Monday, July 24, 2006

Fin du Tour

Sunday afternoon, the Tour de France was due to finish in our fair city. Though we were both exhausted, we forced ourselves to wake up from an afternoon siesta and head down to the Champs Elysées to watch the athletes ride a few of their laps from the Place de la Concorde to the Arc de Triomphe. Though this year's tour was not as well followed as some in the past, due mainly to the World Cup hooplah, it was still exciting to be there and see the end of the world's most famous cycling race.

I readied my camera each time they were set to go by, but due to the speed of the riders, the bunches of people in front of us, and the slowness of my digital camera, I only had one really good shot of the riders as they sped by. We continued to walk down the street, past water-sellers, souvenir stands and lots and lots of tourists, stopping just long enough to purchase a white Tour jersey for Dr. B to wear this fall, as he bikes to work at the University of Wisconsin. Since it was the final day, the seller included the gift of two small T-shirts for our nephews (or our nieces, if they're too small.)

Just as we came upon the end of the Champs, we saw, on the big screen TV set up for the crowd, the winner of the Tour. Floyd Landis, a rider from Pennsylvania, stood on the podium, hat in hand, while the Star Spangled Banner played over the loudspeaker. I admit, though I didn't follow the tour this year, I was very proud to hear our anthem playing, and to see a fellow countryman in such a place of honor in la belle France. Landis was raised by Mennonite parents who watched him receive his award from home. He won his very first race wearing sweat pants, because his family's religion forbids the wearing of shorts, and is known as "Cycling's Tough Guy", due to his determination. (He once finished a race riding only on the rims of his bike!) Please follow the link for more information on this persistant and dedicated individual.

After the end of the ceremony, Dr. B and I headed toward the church of La Madeleine, hoping to get a chance to go inside, since neither of us had been in it before (see my Flickr for photos). We then took the Métro to Cluny, had a bite at a Greque, and enjoyed a drink on the Terrasse of La Gentilhommière, near St. Michel, while we watched the passersby.

After a wonderful weekend we spent apart, it was nice for Dr. B and me to reconnect. We consider ourselves very lucky to be able to be together, and to live, even for such a short time, in such an interesting and vibrant city.

Nous adorons Paris!



At 7:35 PM, July 24, 2006, Anonymous Janet in Delaware said...

I have enjoyed your blog since its beginning. Your positive attitude toward all of your new experiences is so refreshing! Good luck and please don't stop when you return to the US.

At 8:51 PM, July 26, 2006, Blogger Sara said...

should've zoomed your cma into the LCD screen of those other cameras since they looked've made for an interesting pic.
We watched every single stage except the last one! I don't understand it...


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