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Easy French Practice & Bilingual French Stories

My Eiffel Tower

Chantal By Chantal on March 10, 2020

Practice your French with this French English bilingual story about the Eiffel Tower, “La Grande Dame” as the French call her.

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Cet article pourrait vous sembler trÚs banal, je ne suis en effet pas la premiÚre à vous parler de la Tour Eiffel. Rassurez-vous, je ne vais pas vous en faire un exposé Wikipédia mais plutÎt vous raconter mon expérience personnelle avec ce fameux monument de Paris.

This article may seem very banal, I am not the first to tell you about the Eiffel Tower. Rest assured, I am not going to give you a Wikipedia presentation but rather tell you about my personal relationship with this famous monument in Paris.

1 – Seeing the Eiffel Tower – A Dream Come True

J’ai rencontrĂ© “la Grande Dame” – le surnom de la Tour Eiffel – pour la premiĂšre fois Ă  l’ñge de 6 ans lorsque mes parents ont dĂ©cidĂ© de me faire visiter Paris. J’ai la chance d’habiter Ă  1 heure environ de la capitale ce qui facilite les choses mais il y a encore beaucoup de personnes en France habitant dans les campagnes retirĂ©es qui n’ont jamais eu la chance de la voir en vrai.

I met “the Great Lady” – the Eiffel Tower’s nickname – for the first time at the age of 6 when my parents decided to show me around Paris. I am lucky enough to live about an hour from the capital, which makes things easier, but there are still many people in France living in the remote countryside who have never had the chance to see it in real life.

Chaque fois que j’y retourne, avec mes Ă©tudiants en immersion de français par exemple, je dois admettre que cette espĂšce de grande girafe en dentelle mĂ©tallique fait le mĂȘme effet Ă  tout le monde. Hannah, qui venait en France pour la premiĂšre fois en fĂ©vrier dernier, avait les yeux qui pĂ©tillaient. Paris possĂšde de nombreux monuments plus magnifiques les uns que les autres bien sĂ»r, mais la Tour Eiffel reste malgrĂ© tout LE symbole de la France. Et elle me dit : « waouh, c’est fantastique, ça y est, j’y suis ! »

Each time I go back there, with my French immersion students for example, I have to admit this kind of big giraffe in metallic lace has the same effect on everyone. Hannah’s eyes were sparkling! – Hannah, who came to France for the first time last February, Paris has more than one monument, all as magnificent as each other, but the Eiffel Tower still is THE symbol of France. And she tells me: “Waouh, that’s fantastic, this is it, here I am”!

2 – The Eiffel Tower – A Committed Paris Monument

Ce que j’aime particuliĂšrement Ă  propos de la tour Eiffel, c’est que c’est le monument de Paris le plus engagĂ©. En fonction des festivitĂ©s ou des grands thĂšmes chers Ă  notre RĂ©publique, elle se pare de diffĂ©rentes couleurs.

What I particularly like about the Eiffel Tower is that it is the most committed monument in Paris. Depending on the festivities or the major themes dear to our Republic it is adorned with different colors.

C’est en 1985 qu’elle s’est mise Ă  scintiller de mille feux pour la premiĂšre fois tous les soirs pendant quelques heures. DĂ©sormais, on l’habille de couleurs pour soutenir les grandes causes ou rendre hommage Ă  un pays en visite officielle.

It was in 1985 that it began to sparkle for the first time every night for a few hours. Now it is dressed in different colors to support major causes or pay tribute to a country on an official visit.

En 2015 par exemple, Ă  l’occasion de la Cop 21 (la confĂ©rence de Paris sur le rĂ©chauffement climatique), la dame de fer Ă©tait tout illuminĂ©e de vert de la tĂȘte aux pieds. En octobre dernier, c’est de rose qu’elle se fardait Ă  l’occasion du lancement d’Octobre Rose Ă  Paris, pour le soutien Ă  la recherche contre le cancer du sein. Mais si la France est en deuil, la tour s’éteint tristement.

In 2015, for the COP 21 (Paris conference on global warming), the iron lady was all green from head to toe. Last September, she was made up in pink at the launch of Pink October in Paris to support breast cancer research. But if France is mourning, the tower, sadly, is switched off.

3 – Visiting Paris in Winter

Visiter Paris en hiver, c’est super ! Il n’y a pas beaucoup de touristes et on peut accĂ©der Ă  tous les monuments trĂšs facilement ! La derniĂšre fois que j’y suis allĂ©e, c’était pour mon anniversaire. StĂ©phane m’a fait la surprise de m’inviter au cĂ©lĂšbre restaurant Le Jules Verne.

