alone taking myself out. The only word that comes to my mind is: hot.

      There are some things that I think that we’re going to discover that some things are surprisingly great to do with a baby while others suck the big one and still others perhaps we hadn’t even thought about one way or the other.

      So far, we’ve only had the one public baby explosion (crying fit) while all the other explosions (#1s and #2s, I mean) have been happily contained… So far… 🙂

      Liked by 1 person

      1. It certainly is a learn-as-you-go kind of thing. I’ve had a couple crying fits, but both times it was my fault. Just didn’t think the schedule through well enough to coincide with naps. The road to dad mastery seems to be flowing with baby tears sometimes.

        Speaking of #2s, do they have baby changing stations in the bathrooms in France? I know here in the states many men’s bathrooms don’t, which can suck depending on where the diaper blowout happened.


  2. Never wake a sleeping baby, no matter what age they are!! Kudos to you for continuing.

    Here is my thought- there is wisdom in what you say i.e., going up an iconic building to see a view that is devoid of the same. However, there is more to visiting iconic buildings than the view. Albeit the view is a significant part of the experience, what also makes the trip interesting and imperative (if I may say so) is the need to be part of the extraordinary and history. Scaling buildings such as the Eiffel tower, Space needle, Hancock, Sear/Willis, etc makes one part of a human continuum. People who have visited before us and will after us, People who built it, designed it, and imagined it. You get to touch the same wall someone touched 10-20-50 years ago. In essence one celebrates the icon for what it stands and everything associated with it.

    Apart from this the “view” is also a reassurance to the building and to the city since it tells us what the city looks like without its icon.

    Lastly what really builds the “experience” are the inconsequential details/facts/trivia such as “how many of something would take to reach the full height of a building”. Such are random pieces of information really never to be used again but they make us OOH and AAH at the time. And then one day without even realizing we bring out that piece of information to make a discussion lively or start a conversation or anything such as that.

    So go ahead give your space needle another try. Focus on the when, how, why, live the history, and maybe the view will hold a different significance.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. I get where you’re coming from, though the more philosophical me would question the history of these monuments that were built to be little more than monuments. A place like the Eiffel Tower has served a few other functions, sure, but this and the Space Needle were basically built for the World’s Fair. They don’t have (for me) the same historical importance as say the Louvre or (to keep rolling with my hometown) something like Pike Place Market.

      Like you, I am a sucker for some of those trivia bits always attached to these kinds of monuments (how to a of steel, how many hours to build, and the “how many of something to reach to the top” sort of stuff). Sure, it’s fun, but what sort of “historical” is it?

      That’s a question I often ask myself. I got a bigger tingle sitting at Le Closerie des Lilas, one of the bars Hemingway was known to frequent in Paris, than I did scaling the big tower. In Seattle, I got a huge tingle walking past the HQ for Sub-Pop records and in Tangier sipping on a mint tea at Café Hafa, enjoying the same view over the strait as all the Beats and Beatles and Rolling Stones, while walking through the Roman ruin of Volubilis or strolling through the Vatican another sort of antiquated history exerted itself over me…

      … The other sorts of monuments? I don’t get this same feeling or, it I do, it’s somehow fleeting, like a sugar high, and the comedown is quick.

      I really like your idea that it is somehow “reassuring” for both the monument and the city to somehow see a view that makes the monument absent… I think my philosophical self is going to have to ponder this one for a bit! Thank you!


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