Wednesday, August 17, 2011

Weekend in Paris

Saturday July 23rd marked the first day of two weeks vacation for Marc, and 2 weeks of travel for us. The facility he's working at here in Reims shuts down during that time, so we're off!

We decided to start out in Paris, with the hopes of catching the finale of the Tour de France, Sunday. Marc chose a hotel near the Palace de Versailles, our plan for the rainy Saturday.

The golden gates at the palace, on yet another rainy day.

A picnic lunch in the car turned out to be a good idea, rather than looking for restaurants in the rain.

This was the most grand of the pipe organs in the palace.

Bigger than my dining room.

I should have had someone stand by this fireplace for scale. Those aren't logs laid out -- they're trees!

Of course Elmo came along.

The gardens looked exquisite. We didn't go through them. There was an additional admission for that.

Our Paris hotel had these cool chairs in the lobby. This was the first of several hotels that would not give one room for the four of us. The kids were thrilled to have their own room. Mama wasn't so thrilled, especially being on different floors. But no one else was bothered.

Sunday morning sunset from our hotel room window.

That sunrise was the perfect start to a perfect day for the final leg of the Tour de France. Marc studied the route inside Paris and found a spot near a park, but away from the chaos that would be the finish. We were just thrilled to have the opportunity to see the cyclists.

Marc also found out that prior to the bikes coming through, there's like a parade of sorts. All sorts of sponsors come through, tossing goodies to the waiting onlookers. Kind of like our annual 4th of July parade in Oreland, but much faster paced. We could not believe the speed at which vehicles came by. This first one we saw, from a distance, as we arrived.

We found our spot and settled in for the show.

And what a show it was.

We got this nifty brella hat.

These folks tossed another type of chapeau that I ended up wearing. It was welcome on this, the first sunny day since we had arrived.

Dancers too!

Friendly gendarme, happy to pose with the tourists.

These were tossed our way too, and when inflated and banged together, they got everyone's attention.

It was probably almost an hour of this steady stream of vehicles tossing goods our way. We also got some bic pens and a lanyard. Not bad for just standing around.

We had to wait another hour and a half before the cyclists came through and we weren't about to give up our front row seats.

Finally, about 15 minutes later than scheduled, the cyclists. Still riding in a pack.

What a sight!

If you look closely, I did get one shot of yellow jersey guy, this year's first time Australian winner, Cadel Evans. When I realized he wasn't out front, I forgot to keep looking for him and almost missed him. 

Big thrill for him. Big thrill for Australia. And a big thrill for us too!

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