Visiting Paris in the winter is wonderful! It’s not crowded, and you can get into every monument very easily. Last time I was there, it was for my birthday. StĂ©phane surprised me by inviting me to the famous restaurant “Jules Verne”.

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4 – The Jules Verne – the Eiffel Tower’s Starred Restaurant

Ce restaurant Ă©toilĂ© se situe au deuxiĂšme Ă©tage et pour y accĂ©der, il faut montrer patte blanche !! En effet, pour des raisons de sĂ©curitĂ©, les contrĂŽles sont nombreux et je dois l’avouer, la premiĂšre impression est un peu bizarre !

This starred restaurant is on the second floor and to get there, you need to prove your identity! Indeed, for security reasons, there are many controls and I must admit the first impression is a bit weird!

Nous sommes tous rassemblĂ©s dans un petit espace sombre au pied de l’ascenseur privĂ© du restaurant, attendant qu’on nous appelle car les entrĂ©es se font au compte-goutte en fonction de votre horaire de rĂ©servation. L’endroit n’est pas chauffĂ© et comme je suis nĂ©e au mois de mars, il ne fait pas trĂšs chaud !!

We are all gathered in a small dark space at the foot of the private lift of the restaurant, waiting to be called because entries are done table by table according to your reservation time. This space is not heated and as I was born in March, it isn’t warm!!

En plus, je me suis habillĂ©e Ă©lĂ©gamment pour l’occasion et j’ai donc laissĂ© au placard le pantalon et le gros pull en laine qui auraient Ă©tĂ© mieux adaptĂ©s Ă  la fine couche de neige qui couvrait le sol ce matin-lĂ  ! Mais Paris sous la neige, c’est tellement romantique ! Une fois arrivĂ©s au 2Ăšme, quel bonheur, notre table est situĂ©e prĂšs de la vitre et la vue est magnifique.

In addition to that, I dressed elegantly for the occasion and I left in the cupboard my trousers and my big wool sweater that would have been more suitable for the thin layer of snow that was covering the ground that morning. But Paris under the snow is so romantic! Once there, what a joy, our table is by the window and the view is fantastic.

Je pensais que l’ambiance allait ĂȘtre un peu guindĂ©e mais pas du tout, en fait. Les serveurs sont trĂšs sympas et dĂ©contractĂ©s, je ne m’y attendais pas ! Les portions ne sont pas grandes mais il y a tellement de petites mises en bouche et cuillĂšres en tout genre, qu’on sort de table rassasiĂ©s. Le repas a Ă©tĂ© un vrai rĂ©gal. J’en ai encore l’eau Ă  la bouche !

I thought the mood was going to be a little stuffy, but not at all, actually. The servers are very nice and cool, I didn’t expect that! The portions are not large but there are so many small appetizers and tasty spoonfuls of all kinds, that we come away from the table satisfied. The meal was a real treat. My mouth is still watering!

Si vous dĂ©cidez d’y aller, sachez que les rĂ©servations se font en ligne et que vous ne gouterez plus Ă  la cuisine d’Alain Ducasse car il a Ă©tĂ© Ă©vincĂ© du Jules Verne au profit de FrĂ©deric Anton. Le restaurant appartient en effet Ă  la mairie de Paris et la sociĂ©tĂ© chargĂ©e de la gestion a dĂ©cidĂ© de changer de chef. Ceci a d’ailleurs donnĂ© lieu Ă  une bataille juridique sĂ©vĂšre !

If you want to go there, you should be aware that you need to book online and that you won’t taste Alain Ducasse’s cuisine anymore because he has been evicted and replaced by FrĂ©dĂ©ric Anton. The restaurant belongs to the city hall and the company in charge of the Eiffel Tower decided to change the chef. This led to a severe legal battle.

C’était une expĂ©rience formidable, d’un romantisme absolu. Je dois dire que StĂ©phane a marquĂ© des points ce jour-lĂ . La vue Ă©tait dĂ©mentielle ! Tout comme la facture d’ailleurs ! Mais 
 quand on aime, on ne compte pas, parait-il !!!!!

It was a wonderful experience, totally romantic. I must say that StĂ©phane scored points that day. The view was incredible! Just like the bill! But 
 when you love, you don’t count, it seems!!!!!

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