July 25: The Tour de France Finishes in Our Neighborhood

This morning we woke up in Paris, threw open our windows, breathed in the misty cool air, and felt an enormous wave of relief. All our transitions were over, all our how-do-we-find-it and how-do-we-check-in and will-there-be-internet anxieties were past, and all we had to do was enjoy our week and get ourselves to the airport. Our apartment is absolutely stunning -- gorgeous mirrors everywhere, stunning floors, elegant furnishings, and the windows! Sadie likes to take her iPod and go out on the balcony and dance around. Every room has its own big windows and its own balcony.

Dan got up early and went out for a bike ride, then he and Benny went to return the van to the airport while Sadie and I took a stroll around the neighborhood. We found the grocery store, the boulangerie, the patisserie, etc. and made it back home in time to greet Benny and Dan. I had the amazing experience of being able to help some other stoopid American deal with the assortment of French cheeses they were finding overwhelming in the grocery aisle. "Are you an American? Can you help?" they said. And I actually did help. I've come a long way since that first day when I was all, what? Emmenthal?

Then we all got ready to go see the Tour de France come into Paris and finish with many laps on the Champs Elysees. There were masses of people down there, absolutely no way for someone of my height (or the kids' height) to see anything. Benny wormed up to the barrier a few times but had more fun drifting about looking at people and disappearing and driving me batty. All morning the Eiffel Tower was peeking its perky little cap over the rooftops, taunting the children. They SO want to see it.

Here's a picture that resulted from Dan lifting the camera up over his head:

Here's a picture that resulted from Dan lifting Sadie up over his head:

There was a massive contingency of folks who were big fans of Astana and Alberto Contador. They seemed to be having a "my flagpole is longer" contest, and winning.

Everybody was looking for a way to get some altitude, and the gendarmes were making the rounds forcing people to get off the light poles and fences:

But mostly it was just people doing this:

Then there was a sprint we couldn't see, and the Tour de France was officially oer.

After the crowd cleared out, we wandered back to our apartment to eat, and then we wandered back out into a very lively Champs Elysees to take a walk:

After taking a peek at the Arc de Triumphe and wandering around the 17th arrondissement for a thousand years trying to locate the Seine, we finally found it, that one thing the children had been yearning for all the way through France: We got a full view of the Eiffel Tower.

Do they look happy? They were thrilled.

We hiked back to the apartment and fell into bed, satisfied in the extreme.

No comments:

Post a Comment