Thursday, March 4, 2010

Show and Tell: Tour de France

Did you ever think that blogging is just a grown-up version of "Show and Tell?" I used to LOVE "Show & Tell" at school; I loved when it was my turn. It's my turn again!

I've already written about how much we love the Tour de France here. When we were on our vacation last summer, David had high hopes of watching part of the Tour de France, in person.

When I say "high hopes," that actually means expectations, and willpower like a Trojan Horse. We heard about this frequently, as soon as we crossed the border from Italy into France.

The "Grand Depart" was in Monaco.
We stopped in Monaco to show David the city of Monte Carlo, the casino, and the beautiful architecture.
In the process, we happened upon the Tour team buses, and some of the riders.
We saw the LIVESTRONG vehicles.
David took lots of photos of fancy cars that he admired, such as this Aston Martin.
Then we drove to our bed and breakfast inn, in the town of Antibes. From there, it felt like one long "discussion" about where and when we could intersect the path of the Tour, with David trying to get a committment from us that it would happen. We had a magazine that showed the exact route, in detail. We had not planned our trip around this, but David did not see it that way.

After three days in Antibes and the Riviera, we drove to Provence, to stay in the town of St. Remy. David continued his campaign to see Le Tour. Gregg & I wanted to avoid crowds and traffic jams; David wanted the thrill of a big-stage finish. We compromised.
We learned that the tour was going to pass right near our accomodations, through several small towns. We bought sandwiches made on baguettes, a bottle of wine and a lot of water, and drove to a parking area in a small town. We followed the locals as they began to assemble on the side of the two-lane road. Finding a good spot under the plane trees, we started our picnic, and then, the parade of vehicles and sponsors began. They threw samples and fun things at us: key chains, hats, backpacks, packages of cookies and sausages (!). It was like a small-town, big event party. We LOVED it.

Then the police motorcycles and press motorcycles came by, and the excitement became palpable.

First, there was a breakaway group.

Then, the peloton started to appear.

Then some of our favorite cyclists whizzed RIGHT PAST US, so close that we could have grabbed their handlbars (not that we would dream of doing that, but they were that close)!

It was a fabulous, non-crowded, very French experience, and one that all of us will treasure. Here's a little slideshow so you can see how it was.


Kay said...

Wow girl! What an amazing trip... for all of you. And stunning scenery too. Love it! So glad you got to experience it. : )

Busy Bee Suz said...

I love show and tell!!!! That is obvious, right?
This looks like such a wonderful trip for your family.
I vote for David to get an Aston Martin for graduation. I'll donate the first tank of gas for it as a gift. :0
I love that you guys love this tour de France so much and were able to see it in person!!!! How exciting for you.

Daisy said...

Sounds like a blast, Karen. Glad it all worked out well for all of you.


Mary said...

Ah so beautiful! I'm glad it worked out so well -- I'd love it if all compromises turned out like this.

Elizabeth said...

Wonderful memories and really wonderful photos that you've shared! Next time you go to France for the Tour, tell me. A very good, old friend, Paul Sherwen, is one of the main commentators (his wife was my roommate!).

Angie Muresan said...

I love the fact that you two are such wonderful parents and so considerate to your son's wishes.

Karen said...

That was fantastic, and oh so French, with the baguette pique-nique! Such a lovely and elegant setting for a world famous sporting event. Like you, I would do anything to avoid the crowds, but what a perfect compromise this was...and I bet you are all glad now that you made the effort. A once in a lifetime moment for the three of you together, fully worthy of Show and Tell.

AnnDeO said...

Oh I totally agree with you about the blog being show and tell. And this show and tell of yours extraordinary. Are those really your accomodations? Perfect; the lavender the shutters - oh my. And I love that you all had a good experience and got to see le tour.