The daylight is fading in Paris, and at the Place du Trocadéro people pose for photographs with the iconic Eiffel Tower in the background. A constant stream of people come here for the famous view of the tower, they take pictures, pose for selfies, and maybe buy cheap souvenirs sold by street hawkers who prowl among them looking for a sale.
It’s a good view of the tower for sure, but I found it more enjoyable to simply people watch for a while. I’d come here with a specific picture in mind, but as often happens, despite taking that picture, I ended up choosing another one as the ‘picture of the day.’
As I walked around just watching the waves of people come and go, I thought to myself how interesting it would be to make a film of this place and speed it up so that hours became mere seconds. I imagined watching people scurry like insects, strike the same poses as millions before them, then scurry away with their memories and smiling faces shared on social media.
I listened to the chatter of people around me speaking many different languages. “Is that it? I thought it would be more impressive,” said a young American man. With that he lifted his iPhone and snapped a picture. “I’ve come all this way I guess,” he said with a laugh before he turned and took a picture of his far more excited friend.
I watched a couple lock lips in a moment of romance, the kind the city is famous for. Though this moment that will be valued for its impromptu nature, was done over and over, and over again, as the guy kissed the girl with his left arm stretched out holding a selfie stick with his phone attached to it. They would ‘kiss,’ then he would look at the picture, frown, and they would do it again… and again, and again. It seemed the most unromantic moment, though their picture will be perfect.
Meanwhile, another couple near me stood there sipping hot drinks they had just bought from a nearby vendor. “Here we are,” he said to her. She took his hand and without breaking her gaze she replied. “Yep. Here we are.” They seemed pretty romantic to me.
I felt a little like an invisible man as I wandered through the crowds, everyone wrapped up in their own perfect Parisian moment. It was strange, yet really enjoyable to be peering into their moments, wandering past those snapshots they’ll look back on and say, “Remember when we went to Paris.”
Stand where this picture was taken using Google street view.
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