Wednesday, July 25, 2012

Tour de France sur les Champs Elysees

I know that an event like TfD requires pictures but sorry, no pictures. I hate taking pictures. Plus when one takes pictures one does not really concentrate on what’s going on and I preferred to see the action. Also it is hard to get good pictures of fast moving TdF guys (although this is not really an excuse because I had million opportunities to take pictures after the stage when they were not moving fast).

I took six or seven pictures and one video though but since the only picture I was interested in taking was the one of Mark Cavendish and I did take his picture but I think the ones I can find online are much better than mine so I do not have any incentive to download them to my computer…

Anyway, I must say WOW!!! I went to see only the final stage and it was simply awesome.
If you are considering coming to Europe to see TdF you must spectate the last stage. Although it is the only stage I have ever seen I am sure that it offers the best spectating opportunities. In other stages you see the peloton for a few seconds as they wheez by you at 30mph. In Paris they do several loops between L’Etoile and Louvre so you can see them multiple times and each team does a slow round on les Champs Elysees afterwards. Also if you are lucky and stand by a very loud group of cheering fans you might get a high five from Cadel Evans and a kiss from a random Rabobank rider. That would not happen in any other stage!

TdF was not the primary reason of my visit to Paris so I was not really interested in getting to les Champs at 8am to get a good spot and then standing there to claim that spot for next 9hours.  Watching on les CE is overrated anyway because you do not see them any better than standing on Rue de Rivoli for example and you do not see the finish anyway unless you are VIP. So I did not even try to go to CE and instead arrived to Place de la Concorde 1.5h before the riders were expected to come. I used my wits and claimed a sweet spot on the fence of les Tuileries:) After seeing the riders pass by four times I moved to the other side of Tuileries and the spot there was even better. It was AWESOME. I was little higher than the road and was able to see them coming from the distance and then passing below me. Sweet. It was also the spot where many riders ditched their bottles and nice policemen would collect them and give them to spectators as souvenirs.

After the main show was over, I moved to Champs Elysees, watch the awards ceremony on a big screen (because not being a VIP you only saw Wiggin’s butt) and then find another sweet spot to watch the team “promenade” by the above mentioned group of loud cheering fans. This teams promenade was great because some riders stopped to sign autographs, high five people etc. Definitely a spectating high light.
It was fun to see Wiggin’s little son did the round with him on a little yellow Pinarello, just like his father’s but in kids size:)
It was great and I am glad I did it because who knows when I will be able to see TdF again. 

Of course the TdF was not the primary reason why I went to Paris. I visited my great-aunt, finally closed my French bank account and went shoes shopping. You see, I like to buy my shoes in Paris. I am one of those people who would not wear anything less.  No seriously, it seem that I cannot wear anything but shoes from a particular store in Paris. Everything else irritates my ITB. Unfortunately they did not have anything I liked or they did not have my size so I did not buy anything. Now I will have to wear sneakers everywhere:( So I went grocery shopping instead. I know. Who does grocery shopping when in Paris? I do! I bought bread, smoked salmon, crab sticks and of course all my favorite sweets. I had more things on my grocery shopping list but I ran out of space in my backpack:(

Now it is planning a trip to London to catch some tri and marathon action in two weeks.

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