Notre Dame, and the people of Notre Dame.
When my London study abroad ended, I travelled with some friends to Paris, France. The cheapest Chunnel was at 5:25, so unnaturally we booked it. I was out until after the Witching Hour the previous night at the 12 Bar Club taking in some live English Rock and Roll, so it was a pretty short night. Virtually all my post-London adventures could be characterized by short nights, this being the first of many. The Paris crew was me, my brother, and two beautiful girls who flattered us with their presence in the city of Love. The Chunnel experience should have probably been unforgettable, but I was comatose for the entire trip and therefore remember nothing except falling asleep in London and waking up in Paris despite not moving at all. It was kind of like a twisted time warp or something trippy like that. When the train stopped the first sounds of Paris in my ears were angry Strikers. Who knows what they were complaining about in French, but my first audible impression of Paris, from the train, was that either I had forgotten to cancel the pep band I had previously ordered to greet us or I was witnessing the inception of the Third World War. The Gare de Nord train station was packed and I was really grateful I was with someone who spoke French. Oh wait, none of us spoke French, I just wished we did so bad I began to believe it. Somehow we made it to our hotel nearly before the sun rose (keep in mind we were on the 5:25 train) and laughed at in a way only the French can do when we asked if we could check in. They did, however, let us stash our luggage while we sight saw on two hours of sleep. We went into town and ate some incredible street sandwiches made in such a way only the French can do. We perambulated to Notre Dame and explored the inside of the Cathedral. With time to kill before our actual check in time, we made the unanimous decision to wait in the queue for the tower tour. It ended up being a 1 hour queue, but really we were grateful because it prepared us for the queues we would face later on. The dark, circular 400 steps to Quasimodo's lair were un-portentious, which made the pie in the sky all the more scenic. When I first emerged from the tower and looked out over Paris I had an emotion come over me that could be crudely classified as, classy, 1920's-esque, artistic, and splendiferous. It was at the top of Notre Dame that I saw the Eiffel Tower for the first time. It rose above the polite Paris skyline like a church spire welcoming all of France to worship in its balmy ironworks. It was a stolid protrusion standing erect over the palleted colour of its lowly neighbors. It was magnificent, brilliant, splendid, and all encompassing in a matter of microseconds. To me it was more than a tower, it was an Eiffel Haven. Oh how I love the Eiffel Tower.