Oh, it was warm in Paris on the Avenue des Champs-Élysée this past Sunday, and just a little crowded. As the city waited for the Tour de France bicyclists to arrive, there was a parade and a lot of fervor. Souvenir shops, tee shirt hawkers and cold drink stands intermingled with the onlookers all along the grand boulevard. Everyone searched for the best place to see all of the festivities. My friends and I were in 3 different groups and planned on meeting up. Sounds like a crazy plan, but after exchanging cell phone numbers we headed out at different times. The group I was with started out at the Arc de Triomphe, and ended up across from the Grand Palais where there were large video screens on the side of the street. Cameras were following the bikers as they approached Paris showing them at every angle and location. At first I didn't appreciate the video screens, but as they showed the progression of the ride and closeups of the bicyclists, they built excitement....is that Lance?! With so many people raising their arms high in the sky to capture the perfect photo, the American obsession with deodorant was sorely missed! Some people though, had the perfect seat. The crowds just kept getting larger, the bicyclists closer and then they finally arrived! You could feel the rush of wind as they passed. Congratulations and thanks to all of the amazing Tour de France cyclists. What a show!
Even as they passed the finish line, we still hadn't been able to connect with our friend Lisa, until the end. It almost seemed like a miracle when she found us in the crowd as it was dispersing. Our friend, Doug was in another location, so we decided to meet up at a regular spot. The podiums were being prepared as the race wound down. We watched as the winners received their trophies, before going to meet our friend Doug. He left me a welcome message. When we arrived he was a sight for sore eyes, with cold beer to cut the Champs Elysee dust, and baguette with peppered saucisson. We discussed where to go for dinner and exchanged stories of our day, marveling at the stamina of those men in lycra!
Written and mainly photographed by Diane with some photos by friends, Lisa and Jana. Thanks Ladies! And thanks Doug, for that final text!