Le Tour Eiffel: hier et aujourd'hui (yesterday and today)

Wednesday, January 05, 2005


Funny how in love people are with the Eiffel Tower. For example, my sister, instead of sending me an appropriately Canadian Christmas card, sent me the card on the top left, picturing an old illustration of the Eiffel Tower (circa 1910, so the back says). She’s sending this to me, her sister, who lives in Paris. I suppose I could see it as funny. I mean, if I found a card with the CN Tower on it, in Paris, I most certainly would have sent it over.

What’s really striking, though, is how unparticular the Eiffel Tower has become as an object. I mean, would you ever imagine finding pictures of Big Ben, the Statue of Liberty or Golden Gate Bridge in normal bookstores around the world for Christmas greeting cards? Maybe, if they happened to be romantic old vintage daguerrotypes or prints. However, I would hasten to remark that the Eiffel Tower is becoming more and more an aesthetic symbol of romanticism, rather than bearing any concrete relation with Paris itself.

Another strange thing, we just received my sister’s card about 2 weeks late. Was this a mailing problem? The postal code was stamped: HOHOHO, Canada Post’s little joke for saying it was from Santa Claus himself. Nevertheless, I will precise that the date of arrival was this afternoon, January 5, 2005.

While this in itself is unremarkable, what is even stranger is how, for no rhyme or reason, I pushed dacnar out the door yesterday to visit Mr. Tour Eiffel himself, and took the picture on the right, dated January 4, 2005.

The two pictures are almost exactly alike, and, if you’ve divined from the dates, it’s quite extraordinary that both pictures should come out so identical, from almost the same point of view and cropping, and focal length. I guess they built the Trocadero to make sure you got the best shot possible.

Strange how old things seem new, year after year, and the Tour Eiffel always has its individual effect derived from universal appeal.