I have recurring nightmares about getting stuck in elevators and/or twisting and turning wildly through convoluted elevator tubes, through a bizarre skyscraper, the likes of which you’d only find in a Dr. Seuss book. I’m sure there’s some embarrassing, Freudian dream interpretation for all this, but I’d rather not think about what it might be.

Having just conquered the daunting, double-decker elevator of the Eiffel Tower, you’d think a tiny elevator would be no problem. You’d be wrong! On top of elevator-phobia, I have claustrophobia as well!

So you can imagine my dismay when I was greeted with a diminutive see-through iron cage, only slightly larger than the pink plastic one on Barbie’s Dream House.

stairs spiraling around a narrow elevator cage

It was my first trip to Paris, my group tour had just ended, and now I was traveling all by myself, seriously lacking in travel-smarts. I’d just checked in to my hotel, a quaint old building in the 7th arrondissement, near the Eiffel Tower.

Huge, old-fashioned metal key in hand, I followed an honest-to-goodness French maid, in full uniform, complete with starched white apron and hat, toward the center of the hotel. She stopped next to the stairs and a narrow elevator, and opened the swing-out door for me. Continue reading…