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on always seeing the eiffel tower, more often than not, anyway

The opening shots of the movie scan the skyline of a major city. We will soon see a shot that begins to zoom into a neighborhood or to a building or into a room through a window. But first there is that panoramic shot. Where are we? We see the Eiffel Tower in the distance, and instantly we know we are in Paris.

Notre-Dame and Sacre Coeur are also recognizable to an audience but not with the same certainty as the Eiffel Tower. The shot of the Eiffel Tower has become a cliché.

The Eiffel Tower reminds me of a church steeple. I recall, for example, the steeple on the Notre-Dame cathedral that burned and no longer exists.

In The Discovery of France: A Historical Geography, Graham Robb tells us that the village church steeple would guide travelers from village to village, the spires jutting above the tree line.

He recounts the epic journeys of mapmakers, scientists, soldiers, administrators, and intrepid tourists, of itinerant workers, pilgrims, and herdsmen with their millions of migratory domestic animals. We learn how France was explored, charted, and colonized, and how the imperial influence of Paris was gradually extended throughout a kingdom of isolated towns and villages.”  (Click on any photo to see it larger and in more detail. Cliquez sur une vignette pour l’agrandir.)

It was thanks to those steeples on cathedrals and churches that helped guide those travelers.  (Click on any photo to see it larger and in more detail. Cliquez sur une vignette pour l’agrandir.)

Before smart phones and GPS, I used to carry a compass in my pocket. When I would emerge from a metro stop in Paris, I would pull it out and orient myself.  (Click on any photo to see it larger and in more detail. Cliquez sur une vignette pour l’agrandir.)

If I could see the Eiffel tower, I knew which way was north, depending on my location in Paris. I would not need the compass.

Going to the Eiffel Tower and taking photos of it is not much fun. It is huge and one wonders where to point the camera. However, remind me of the Le Trocadéro and its esplanade and I can imagine a few opportunities for pictures.  (Click on any photo to see it larger and in more detail. Cliquez sur une vignette pour l’agrandir.)

Generally, when I am away from the Eiffel Tower, and I see other objects or people that appear to interact with it from a distance, I will find more fun ways to capture it. The tower just happens to be there.  (Click on any photo to see it larger and in more detail. Cliquez sur une vignette pour l’agrandir.)

Sometimes the Eiffel Tower in these photographs is slightly hidden.  (Click on any photo to see it larger and in more detail. Cliquez sur une vignette pour l’agrandir.)

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