Le Tour De France

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Flag of France  , Île-de-France,
Monday, July 23, 2012

    Of all the places we ve been thus far, Paris is the one city we have history with.  Our reasoning for going back was two fold.  The first reason isn't that important  the second reason however came via a request from my sister, and try as we might we just couldn't full fill it.  Our only logical conclusion... go straight to the source.  Although we know virtually nothing about the Tour De France except that its a bike race around France (a conclusion that is pretty simple to come to) we made the decision to attend the final stage in Paris.  Once the we had mentally committed to the idea of attending the last stage of the race, we would accept nothing less than being on the Champs Elysees the day the race concluded.  First order of business was finding out what day the race in fact ended (it just so happened to be the next day).  Our new life goal was starting to look a bit harder to obtain.  The idea that all of France might also be trying to get into Paris the same day didn't really occur to us, the fact that hotels might be booked or triple the going rate didn't cross our mind either.  None the less we pressed on.  The first road block came in Switzerland when trying to make train reservations into Paris "Not pozzible" the reservation office attendant told us in a bit of a smug tone.  Apparently train reservations are booked three months in advance.  We were shaken but not defeated we would rent bike if he had to, maybe join the end of the race while we were at it. Instead we decided we would head to Lyon and try from there.  A few things we ve learned about the train system that I wont bore you with lead us to believe we would have a better chance there.  Soon after arriving in Lyon we were first class cabin ticket holders cutting through the French Countryside in route to Paris. Pozzible after all. While arriving in Paris the final day of the Tour De France and in peak summer season without a hotel room might seem like a recipe for bad vacation foie gras, it turns out securing a hotel at a reasonable price is also pozzible.  
    The anticipation was palpable thousands and thousands of fans heads all turned awaiting the riders, some covered in face paint some donning the flag of their country (we didn't have time to buy a Monaco flag, this being the new country we are representing).  Never the less we had made it and never in our lives have we  so eagerly awaited something we knew so little about.  But then it happened like a roaring wave the crowd down wind of the route started cheering and then like a perfect crescendo the race pack flew by and the fans around us went nuts.   Even the most stoic of sideline viewers couldn't help but be overcome by the energy that was swirling around.  Then it was over.  Just like that the wave had broken and left us with nothing but whitewash.  With the adrenalin still fresh people turned to one another to try and express what they had just witnessed.  Then we overheard someone speaking English saying that the racers would come around 7 more times.  And then as if  they were passing for the first time as if somehow everyone had the memory of a fish, the crowd with the same level of enthusiasm went crazy 7 more times. While we still no virtually nothing about the Tour De France, what we do know is that getting there from Switzerland the day before despite what the train attendant thinks is indeed pozzible.
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mom on

I am somewhat sad that your vacation is ending...as if it was my own.. However I do know that there will be another.....Thank you both for sharing...

Martha on

Bonjour mes petits. C'etait fantastique, marveilleux et chouette!!! Bon Voyage!! Je les aime beaucoup, Aurevoir.

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