One of the few places that was on my bucket list was to visit the Arc de Triomphe and walk through the Champs Elysées. I have been told by many of my peers that the Arc de Triomphe is a “must see” and to walk pass by the Champs Elysées was something highly recommended for the experience. Since these two popular sites were in the same region, it was a perfect way to kill two birds with one stone. I researched these two sites prior to visiting them and my excitement and curiosity began to develop. I had painted a perfect image in the case that I would take a picture with the Arc de Triomphe and stroll along the Champ Elysées while drinking a hot cup of coffee.
My expectations were met as soon as I was able to catch sight of the tall monument from afar after a visit of the Eiffel Tower. As soon as I was a few hundred feet away, I took a moment to take in the beautiful image of the Arc de Triomphe. I caught myself breathless for a moment because it was absolutely stunning in person and I couldn’t believe that I was there to see it for myself. The monument was planted right in the middle of this huge roundabout in the city. The countless cars were like a swarm of fish that surrounded this beautiful island. It reminded me when William Faulkner noted that he saw expensive foreign cars full of American movie actresses whizzing past (298). He created a positive image for this busy and popular Arc de Triomphe to visit – which I can confirm very true. My next thought was to get closer and see the beautiful architectural design in more detail. To my surprise, there was no legal crosswalk to walk over the Arc de Triomphe. I observed that many individuals ran across the busy roundabout in order to get to the Arc de Triomphe. I was hesitant at first, and thought about the risks if I were to cross the busy streets unsuccessfully. Luckily, I was with two of my other classmates who encouraged and convinced to take the risk to see the Arc de Triomphe up close and personal. Without further ado, I prepared myself to run as fast as my legs would let me and pray to God that I would not end up roadkill. Luckily, my classmates and I were able to successfully cross through the roundabout without losing any limbs. The Arc de Triomphe was carved with so many details in marble that I was surprise how the monument was still looking great.
As soon as my classmates and I finished taking pictures of the monument, we played “run, run and dodge away from any car” again with the speed racing cars to get to the other side towards Champs Elysées. All of the stores were all lit up and hundreds of people were roaming down the busy streets of Champs Elysées. It was remarkably one of the prettiest streets I’ve walked through in. As you walked down Champs Elysées, there was a nice division of the streets and the view of Paris. There was a gap between the two buildings leaving a really photogenic city view. The author named Edith Wharton described the Champs Elysées with a sloped downward in a sun-powdered haze to the mist of fountains and the ethereal obelisk; and the currents of summer life ebbed and flowed with a normal beat under the trees of the radiating avenues (212-213). Unfortunately, the sun was not up to enhance Champs Elysées, but I found it nevertheless still beautiful in the thirty degrees cold and cloudy weather. Lastly, another American author named Margaret Fuller said how she never saw anything more animated or prettier, of the kind, than the promenade that day in Champs Elysées (91-92); which I can confirm true with so many things happening down the streets of Champs Elysées. There were restaurants, retail stores, banks, and many more. Buildings were high as skyscrapers illuminating with bright lights of their signs and street lamps and you can smell a variety of food flourishing down the busy street. It was definitely a night to remember and made me realize the Eiffel Tower isn’t the only prettiest landmark here in Paris.