Me, My Heart, and I

by Melinda Gallo

Running around the Eiffel Tower

Wednesday, August 22, 2012

It has been two months since I last ran around the Eiffel Tower. Yesterday morning at 6:45, I arrived at the Champ de Mars, excited to be back in shape and ready to run. I sprained my ankle in June the evening after I last ran at the Champ de Mars. The sun hadn’t yet made it up and the sky was dim as I walked down Avenue de la Motte-Picquet toward the Ecole Militaire. I immediately headed toward the Eiffel Tower, leaving the Ecole Militaire behind me. I felt a surge of joy as I passed under the large, leafy trees on the left side of the large chemin (path). Instead of turning onto the street that passes in front of the Eiffel Tower, I ran to the quai (quay) to go around the Eiffel Tower and see the Trocadéro.

I usually look at the pond under the Eiffel Tower, but was struck by a small group of men asleep in sacs de couchage (sleeping bags) with backpacks placed strategically around them on the grass. I wondered what it would be to sleep under the Eiffel Tower in the summer especially since lately the temperatures during the night have been moderate.

For the first time this year, I only spotted a handful of tourists milling around the Champ de Mars and the Eiffel Tower. I would’ve loved to be touring the area and taking photos, but I was enjoying my morning run, inhaling the fresh air under the trees and watching the sun making its way up the sky. On my first run around the Champ de Mars, the sun was a cool tangerine color. The sun was behind the buildings in the distance, but I couldn’t yet see it. On my second time around, the sun pierced the sky and turned the light blue sky a warmer orange.

After my run, I stretched out on the gravel path next to the grass, facing the Eiffel Tower. All I could think of was how fortunate I am. I have the opportunity to live in two beautiful cities, enjoying each day I wake up to, and running around one of the most famous monuments in Paris. It was a joy to finally run in the Champ de Mars after a long absence; it's my favorite place to run in Paris.

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