Friday, August 15, 2008

Big Wheel Keep on Turnin'

Heading out of W.H. Smith with a book under my arm, I glanced up. The Thing beckoned. Sometimes I hate the Thing. The Big Wheel of Paris, La Grande Roue.

I despise that Ferris Wheel when it's in the middle of the place de la Concorde: a gaudy neon eyesore marring a magnificent vista. It looks like Wheel of Fortune plunked into the middle of Merchant Ivory.

But when La Grande Roue is tucked into the corner of the Tuileries, it's unobtrusive enough. And the birds-eye views of Paris are a treat. I hadn't ridden it since my kids were little. And today it was calling to me.

Judging from the number of empty cars, I knew there wouldn't be a line to get on. I was half right. There was zero line, but since I was going solo, I had to wait for others to show up. "For reasons of security, no one may ride the La Grande Roue unaccompanied." That's kind of a creepy and way-too suggestive pronouncement. And trust me, if I had been harboring any morose thoughts of Ending It All, the tiny Spanish lady who wound up on the ride with me wouldn't have prevented me from taking a fatal sky dive.

She was glued to her curved bench, beaming from ear to ear, her head wrapped in a scarf like a mantilla, repeating "C'est magique, c'est magique." But it seemed that whenever I attempted to snap a photo of the Eiffel Tower or Montmartre, she was front and center --- she got the Good Side. It's okay. I was probably beaming goofily too. I was having F-U-N.

A refreshingly different perspective of the 3-D geometry of the Pyramide at the Louvre.

I liked looking down at the Tuileries most of all.

It was over all too soon. Why is it that it always seems that the group before you got to ride longer?

At 6€, it's not exactly a bargain for about a 10-minute ride. It's worth it though. You only go around once in life. Well, actually, about eight times, in this case.


Anonymous said...

Beautiful views of Paris. I hope to ride the wheel someday. I would love to see Paris, and it is a joy seeing it through your eyes.~~Dee

Diane said...

What an incredible view! Wish my day held something quite so cool.
Loooove your blog, BTW. Just read about it at, and I've added you to my blogroll. I'm a French teacher who misses France terribly. I'll visit often to get a dose of Paris. Merci :-)

Deborah Ross said...

I rode the London Eye, but it was enclosed. Is this one open?? Yikes! If so, I'll just be content to look at your photos. Thanks.

Polly-Vous Francais said...

This is 3-D! Dee, Diane, and Deborah. Thanks for stopping by.

The big wheel is great! And yes, it's open. I have vertigo but not acrophobia, so as long as we were fenced in, I didn't mind.

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