Friday, August 7, 2009

Tour de France

Since Paris is only a few hours away from Brussels, and we really only have one Summer of living in Europe...we decided to tootle over to see the final stage of the Tour de France. We woke up wondering if maybe we were a little crazy to be committing an entire day to wait to see bikes fly by, but in the end it was a wonderful, low key Paris memory.We parked near the Place de la Concorde and the entire square was being prepared for the award ceremony. We strolled into the Tuillerie Gardens. The Tuillerie Gardens in the summertime couldn't be more Parisian and magical!My knight in shining armor, Kirk, lugged these iconic green chairs from the Tuillerie Gardens up to the overlook of the race route. It wasn't a short distance and the chairs were heavy. But everyone else was doing it, so we needed a perch to sit too. I think it is totally awesome how folks can just move these chairs all around and anywhere they like, and that is ok. It felt a little like we were breaking the rules - but we weren't!And the chairs made awesome seats as we waited for the bikers!We picnicked for lunch. Connor napped and then when she awoke she was the epitome of cool in her sun bonnet and glasses. She was ready to see, as she called it "MEN ON BIKES! MEN ON BIKES!"Lovin' on Daddy!Here we all are with the green leafy trees lining the overlook. It was a gorgeous day. Warm but with a breeze blowing off the river Seine in front of us.We sat next to the nicest family from Huntsville, AL. They were vacationing en route back from a mission trip in the Ukraine. They were mosquito bitten and grateful for Parisian luxuries after a week of labor. Their family of 4 made great "Tour de France Buddies" for us while we waited. Interestingly enough the mom home schools both kids who were simply amazing and so mature at ages 13 and 15. I commend her for her dedication. I think I would lose my mind, but it did seem to knit the family together in a close and unique way for 2 teenagers under one roof.Waiting for Lance!!! Go Lance go! Livestrong!!!First came the police intro...Then our first view of the bikers racing around the bend! We were ready and so 'all about cycling.' I never really have understood the Tour de France and the tactics and strategies with the teams versus individuals and the different stages. But in this moment it didn't matter. There were bikers and they were INTO IT man - so we were too!Connor checking out the bikers...The best part about where we were is that in Paris on the last day of the Tour de France the race route circles Paris EIGHT TIMES! That meant we had eight laps to see the guys zoom past.Connor and I waited out and saw the first 5 loops...Then Connor looked at me like this (below) - after 5 laps of cheering everyone on - and we decided to leave Kirk for the final 3 and to go check out the carnival in the Tuillerie Gardens. We were saturated with biking. So we went and got ham and cheese crepes and strawberry ice cream while Kirk stayed til the end. And we played by the fountains in the famous park.When all was said and done Alberto Contador from Spain claimed the top prize. But Lance Armstrong accomplished his goal to stay on the podium in 3rd place. We were able to see the screen and the Arc de Triomphe as we strained from the Tuillerie Gardens to see the award ceremony. You can see our spacial direction with the real Arc in the right side of the photo. While I have been to more thrilling sporting events, I did like the Tour de France. There was plenty of room for everyone to have a prime FREE seat. The athletes were so skilled as they zoomed past. I can't imagine doing something like that. Especially not with a camera in my face the way they were. Just check out how close the camera on the motorcycle is in this photo:It was a easy, breezy family Sunday for us at the Tour de France!

Click here to see our full album of photos from our Paris day trip: Tour de France and Orangerie


Jen_runs said...

Wow, I'm am sooooooo jealous. I love the TdF and have always, always wanted to see it. I'll get there one day. Thanks for the photos! My love to you all. xx

BelgiumBound said...

I love your Tour de France experience...much different from ours! We had no clue where to stand or what we were doing, and it was way too hot that day to be in the blazing sun trying to peek over the 5 rows of standing adults, all putting kids on their shoulders when the men rolled around for 1 lap! Our thinking was, "Hey, at least we were there and saw a tiny bit!" Kudos to you!