It was a windy and wet day in Paris, leaving perambulators soaked and shivering. But even with my soggy jacket and tornado hair-do I was enthralled with the beauty of the city. Snapping photos to stay warm, I strolled through the posh neighborhoods with no set destination.
I watched the clouds roll by as if they were late to an important event. My mind drifted to the Paris Hotel in Vegas. I tried to explain to Clarisse the absurdity of this thought. “The skies look so picture perfect, they almost look as fake as the ones adorning the ceiling of the hotel!” At least now I could give the architects credit for their accuracy.
After a few hours of ducking in and out of boutiques and coffee shops to avoid the rain, I was soaked to the bone; it was time to head home for the night. The cold had finally set in and my fingers felt like ice. As adorable as the city was, I was in no state to continue exploring. Clarisse led the way to the subway.
We turned a corner and were met with a giant gust of wind. I was relieved to see the underground entrance nearby, already dreaming of the warm blankets and hot shower that awaited me. Clarisse stopped in her tracks and turned on her fashionable heels to face me. She grabbed my hand, pulling me in a different direction. “Nevermind, Hilary! We have one more stop to make before we go home. It’s very important.”
I didn’t object, allowing myself to be led across the street toward an industrial neighborhood. The sun was slipping behind the buildings and the air was getting colder. “As long as we get to go inside somewhere,” I pleaded.
We walked for what seemed like hours til we stood in front of an iridescent high-rise. “Where are we?” Clarisse opened the door and ushered me to an elevator without response. She pressed the button for the 56th floor and smiled. “Paris still has a few surprises for you, Hilary!”
I anxiously stepped out of the elevator, wondering what Clarisse had up her sleeve now. She led me down the hallway and pointed. I stood in stunned silence at the sight that greeted me.
“Welcome to Montparnasse Tower!” Clarisse laughed as I gasped and gushed over the panoramic views. The Tower was home to an upscale restaurant that was known for its unbeatable views of Paris’ infamous landmarks.
Clarisse got us a table while I whipped out my camera. As I pressed my nose to the glass, hostesses and waiters shot me strange glances. At first I thought it was because I was hopping up and down like a toddler, but I soon caught my reflection in the glass. I looked like a wet rat. Bashfully, I took a seat next to Clarisse. She handed me a glass of red wine. “So what do you think of our city?”
I let the plum wine sit on my tongue as I observed the tiny Parisian people below. The sun glinted off of Les Invalides, the burial site of Napoleon Bonaparte.
“I have never been somewhere so rich with history. It’s hard to believe I’m actually here right now with you.” I took another sip from my glass. “It feels like a very long dream, but a good dream. The best kind of dream.” Clarisse smiled back at me.
We sat in silence for a long time, watching the sun slip away on the horizon. I could feel the wine melting away my cares. As the sun disappeared, I started packing up my things. “No no no,” Clarisse said quickly, “I received a call from the Eiffel Tower. They have a very special surprise for you, but we must wait.” She checked her watch and winked at me. My curiosity piqued but I happily ordered another glass of wine and sank back into the velvet chair. How could this day get any better? Clarisse tapped my shoulder and pointed at the Eiffel Tower. “Look, Hilary! Paris wishes to welcome you to our beautiful city!”
I couldn’t help but giggle. The Eiffel Tower sparkled with thousands of tiny glittering lights creating a spectacle unmatched in the otherwise dark sky. Flashbulbs from cameras lit up the base of the tower giving the illusion of dancing fireflies.
I toasted my host, drinking in the magical moment. “Please tell Paris that I say thank you, Clarisse, for being such a wondrous place!” I drank in the shimmering skyline, feeling very welcome indeed.