Thursday, September 7, 2017

Claustrophobic attack while climbing Arc de Triomphe viewing deck.



First thing first, if you have health problem like hypertension or you're claustrophobic then ask their staff if you can use the elevator. Usually, they herd the paying guests to the main entrance where a long and winding windowless spiral staircase leads to the viewing deck above.

It is normal to see people grasping for breath as they climb to the viewing deck, wife and I included. But in my case, I had a claustrophobic attack a few steps away from the deck; I had cold sweat and felt suffocated. I was hyperventilating. I knew I was having this kind of panic attack since I had one when we explored Chu-Chi tunnels in Ho Chi Minh City many years back. Fortunately, we were a few steps away from the deck otherwise I would sit there, close my eyes for a while until I get relaxed. 

The circular and narrow steps, barely enough for two persons, could probably be as high as 8 storey building. There is no landing where you can have a rest nor windows where you can have fresh air. Trust me, it is like a narrow cylindrical closed concrete room. Aside from that, during peak season, hordes of visitors would be blocked if a person has decided to stop somewhere in the middle. 

Actually, we never plan to climb the viewing deck due to my health's condition but to maximize our Paris Museum Pass we decided to have a go after reading on net that an access elevator is open to the public. In reality they restrict the use of elevator for PWD (person with disability) only. Perhaps I should now consider myself as PWD, lol.

wide boulevard and historical buildings

First glimpse of Eiffel Tower

Basilica of Sacre Coeur from a distant

Anyway, upon reaching the viewing deck, you'd forget all your pains and difficulty in climbing since the view was truly amazing. That was the first time we had a glimpse of Eiffel Tower and Basilica of Sacre Coeur. The wide boulevards and historical buildings would make anybody speechless. 

After a good one hour and countless of selfies we decided to go down. Though it is obviously easier to go down the wife and I are anxious due to what we have experienced earlier. Luckily, a staff was about to go down using the elevator, we begged if we can go with him. We were lucky he agreed; another guest also went with us. What a relief for the wife and I.


Upon reaching the ground, we were greeted by some armed military personnel and a dozen of flag bearing old guys. It seemed they were celebrating some unknown soldiers day.


We retraced our steps back to the Charles de Gaulle Etoile Metro Station through underground pathway. Within the metro station entrance vicinity are several performing street artists and souvenir vendors.
 
Because of my panic attack, our experinece in Arc de Triomphe would surely be unforgettable for me and my wife.