‘When I heard it was coming down, I thought it was a pity,’ Elaine Thompson, a British woman who lives in Paris and was walking past the wheel, told The Associated Press. ‘I had ridden it once at night and the view was spectacular.’Now any loyalist (or remaining Royalist) will scoff here: silly English woman, what do you know. But this Ferris wheel did provide nice views; I remember riding it, though I preferred the large, shady ride in the Jardin des Tuileries where I was once stuck at the top-most point for twenty minutes while the owner stopped the wheel and shimmied up the spokes with a wrench, looking for a loose bolt that he eventually found and tightened. I was with a student of mine who had always affected a very cool attitude, very sophisticated for a teenager, who now couldn’t talk he was so afraid.
I remember thinking that the owner was very French for climbing thirty feet off the ground, sans harness, to fix a bolt, and I was very American for thinking Parisian Ferris wheels would behave like the French; that is, convinced everything is falling apart but going along like everything is normal.